What Is Memorial Day And Why Do We Celebrate It? Everything You Need To Know About Memorial Day

by Claire Troy
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‘Memorial Day’, a holiday celebrated on the last Monday of May of each year, is a commemoration of human courage and a reminder of all those American soldiers who died in the war defending their country.

Although it is not clear from what date exactly this tradition began to be celebrated, in 1966, the Government of the United States declared Waterloo, in New York, the official place of the birth of the Day of the Fallen, where it was celebrated for the first time on the 5th of May 1866.

Waterloo was the chosen place because it held an annual event, in which the establishments closed and the citizens decorated the graves of the soldiers with flowers and flags.

A Tradition That Evolved

The Civil War ended with more lives than any other conflict in the history of the United States until that moment, which motivated the creation of the first cemeteries. In the late 1960s, Americans began to perform spring tributes to honor these fallen soldiers, decorating their graves and praying for them.

In the following years, similar events continued to be held. By 1890, all had already made an official holiday of Memorial Day. Although the southern states of the United States continued to celebrate this date on separate days until after the First World War.

Although originally only reminded of the fallen during the Civil War, ‘Memorial Day’ continued to grow and, after the First World War, in which the United States was embroiled in an even greater conflict, the holiday evolved to remind the fallen in all the wars in the history of the United States.

For decades, Memorial Day continued on May 30, the day Logan had chosen for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968, Congress established the holiday on the last Monday in May, to achieve a three-day weekend for Americans.

To this day, the cities and towns of the United States hold parades every year, usually incorporating military and members of veteran organizations. Some of the most important parades take place in Chicago, New York, and Washington. Americans also celebrate this day by visiting cemeteries and memorials.

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