Decoration Day is observed on the final Monday of the month of May. This year, the holiday will be observed on May 29. It is an American holiday honouring the men and women who gave their lives while serving in the military. Currently, this holiday is known as Memorial Day. It began in the years following the American Civil War and became a federal holiday in 1971. Visiting cemeteries or memorials, taking part in parades, and hosting family gatherings are the most common ways to observe this holiday.
HISTORY OF DECORATION DAY
Decoration Day, now known as Memorial Day, is a holiday honouring veterans and remembering those who perished while serving in the armed forces. It began in the aftermath of the American Civil War. Families and comrades of the fallen on both sides of the conflict, north and south, gathered together to honour their sacrifice by placing flowers on the graves of the deceased. The Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865 and claimed more lives than any other conflict in U.S. history, ended in 1865.
Although it is unclear where this tradition originated, it is possible that different communities independently instituted memorial gatherings for deceased relatives. A group of former slaves in South Carolina organised one of the earliest Memorial Day celebrations less than a month after the Confederacy’s surrender in 1865, according to historical records. In 1966, however, the federal government proclaimed Waterloo, New York to be the birthplace of Memorial Day.
Originally, Decoration Day commemorated only the Civil War casualties, but it has since expanded to include all American military personnel who died during military operations, including those from World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 1968, Congress enacted the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May and gave federal employees a three-day weekend. The modification became effective in 1971. In addition, the same law established Memorial Day as a federal holiday.
5 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT DECORATION DAY
The flags are at half-staff
At sunrise, raise the flag to full staff and then steadily lower it to half-staff; at noon, raise it to full staff.
Why individuals adorn red poppies
Moin Michael was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” to launch a campaign to make the poppy a symbol of respect for veterans.
Observance of Confederate Memorial Day
In April, some Southern states also commemorate fallen Confederate soldiers.
A moment to cherish
This date features a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m.
Freed slaves contributed to the day’s establishment.
At the conclusion of the Civil War, more than one thousand freed slaves held a ceremony in which they sang hymns and distributed flowers to deceased soldiers.
DECORATION DAY DATES