Why do we celebrate Memorial Day?

American+flags+decorate+headstones+at+the+Arkansas+State+Veterans+Cemetery+in+Little+Rock+after+the+2017+Memorial+Day+flag+placement+observance.+It+is+customary+for+current+US+soldiers+to+conduct+the+ceremony.+
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Why do we celebrate Memorial Day?

American flags decorate headstones at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in Little Rock after the 2017 Memorial Day flag placement observance. It is customary for current US soldiers to conduct the ceremony.

American flags decorate headstones at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in Little Rock after the 2017 Memorial Day flag placement observance. It is customary for current US soldiers to conduct the ceremony.

US Department of Defense Website

American flags decorate headstones at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in Little Rock after the 2017 Memorial Day flag placement observance. It is customary for current US soldiers to conduct the ceremony.

US Department of Defense Website

US Department of Defense Website

American flags decorate headstones at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in Little Rock after the 2017 Memorial Day flag placement observance. It is customary for current US soldiers to conduct the ceremony.

Emma Mills, Staff Reporter

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Monday, May 27, Millbrook has the day off for Memorial Day. For many, this annual May long weekend is the perfect tease of the upcoming summer, often celebrated with trips to the beach or days spent swimming and basking in the warm sun at your neighborhood pool. However, how much do you really know about why we have the day off? Keep reading to brush up on your knowledge on the history of the holiday and why we really celebrate!
Memorial Day is a nationally recognized United States holiday to remember veterans who died while fighting in our nation’s armed forces. Originally called Decoration Day, it became a tradition to honor fallen soldiers in the years following the Civil War. The Civil War contributed to more American deaths than any previous war and resulted in the first national cemeteries. By the late 1860s, many American cities and states began celebrating in the springtime by visiting cemeteries and decorating veterans’ graves with flowers. General John A. Logan, leader of a Northern Civil War veterans’ organization, called for the first Decoration Day to be celebrated on May 30, 1868. On this day, General James Garfield gave an honorary speech at the Arlington National Cemetery, where participants decorated graves with flowers and said prayers for them. All Northern states recognized Decoration Day as an official state holiday by 1890.
During World War I, the holiday came to be known as Memorial Day and was recognized by all states to honor fallen soldiers in all wars. For years, it was continued to be celebrated on May 30, but in 1971, Memorial Day became a federal holiday on the last Monday of May each year, in part to give federal employees a three-day weekend.
The holiday is commemorated with a national moment of remembrance at three o’clock in the afternoon local time, parades across the nation, and visits to cemeteries. In more recent years, Memorial Day has marked the unofficial beginning of summer for many Americans and is celebrated with weekend trips, barbeques, and parties. Junior Morgan Jurney loves the weekend too: “The long weekend for Memorial Day is super nice because it lets you get away from your normal, hectic schedule and take some time for yourself.”
This Memorial Day, enjoy your break from the craziness of the end of the year, but also take the time to reflect on what the day really means!

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