Origin of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is also known as Decoration Day for honoring the soldiers which were killed during the Confederate war. It was formerly celebrated on the 30th of May. The origin of Memorial Day can be traced back to 1868 after 20,000 soldiers involved in the Union and Confederate War were buried in Arlington Cemetery. During this time, about 5,000 mourners volunteered to embellish the graves with beautiful flowers. According to General James Garfield in his speech, 30th of May was chosen because he believes that on this day, all the flowers in the whole country would bloom and therefore the graves of the soldiers can be immensely decorated.

In order to pay tribute to the comrades that has sacrificed their life to the honor of the states, this day is made a public holiday where all businesses are shut down for a day and people are encouraged to place garland of fresh flowers and flags on the Waterloo-based Arlington Cemetery.

Many states in the Northern and Southern have claimed to be the place where the origin of Memorial is said to have initiated. In 1966, then-president Lyndon Johnson announced that New York is the official birthplace for this special day. After the Civil War, many people have observed the tradition of adorning the tombstones of the soldiers in Waterloo and carried on doing the same each year back in their own home states. This day became so significant that it was declared a national holiday in 1971 by the Congress.  It is stated in General Order No.11 that every last Monday of May is made Decoration Day.

The Southern states had refused to adapt the proclamation and instead selected a special day for the day to honor those killed in the Civil War, and this day is called the Confederate Memorial Day.

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