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5 Facts About Memorial Day's History and Meaning

Updated: 8 hours ago

Throughout the U.S., many will be hosting Memorial Day celebrations this weekend and spending time with family and friends to commemorate the patriotic holiday.

But what does Memorial Day mean for Americans?

Here are some facts to brush up on the meaning of this Monday's nationwide day of remembrance:

  1. Memorial Day Was Originally Named 'Decoration Day

In 1869, the head of an organization of Union veterans Maj. Gen. John A. Logan established Decoration Day as a way for the nation to honor the graves of those who died in the Civil War with flowers, according to the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department.

This is a portion of the official order written by Logan:

The 30th day of May, 1868 is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or

otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country

during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and

hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed,

but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and

testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

2. May 30 Was Chosen as the Observation Day Because Flowers Are in Bloom

3. Memorial Day Was Declared a National Holiday in 1971

4. The Official Birthplace of Memorial Day is Waterloo, New York

5. The National Moment of Remembrance is at 3 p.m. Monday

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