Today is a day of remembrance of the sacrifices so many have given in the service of their country.

Here are some facts and figures that help make this day so special.

Memorial Days Facts

  • May 5,1866 was declared by the federal government as the first official celebration of Memorial Day that took place in Waterloo, N.Y.
  • May 30th was the official Memorial Day of many years. In 1971 the US Congress established the last Monday in May as the official holiday.
  • The first Memorial Day was created to honor the 620,000 soldiers who gave their lives in the Civil War. (1861-1865)
  • President Bill Clinton signed the National Moment of Remembrance Act on December 28, 2000. Citizens are asked to pause for a moment of silence at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day to honor our fallen heroes.
  • For many years Memorial Day was known at Decoration Day.
  • The end of May was selected for Memorial Day because it was believed that all areas of the country would have flowers blooming by then that could be planted or placed on military graves.
  • Red poppies are the symbol of honor and remembrance on Memorial Day. The red color represents the blood spilled during our conflicts.
  • The original Memorial Day was to honor Union soldiers from the Civil War. But many southern states still have their own versions of Memorial Day.
    • Mississippi celebrates Confederate Memorial Day on the last Monday of April,
    • Alabama on the fourth Monday of April,
    • Georgia on April 26.
    • North and South Carolina observe it on May 10,
    • Louisiana on June 3 and Tennessee calls that date Confederate Decoration Day.
    • Texas celebrates Confederate Heroes Day on Jan. 19
    • Virginia calls the last Monday in May Confederate Memorial Day.

Some Final Thoughts

It still surprises me how many businesses use this holiday as a commercial opportunity.

It should not be a day of hotdogs and potato salad. It should be a day that we reflect on the empty chair at the dinner table.

The child without a mom or dad.

While it is a day of sadness it’s also a day to appreciate the freedoms and safety that their sacrifice provides to all of us.

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