Happy Memorial Day, folks! Memorial Day is the day we remember those who died in war defending the United States. While we realize that means you'll likely be spending your time barbecuing and relaxing, we thought you might be interested in these 5 fascinating facts about Memorial Day.
Memorial Day Began As A Response To The Civil War
Memorial Day had its beginnings at the end of the Civil War when the North and South went about commemorating the dead who fell in what remains the bloodiest war in American history. The loss of life and its effect on communities led to several spontaneous commemorations of laying flowers on headstones in the months after the war ended.
Union General John A. Logan Founded The Holiday A retired Union Army major general, John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of a veterans' group, which was called the Grand Army of the Republic, set the date of the holiday for May 30. He chose that specific date because it was not the anniversary of any particular battle. The date was also selected to ensure that flowers across the country would be in full bloom by that time.
It Became A Federal Holiday In 1971 Americans supported Decoration Day immediately in 1868, and by 1890, every state had adopted it as an official holiday. However, it was not officially recognized nationwide until Congress declared it a national holiday in 1971. Due to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which took effect in 1971, Memorial Day was moved to the last Monday of May to ensure long weekends. Some groups, like the veterans’ organization American Legion, have been working to restore the original date to set Memorial Day apart and pay proper tribute to the servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives defending the nation.
You Are Supposed To Pause For A Minute Of Silence At 3 P.M.
We're all aware that Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, but Congress has also established an exact minute of remembrance. The National Moment of Remembrance Act, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 2000, asks every citizen to pause each Memorial Day at 3:00 p.m. local time to remember the brave men and women who died serving this country. In addition to any federal observances. Major League Baseball games come to a stop during the Moment of Remembrance, and for the past several years, Amtrak engineers have taken up the practice of sounding their horns in unison at precisely 3:00 p.m.
You Wear Artificial Poppies Because Of A Poem
You may have noticed people wearing red poppy flowers pinned to their clothing on Memorial Day. This idea was influenced by the sight of poppies growing in a battle-scarred field in WWI which prompted the popular poem “In Flanders Fields” written by former Canadian Col. John McCrae, a Canadian doctor who served during World War I. McCrae was struck by the color contrast of the red poppies against the bleak battle-scarred landscape of Belgium. The poem's immortal opening stanza reads: "In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row”