Before it became a federal holiday in 1971 and its observance moved to the last Monday in May, Memorial Day was called Decoration Day and took place on May 30th. This year, the last Monday in May actually falls on the original Decoration Day date.
The roots for Decoration Day go back to shortly after the Civil War when citizens paid local tributes to those who had died. In 1868, Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued an official proclamation for a nationwide Decoration Day observance. After World War I, the observance was expanded to honor all those who had died in service during any American war.
Since its transfer to make it part of a three-day weekend, however, Memorial Day has also become synonymous with the unofficial start of summer. Over the last 45 years, trips to the beach to kick-off the vacation season or local mall to take advantage of holiday sales have vied for attention with more traditional observances.
In keeping with day’s more solemn purpose, here are a few things you could do this Memorial Day to honor our nation’s fallen heroes