Memorial Day is more than the unofficial kickoff to summer. It is a solemn holiday to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedom of the United States.
The History of Memorial Day
While Armed Forces Day honors active duty service members and Veterans Day recognizes all who served, Memorial Day is dedicated to those who lost their lives serving our country.
Originally designated as Decoration Day, the holiday is observed annually on the last Monday of May. Communities across the country are encouraged to pause in remembrance at 3:00 p.m. local time.
While many communities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, Waterloo, New York officially holds the honor. It is believed to be the first community to have recognized Decoration Day with a celebration held on May 5, 1866. In 1868, Decoration Day became a national holiday known as Memorial Day.
In the early years, the holiday was dedicated exclusively to those who lost their lives fighting in the Civil War. Memorial Day was later extended to include all military personnel who died in wars and conflicts on behalf of the United States, but not without controversy.
By 1890 all the northern states officially recognized Memorial Day and paused to honor our deceased service people. Southern states, however, refused to acknowledge the day because of its Civil War roots. They established other days and ways to honor the dead.
When Memorial Day was extended to include World War I service personnel who lost their lives, the South began to recognize this national day of remembrance. Congress finally passed the National Holiday Act of 1971, officially designating Memorial Day as a federal holiday.
Sunrise Senior Living Is Home to Many Veterans
Sunrise has a proud history of working with veterans and military spouses. Read this article to learn about just a few of their stories! And, to learn about the Aid & Attendance benefit that helps pay for senior care, click here or call us at 888-434-4648.