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A soldier placing flags at veteran grave site
A soldier places flags at veteran grave sites. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Military.

The Origin of Memorial Day in America

Volume 3 Issue 1 Spring-Summer 2016
By Tam McClure
Staff Writer

M emorial Day honors our fallen military, and our living armed forces. The U.S. Flag Code states on Memorial Day flags are to be flown at half staff from sunrise until noon in mourning of those soldiers we have lost in war. At noon, lower the flag and quickly hoist it to full staff, to honor our active duty military and living veterans.

The origin of Memorial Day can be traced back to a year after the Civil War ended in the town of Columbus, Mississippi.

On April 25, 1866, a group of local women visited the cemetery to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers. While there, the women noticed that the Union soldiers’ graves had been neglected. Disturbed by the sight of the barren graves, the women placed some of their flowers on those graves as well, vowing to remember them each year.

Today, approximately 25 different cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson and Congress gave the “official” claim for Memorial Day to Waterloo, New York.

It wasn’t until after WW I Memorial Day became a day to remember those who had fallen in all wars, not just the Civil War. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to take place each year on the last Monday in May. brave flag


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