Every year on the last Monday in May, Americans gather together at parades, festivals, and family parties to honor our military heroes who selflessly gave their lives in the line of duty on Memorial Day.
The tradition of Memorial Day remembrance is one that is near and dear to our hearts and roots as a country, but we’re willing to bet that there are some interesting things you may not know about this special occasion.
In light of that, here are six cool Memorial Day facts you may not know to read through the weekend.
#1 – Ancient Roots
Traditions of remembrance for fallen heroes dates back to the time of ancient Greeks and Romans. Each year, graves of loved ones were adorned with flowers, and festivals were held to honor the dead. Similar events were also done in Athens with one of the first known celebrations held to honor Pericles, a strong Athenian general. The first Memorial Day in America began in the 19th century.
#2 – Let Freedom Ring
One of the earliest documented ceremonies was held by over 1,000 freed slaves on May 1st, 1865. Groups of troops, such as the 54th Infantry, joined the newly freed men and sang hymns while distributing flowers among the tombstones in the cemetery. This event occurred near the end of the Civil War.
#3 – Start Decorating
Before Memorial Day was actually called Memorial Day, General John A. Logan first issued a decree that today would be dubbed “Decoration Day”. Early Americans received this notion well, and ceremonies took place in more than 27 states within the first year.
#4 – From Decoration to Memorial
Even though the term Memorial Day started gaining traction in 1880, it wasn’t until the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 finalized the new celebration date and name. There was a ton of controversy that surrounded the changes for quite a few years from many groups, but as we can see, that settled.
#5 – Birthplace Claims
Believe it or not, there is a lot of rivalry surrounding the topic of who celebrated Memorial Day first:
- Boalsburg, Pennsylvania – 1864
- Carbondale, Illinois – 1866
- Mississippi vs. Georgia – Decades of Battles
Only one town has federal recognition to back up its birthplace claim, and that is Waterloo, New York. They have the official U.S. Government seal of approval for their 1966 celebration.
#6 – Traditions Remain
Although more and more people are happy to celebrate Memorial’s Day as an annual summer activity, there are many traditions that have remained strong through time:
- Our flag is hung at half-staff until noon, and then raised to the top
- Americans pause at 3 p.m. for a National Moment of Remembrance
- The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day and remains an important symbol
From The Carpet Guys family to all of you, we wish you a happy Memorial Day. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom, and thank you to the families of those brave souls. If you’re interested in checking out our best Memorial Day deals, click HERE!