Memorial Day (U.S.)
Memorial Day, also known as Decoration Day, is America's day to remember those who have died serving our nation, and to honor their families. Observed on the last Monday in May, the holiday began as a memorial for soldiers killed during the Civil War.
During the 1860s, there was a growing movement of Union and Confederate communities that spontaneously gathered to honor their Civil War dead. By 1868, the commander of the Union Army General John Logan officially proclaimed May 30th as the national Memorial Day. At first, the new Memorial Day was commemorated only in Washington, D.C., where flowers were placed on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery.
In 1873, New York became the first state to officially recognize the holiday; the other northern states following suit over the next decade. The southern states, however, continued to honor their war dead on different dates. The nation unified behind the May date for Memorial Day after the end of World War I.
In 1971 Congress passed the National Holiday Act, which made Memorial Day, along with Presidents' Day and Labor Day, into three-day weekends.
In 2000, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance resolution, calling on Americans to observe a moment of silence at 3 p.m. local time.
This resolution is intended to reconnect Americans with the solemnity of Memorial Day, which in recent decades has become a day for picnics and pre-summer sales rather than respectful remembrance.
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