- While Memorial Day did not become a federal holiday until 1971, traces of the holiday go all the way back to ancient times. In fact, ancient Athens held public funerals for the war dead after battles.
- Even before the Civil War ended, women in the South decorated the graves of the fallen in commemoration. The Ladies Memorial Association of Columbus, Georgia decided to commemorate the graves of the fallen each year in 1886. This action may have influenced General John A. Logan, the founder of Decoration Day which eventually evolved into Memorial Day.
- General Logan chose May 30th for Decoration Day specifically because the day was not associated with a particular battle.
- Memorial Day originally served to commemorate those who fell during the Civil War, the conflict that has claimed the most American lives. During WWI, the holiday expanded in remembrance of those that have fallen in all conflicts.
- In 2000, Congress passed legislation encouraging Americans to observe a moment of silence in honor of the fallen at 3PM local time. The time was chosen because it is a time when a majority of Americans are most likely to be enjoying their freedoms---freedoms protected by the fallen.
As you spend time with friends and family this Memorial Day, please take some time to honor those that have sacrificed so much for our freedoms. Thank you to all who have served.