Memorial Day is noted by its outdoor activities like barbecuing, laying by the pool, and just enjoying some leisure time. But there’s more to Memorial Day than just some extra time off. Before you head off to your first barbecue of the weekend, check out these 5 facts you probably didn’t know about Memorial Day.
1. Originally known as Decoration Day
Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War. By the late 1860s, Americans in varying towns and cities began to hold tributes for those whose lives were lost during the Civil War. Which, at the time was a war that had the most casualties.
2. Officially Became a Federal Holiday in 1971
In 1971 by an act of Congress, Memorial Day, also known as Decoration Day, became an official Federal holiday. It was placed on the last Monday of May as most Federal holidays fall on the last Monday of the month.
3. Each year on Memorial Day a National Moment of Remembrance Takes Place at 3 pm Local Time
Ever wonder what time Memorial Day officially starts? No, it’s not whenever your pool first opens. 3 pm local time is the official moment of remembrance. In fact, it was chosen in 2000 because that was determined to be the time most people are off work for Memorial Day.
4. Many Observe Memorial Day By Visiting Cemeteries and Memorials.
Some people also choose to wear a red poppy in remembrance of those who were lost in war. On September 27th, 1920 the poppy flower became the official flower of the American Legion Family. In 1924, the distribution of poppies became a national program of The American Legion.
5. In 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York as the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
Yes, Memorial Day has an official birthplace. Waterloo, New York held the first official formal memorial on March 7th, 1966 honoring those who have lost their lives serving their country. The State of New York recognized Waterloo by a proclamation signed by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller.