Hats off to those women and men who have died for our country. GOD bless America

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, has its roots in the aftermath of the American Civil War, a conflict that claimed more lives than any other in U.S. history and necessitated the creation of the country’s first national cemeteries. The practice of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers dates back to ancient times, but in America, the first organized events were held by local communities in the late 1860s. These early commemorations honored both Union and Confederate soldiers, reflecting the nation’s collective grief and the desire for reconciliation.

The formal establishment of Memorial Day is credited to General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans. On May 5, 1868, Logan issued General Order No. 11, designating May 30 as a day for “strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.” The date was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any specific battle, allowing for a neutral time to honor all fallen soldiers. The first large-scale observance was held that same year at Arlington National Cemetery, where participants decorated the graves of more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

In the years following World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to honor all American military personnel who died in any war, not just the Civil War. In 1971, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May, creating a three-day weekend for federal employees. This change helped ensure the holiday’s observance by giving Americans a long weekend to reflect on the sacrifices made by military personnel throughout the nation’s history. Today, Memorial Day serves as a poignant reminder of the cost of freedom and a time to honor those who gave their lives in service to the United States.