Memorial Day

By | May 26, 2016

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day, a day to decorate the graves of the Civil War dead. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868 and organized by the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), an organization of former sailors and soldiers. It was inspired by local observances during the 3 years after the end of the Civil War.

After World War I the observances began to honor those who had died in all of America’s Wars.

With the passage of the National Holiday act of 1971 the National Memorial Day is the last Monday in May. Some states still have an additional separate day for honoring their state’s war deaths. January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

Traditional observance of Memorial Day has diminished over the years with many Americans forgetting or not understanding the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. Towns and cities still hold Memorial Day parades, however many have not held a parade in decades. It’s even thought by some people that the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

Some, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), advocate returning to the original date of May 30. In a 2002 Memorial Day Address the VFW stated, “Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.”

The traditional date of May 30th, which is the date it’ll be this year (2016). The earliest that Memorial Day can be is May 25th.

Please take a moment with us as we honor those who have made the greatest sacrifice for their country.


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