Memorial Day is a holiday that people across Colorado and all of America look forward to as the start of summer each year.
It also gives people a chance to look back, as the last Monday of May is a day remembering all of American lives lost in military service.
Here are five things you should know:
1. It was originally called Decoration Day: the memory of veterans who died while serving in the military in late May dates back to 1868 when General John A. Logan called for a memorial day to honor life in the north that occurred during Civil War was lost in combat that, according to History.com, had ended only a few years earlier. Logan called it “Decoration Day” as it had been known for several years. Over time, more people started calling it Memorial Day, History.com reported, and in 1971 it became a federal holiday.
2. The public is invited to virtually participate in the 22nd Veterans Memorial Day Tribute on Saturday at 10 am. Military groups, veterans, Gold Star families, and parishioners from across Colorado will celebrate the service and victims of fallen military heroes from past and present wars over Memorial Day weekend. You can view the award here.
3. Memorial Day Birthplace: The Memorial Day tradition in Waterloo, New York dates back even longer than Logan’s call for a Memorial Day. Waterloo first celebrated on May 5, 1866, when local shops closed and residents decorated the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers and flags, according to History.com.
“The people of Waterloo are rightly proud of this outstanding event in the history of their community,” said then New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1966 when the federal government recognized the village in the state halfway between Rochester and Syracuse as the “birthplace” of the city Memorial Day. ”
Although the event is canceled for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus, Waterloo hosts a two-day celebration every year – complete with a car show, Civil War Memorial, and 5K race – as a nod to the village’s rich connection to the history of the holiday.
4. A Civil War Holiday First: Until World War I, Memorial Day, or Decoration Day, as noted above, was only meant to honor those who died while fighting for the Union in the Civil War, while the southern states honored their war dead on its own . After more than 116,000 American deaths in World War I, the holiday took on a new role as a reminder of those who died in the course of their military service.
5. National Memorial Day: A national memorial service is held each year on Memorial Day at 3:00 p.m. local time. Lunch time was chosen “because it is the time when many Americans enjoy their freedoms on the national holiday,” according to the US Department of Veterans.