May 19, 2021
Memorial Day is the first long weekend that unofficially marks the beginning of summer. Read on to learn the history behind the holiday that is observed in various ways; from taking trips, attending parades and planning gatherings to decorating graves. And if your Memorial Day plans include apartment searching, click here to view our communities.
According to History.com…
There are multiple cities that claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, but President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation that declared Waterloo, NY as the official birthplace. The holiday was originally dubbed as Decoration Day by General John A. Logan in the years following the Civil War, which claimed more lives than any other U.S. conflict. The war resulted in the need of the country’s first national cemeteries for the 600,000+ lives lost, which sparked a tradition of decorating graves with flowers and the American flag.
The origin of this tradition is debatable but perhaps the earliest recorded Memorial Day observation was organized just a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865. The event was organized by formerly enslaved people in Charleston, NC and drew a crowd of 10,000 people.
Memorial Day didn’t become an official federal holiday until 1971 when the Uniform Monday Holiday Act went into effect. Today, people observe the holiday by visiting cemeteries and memorials or wearing a red poppy in remembrance of those fallen in not only the Civil War, but World War I and II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, a national moment of remembrance takes place on Memorial Day at 3:00pm local time.