It’s Spring! During spring there are many holidays and celebrations, including Easter, and Mother’s Day. One important holiday observed on the last Monday in May is Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the U.S and often marks the beginning of summer. 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 courageous 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, and Memorial Day to honor those who lost their lives in war.
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 American Civil War (1861-1865).
The original name was Decoration Day. Decoration Day was started on May 5th, 1868 by Union 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 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 showed that less than 30% of Americans knew why the meaning of Memorial Day or why we celebrate Memorial Day.
Moment of Silence
Since people didn’t know why Memorial Day was celebrated it was encouraged that all Americans take a moment of silence to honor the armed forces.
At 3 PM on Memorial Day all Americans were encouraged to take a moment of silence to reflect 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 is red poppies.
People celebrate Memorial Day by placing flowers on soldiers’ graves, flying flags at half-staff or half-mast, attending parades, remembering soldiers who lost their lives, and taking a moment of silence at 3 PM.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday.
Schools, Post Office, 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.
The longest-running Memorial Day parade is the Ironton-Lawrence Memorial Day parade located in Ironton Ohio started in 1868.
Memorial Day is the unofficial start to the summer season. Many beaches and pools open on Memorial Day Weekend.
We hoped that you enjoyed these facts about Memorial Day for kids. If you want to read more fun and interesting facts about holidays and animals click here.