It’s Spring! During spring there are many holidays and celebrations, including Easter, and Mother’s Day. One very important holiday that we celebrate in America on the last Monday in May, Memorial Day. Why do we celebrate Memorial Day? Find out below with these Memorial Day Facts for Kids.
What is Memorial Day?
America is known as the land of the free and it is because of the brave. Memorial Day is a very special holiday. It is celebrated to honor and remember all of the brave men and women who died fighting for our country. These men and women dedicated their lives so we can be a free nation.
Some people get Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day confused. Veteran’s Day is a day to honor all of the men and women who have served in the US armed forces, Memorial Day to to honor those who lost their lives.
When is Memorial Day?
Memorial Day is celebrated every year on the last Monday in May. It usually falls between May 28th and May 31st.
The History of Memorial Day
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 soldiers who died decorated the their graves with flowers.
The first service to honor fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery was held on May 30th 1868. President Ulysses S. Grant was present at the ceremony 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. In 1966 congress along with President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo New York the birthplace of Memorial Day. President Richard Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday in 1971.
In 1996 a poll was taken and showed that less than 30% of Americans actually knew why we celebrate Memorial Day. At that time the idea of having a national moment of silence began. At 3PM on Memorial Day all Americans were encouraged to take a moment of silence to reflect back and think of all the people who sacrificed their lives so we can be a free nation. On December 28th 2000 President William (Bill) Clinton signed the National Moment of Remembrance Act. .
Memorial Day Facts for Kids
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, and taking a moment of silence at 3PM.
Schools, Post Office, most banks and other businesses are closed on Memorial Day. Since many offices are closed many Americans get a three day weekend and travel for the holiday. .
Memorial Day is the unofficial start to the summer season. Many beaches and pools open on Memorial Day Weekend.