Originally called Decoration Day after the Civil War (1861-1865), Memorial Day has been a day for Americans to remember all U.S. men and women killed or missing in action in all wars. The American tradition of Memorial Day began more than 100 years ago. It was at the end of a brutal war, a war in which brother fought brother and the best of friends became the worst of enemies. It was the Civil War, one of the worst wars ever fought by the people of this nation, and it was fought on our own soil. It is believed that Memorial Day began when two Civil War veterans saw a woman and her two children decorate the grave of a fallen soldier with flowers. At the end of this war this became a familiar site as family members of the many soldiers slain in battle would visit the grave sites of their fallen relatives or friends and decorate their graves with flowers. In 1868, General John Logan, commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, ordered that the 30th day of May be designated for the purpose of decorating graves of the war dead. General James Garfield spoke at the first national observance of Decoration Day on May 30, The northern states celebrated this day every year, but the southern states celebrated a day similar to this on a different day until sometime after World War I. In 1882, the name Decoration day was changed to Memorial Day, and in 1968 Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to be held on the last Monday of May every year. The modern celebration of Memorial Day is similar to the original celebration, but today we have expanded upon the original idea.
Today, Memorial Day is a time of the year when people come together to honor their close friends or relatives who have died. It is still very much about honoring America's fallen service men and women. such as in gatherings at places like the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia to visit such moving tributes as the tomb of the unknown soldier, which represents "every man" who with bold patriotism layed down their life for this country. It is a day to celebrate and thank all people who died to create the freedom we enjoy today. This day of memorial is something ingrained in our culture, and in - every culture of the world - a tribute, to honor the people who embodied the dreams and the passionate fire of an entire country. Parades, tributes, special memorial services are held throughout the land. Memorial weekend, has become in more recent times, also a time for the beginning of the summer season. Families
go for picnics, open their cottages, plant their flowers, and begin their "weekend vacations".
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