Memorial Day, which honors US military service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice, is one of our nation’s most solemn traditions.
But did you know it was not even a national holiday until 1917? Or that it was originally called Decoration Day, in light of the practice of decorating the graves of lost loved ones with flowers – which is also why it is celebrated in the blossoming month of May?
Alta Pro hopes you have a safe and happy Memorial Day, as we honor those who have fallen but will never be forgotten.
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6 Interesting Facts About Memorial Day
- It started after the Civil War. So many had been lost in the conflict – a stunning 620,000 – that a national cemetery was built, and Americans across the country began holding rituals each spring to honor the lost soldiers by decorating their graves.
- After World War I, the day expanded to include the tradition of honoring all who have died in all American wars.
- Some say one of the first Memorial Day events was in Charleston, South Carolina less than a month after the Civil War ended. Other locations, including Macon and Columbus, Georgia; Richmond, Virginia; Boalsburg, Pennsylvania also claim to have hosted the first one.
- In 1966, the federal government proclaimed Waterloo, New York as the holiday’s official birthplace.
- Federal guidelines indicate that flags on the holiday be flown at half-staff — but only until noon. That’s when they should be swiftly raised to the top of the pole until sunset.
- The National Moment of Remembrance takes place at 3 PM local time around the country
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