Today, Monday, May 31st, is Memorial Day. To many, the day represents a three-day weekend, marked with festivals and other outdoor activities. However, it’s important to remember the reason for this three-day weekend, honoring the men & women who died for our freedom as a part of the armed forces.
It’s also very important to recognize the difference between today and Veterans Day. Today is specifically to honor those who lost their lives in service of our country, therefore, we should take time to remember those servicemen and women who are not here to be thanked for their service.
In this vein, we’ve gathered 3 interesting and historical facts about Memorial Day:
1. The original name was “Decoration Day”
Memorial Day, or as it was called then, Decoration Day, was started in May 1868 by General John A. Logan. The purpose was to decorate every grave of fallen soldiers from the Civil War with the flowers that had recently begun to bloom.
2. There’s an official “Moment of Rememberance”
At 3:00 p.m., your local time, it’s Memorial Day tradition to be silent for one minute, in honor of those who have lost their lives in the armed forces. In fact, the tradition is so old that it’s exact origins or reasonings have been lost to time.
3. Memorial Day was likely started by previously-enslaved peoples
After Charleston, South Carolina fell during the Civil War, the first thing that the now-emancipated peoples of the Charleston area took action to accomplish was the proper burial rites of fallen Union Soldiers. After burying the fallen, freed people and white missionaries alike carried flowers and marched around a horse racing track–singing hymns and reciting prayers for those who lost their lives.
This took place in 1865, a full three years before the “official” holiday began.
While there are many other fascinating facts about Memorial Day and its history, we at The Bama Buzz urge you to honor those who have died so that we may live.