Why do we Celebrate Memorial Day? Memorial Day Facts for Kids

  • Memorial Day is a day to honor and remember all of the men and women who died fighting for our country.  These men and women dedicated their lives so we can be a free nation.
  • Memorial Day is not the same as Veteran’s Day. Veteran’s Day is a day to honor all of the men and women who have served in the US armed forces.
  • Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May.
  • Having a day to honor the soldiers who lost their lives started after the Civil War (1861-1865)
  • The original name was Decoration Day.
  • Decoration Day was started on May 5th 1868 by General John A Logan commander of the Grand Army of the Republic head of the Organization of Union Veterans to honor union soldiers who died in the Civil War
  • It was called Decoration Day because family members of fallen soldiers decorated the their graves with flowers.
  •  May 30th 1868 was the first service to honor fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery President Ulysses S. Grant was present and General James Garfield gave a speech.
  • Decoration Day originally only honored the soldiers who died in the Civil War.  After World War I it was changed to all soldiers who lost their lives in war.
  • On May 11 1950 Decoration Day was changed to Memorial Day.
  • I971 President Richard Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.
  •  In 1966 congress along with President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo New York the birthplace of Memorial Day.
  • The official flower of Memorial Day are red poppies.
  • People celebrate Memorial Day by placing flowers on soldier’s graves,  fly flags at half-staff, attending parades and remembering soldiers who lost their lives .
  • Schools, Post Office, most Banks and other businesses are closed on Memorial Day.
  • Memorial Day is known as the official start of the summer season.