All Access Closed For Memorial Day
May 22, 2009 at 5:18 PM (PT)
ALL ACCESS will be closed for the MEMORIAL DAY weekend. Our offices will reopen TUESDAY, MAY 26th.
The History Of The Holiday
MEMORIAL DAY is much more than a three-day weekend that marks the beginning of summer, writes THE HISTORY CHANNEL. To many people, especially the nation's thousands of combat veterans, this day, which has a history stretching back all the way to the Civil War, is an important reminder of those who died in the service of their country.
MEMORIAL DAY was originally known as Decoration Day because it was a time set aside to honor the nation's Civil War dead by decorating their graves. It was first widely observed on MAY 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of General JOHN A. LOGAN of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former sailors and soldiers.
In 1966, the federal government, under the direction of President LYNDON JOHNSON, declared WATERLOO, NY, the official birthplace of MEMORIAL DAY. They chose WATERLOO, which had first celebrated the day on MAY 5, 1866, because the town had made MEMORIAL DAY an annual, community-wide event during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.
TODAY, MEMORIAL DAY is celebrated at ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. Also, it is customary for the President or Vice-President to give a speech honoring the contributions of the dead and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. About 5,000 people attend the ceremony annually.
Have a happy and safe MEMORIAL DAY weekend with your family and friends, and remember those who have given so much for our country.