Memorial Day, which is celebrated on the last Monday in May, honors service members who have died in military service to the nation. The holiday has roots dating back to the post-Civil War era, when citizens would informally create spring flower memorials on the graves of fallen soldiers.
On May 5, 1866, the town of Waterloo, New York, formalized this ritual and hosted a city-wide “Decoration Day,” encouraging its citizens to create memorials on soldiers’ graves with flags and flowers. A few years later, in 1868, Gen. John A. Logan declared that the first-ever national Decoration Day should take place on May 30, as the date was a neutral day for both sides of the Civil War to honor their fallen soldiers.
Over the next few decades, the day transitioned from being called Decoration Day to its current name of Memorial Day.
In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May instead of a set calendar day, and because it is a 3-day federally recognized holiday, oftentimes the term “Memorial Day Weekend” is used. Whether one day, or three, there are some ways to recognize and honor those who have passed on while serving our country.
You and your family can get in the habit of participating in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00pm on Monday. You could opt to visit a military cemetery or memorial (while keeping a safe, social distance!). We are fortunate to have a number of state and national veteran’s cemeteries in the Western Washington region. Whether you have a loved one buried there or not, honoring their service and sacrifice is a touching and important gesture as a citizen in a free country. Finally, you could consider displaying the U.S. flag at your home.
Rolf’s Import Auto Service is proud to serve the military families that keep us safe, and makes up our Western Washington community. We honor you everyday.