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Memorial Day vs. Veteran’s Day

Ever thank a Serviceman or Servicewoman for their bravery on Memorial Day and get a strange look from them? The general population often confuses Memorial Day with Veteran’s Day. Memorial Day is a day to honor those who have fallen fighting for the freedom of others while Veteran’s Day honors all those who have fought, whether they made it home or not.

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, was established by Union Veterans in 1868 as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of those that died during the Civil War. The first Decoration Day was celebrated at Arlington Cemetary. The name of the holiday was switched to Memorial Day in 1882 when both Union and Confederate Veterans agreed on decorating all graves on the same day. Memorial Day did not become common until World War II and was not declared the official name by Federal law in 1967. On June 28, 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. (The other three were Washington’s Birthday/President’s Day, Columbus Day and Veteran’s Day)

Some Did You Know Facts about Memorial Day:

-On Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon.[43] It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.

-In 1915, following the Second Battle of Ypres, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, wrote the poem, “In Flanders Fields”. Its opening lines refer to the fields of poppies that grew among the soldiers’ graves in Flanders

-In 1918, inspired by the poem, YWCA worker Moina Michael attended a YWCA Overseas War Secretaries’ conference wearing a silk poppy pinned to her coat and distributed over two dozen more to others present. In 1920, the National American Legion adopted it as their official symbol of remembrance.

-President Bill Clinton signed the National Moment of Remembrance Act on Dec. 28, 2000, designating 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day as a National Moment of Remembrance

Today we remember all those who fought bravely and gave their lives for our freedom! Home of the free, because of the brave.

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