Four facts about the history of Memorial Day

by Marta Holmes May 30, 2017, 6:28

But as we enjoy the unofficial start to summer, it's also important to remember why we have the day off - to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.

1868 - General John Alexander Logan officially proclaims May 30, 1868, as Memorial Day in honor of the Union soldiers who died in the Civil War. It's about the men and women who have given their lives for this country. "It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country".

"It's all those that want to help us support our fallen members", Johnson said.

Memorial Day does have an interesting history. Millions of Americans visit cemeteries, decorate graves with flags and flowers, tell stories, attend worship services, and parades.

President Trump observing Memorial Day with a trip to Arlington National Cemetery.

"It's a fun holiday for people: 'Let's party.' It's an extra day off from work", said Carol Resh, 61, whose son, Army Capt. Mark Resh, was killed in Iraq a decade ago. It was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. But they, too, cringe when they hear: "Happy Memorial Day".

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Originally, it was called "Decoration Day", but there is great debate about its actual origin. The 97-year-old shared his experiences from World War Two and how a mosquito pushing his helmet higher saved his life from a bullet. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

Moving of the date did cause some controversy.

The annual day of remembrance began under a different name - Decoration Day - which was established three years after the Civil War ended, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Inouye died in 2012.

By 1966 Waterloo was official declared the birthplace of Memorial Day, by the federal government. The town first celebrated on May 5, 1866. Today we honor those who sacrificed everything for the safety and liberty of the rest of us, those who died in military service.

This difference is one of the reasons local father and Chief Petty Officer Michael Larson chose to take his family to the Jacksonville National Cemetery for the annual Memorial Day Service.

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