History of Memorial Day: Uniting a Broken Nation

While you’re celebrating holiday plans with your friends and family this weekend, will you think about why we even have a Memorial Day? What is the history of Memorial Day? Nobody quite remembers how Memorial Day started, but it’s a widely accepted holiday that is meant to remember those who gave their lives for our country. It began at a time when Americans were terribly divided.

Most agree Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, began around the Civil War. It’s unclear where the holiday officially began, but several cities in the North and South claim they hosted Memorial Day-type events in the early 1860s.

There’s evidence women in Savannah, Georgia decorated Confederate soldiers’ graves in 1862. Three years later, Charleston, South Carolina threw the first nationally publicized Memorial Day event to honor Union soldiers. People gathered at a former Confederate prison to dig up a mass grave of 250 soldiers then rebury them in individual graves.

The division between the North and South made some hesitant to officially recognize the holiday until after WWI, when the holiday was expanded to honor fallen soldiers from all wars. In the 1960s, Waterloo, New Jersey became the official birthplace of Memorial Day thanks to its 1866 celebration to honor both Union and Confederate soldiers.

Memorial Day historically occurred in May and was officially linked to May 30th, presumably because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. Today, Americans plan events on the final Monday in May with holiday plans including fireworks, concerts, parades and more. North Texans have several events to choose from this Memorial Day (May 26), including Liberty Fest in Farmers Branch and Carry The Load Dallas Memorial March through Reverchon Park.

To learn more about these events and more, download the free allcal app in the App Store. Plan events with your family and create all of your holiday plans in one place on a private calendar. Or through Public Calendars you can search for things happening in the Dallas  Fort-Worth area, add them to your calendar and quickly share them with friends and family. Don’t live in North Texas? You can still use our Public Calendars by creating and promoting events in your city. So plan events now.

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