Memorial Day is next week (May 28th)! My son asked me why everyone was putting out American flags. When I told him it was to help celebrate Memorial Day, he wanted to know what it was. Sadly, I didn't know the exact answer. I knew it had to do with those who either died or were in service to the USA, but I didn't know which one. So, I did some research and here's what I found:
What is Memorial Day?: A day to honor the people who have died in service to the USA.
History of Memorial Day:
|An orange poppy; I could not find a|
red poppy at the local garden stores.
- Name: It was originally called Decoration Day (people decorated graves to honor the dead). The name changed in 1967 to Memorial Day.
- Who Created It: Many places claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, as they had days when they remembered those who had passed away by decorating the graves. It became official when General Logan proclaimed Memorial Day on 5/5/1868 through his General Order No. 11.
- When Was It First Observed: 5/30/1868
- When is It Celebrated Now: Last Monday in May (In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day to be celebrated on the last Monday in May)
- Traditional Grave Decorations: Red poppies, flags
Interesting History: Originally the wording stated it was to honor those who died in the Civil War, specifically the Union side. It was changed to any person who died in service of any war after World War 1. Some of the Southern states have their own days to remember the Confederate dead called Confederate Day.
Here is a list of the states (and the dates) who celebrate Confederate Day:
- Alabama, 4th Monday in April
- Arkansas, 3rd Monday in January
- Florida, 4/26
- Georgia, 4/26
- Kentucky, 6/3
- Louisiana, 6/3
- Maryland, 1st Saturday of June
- Mississippi, Last Monday in April
- North Carolina, 5/10
- Pennsylvania, 2nd Saturday in May
- South Carolina, 5/10
- Tennessee, 6/3
- Texas, 1/19 and 4/26. Officially, Texas celebrates Confederate Heroes Day on 1/19. Some communities also observe Confederate Memorial Day on 4/26.
- Virginia, Last Monday in May
- Why these dates?:
How To Celebrate With Kids:
- Attend a parade.
- Have them help put up the flag (at half staff until noon, if you have a flag pole).
- Visit graves and place flowers.
- Visit retirement homes. Many of the WWII vets are in retirement homes and may not have anyone to visit.
- Explore your own family history. We recently were able to look at my Grandfathers scrapbook from his service in WWII. I don't remember him talking about it, but it gave me a look into the times that I wouldn't otherwise have. It was really interesting.
- Take a moment of silence at 3 pm on Memorial Day.
Wiki, Memorial Day
Wiki, Confederate Memorial Day