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Memorial Day 2015

May 25, 2015

memorial day 2015

Memorial Day is a holiday in the United States honoring American soldiers killed in combat. It is officially celebrated on the last Monday of May since 1971.

For many historians is difficult to pinpoint the moment when this first date, originally Decoration Day was held called because the graves of soldiers were decorated. There are an estimated twenty cities who claimed to have inaugurated the date, even before the end of the Civil War, when southern women decorated the graves of fallen soldiers in combat.

Officially, the birthplace of Memorial Day is Waterloo, New York, by decision of President Lyndon B. Johnson, since May 1966. The date itself was proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, commander National Grand Army of the Republic, and was celebrated for the first time on May 30 of that year. That day flowers were placed on the graves of Union soldiers and Confederate, in Arlington National Cemetery.

The first state to recognize the date as the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 all northern states recognized the holiday, but the South refused to do so and kept their own dates to the end of World War II. From that moment, the Memorial Day stopped being a date only to remember the dead of the Civil War and became a holiday for the fallen soldiers in all wars.

In 1971 the US Congress passed the National Holidays Act. It was the time it was decided that Memorial Day would be celebrated on the last Monday of May, with a weekend of three days of mourning.

Memorial Day speech became an occasion for veterans, politicians and ministers, to commemorate the war – and at first to remember the atrocities of the enemy. They mixed religion and celebration of nationalism and served as a means for people to make sense of their history in terms of sacrifice and a better nation, one closer to God. People of all faiths joined the celebration, and often said that German and Irish soldiers had become true Americans with the “baptism of blood” on the battlefield. In the late 1870s resentment had disappeared and speeches praising the soldiers of the Union and the Confederacy.

Downloaded from Memorial Day USA website

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