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History of Memorial Day

On the fourth Monday of every May, we celebrate Memorial Day. Many of us get to enjoy a day off from work or school, and many of think of this day as the beginning of summer. But do you know the history of Memorial Day and what it truly means?

history of Memorial Day - Blackburn Nissan - Vicksburg, MS

While Memorial Day is often filled with cookouts, parades, and family get-togethers, it is actually one of our nation’s most solemn official days. Memorial Day originated after the Civil War as a day to honor those who died during the conflict. This was done by decorating graves with flowers and holding vigils to honor the deceased. When it was declared a day of remembrance in 1868 by General John A. Logan, it was called Decoration Day. After World War I, the holiday evolved to include all American military personnel who died in any war.

For years, Memorial Day was always observed on May 30th, the date of the first Decoration Day. But after the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed by Congress in 1968 and went into effect in 1971, the holiday was moved to the last Monday in May. In the years since, it has fallen between May 25-31; this year, it falls on May 28.

Today, communities across the country recognize Memorial Day with solemn celebrations at cemeteries that include placing flags on the graves of all veterans. If you are planning any family events this year, consider taking a few minutes to talk about the importance of the day with your family. We hope that whatever your Memorial Day celebration entails, you’ll join the team at Blackburn Nissan in taking a few moments out of your day to reflect on all the lives laid down in the effort to keep America free.