Memorial Day, the first of three popularly recognized U.S. summer holidays is coming up on Monday, May 28. According to holiday surveys, 95% or more of U.S. employers along with most government entities, banks and post offices recognize Memorial
Day as a paid holiday.
Although Memorial Day today is more thought of as the official marker for summer and a time to have a backyard barbeque, family picnic or trip to the beach, its past harkens to a more somber meaning. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to honor to dead Union soldiers of the Civil War. Even prior to this, in the Southern U.S., a practice sprang up to decorate Confederate grave, mostly during May, in Richmond and other cities during the Civil War.
By the early 20th century, the holiday began to transition to an occasion for more general expressions of memory as people visited graves of their deceased relatives in cemeteries, whether they had served in the military or not. As the 20th century moved on beyond World War II, it became a long weekend increasingly devoted to parades, shopping, family gatherings, trips to the beach as well as the famous Indianapolis 500 auto race.
From its beginning, the name for the holiday gradually changed from “Decoration Day” to “Memorial Day.” The term “Memorial Day” didn’t become more common until after World War II and wasn’t declared the official name until 1967.
Besides the extra day off, parades, concerts, barbeques, and retail shopping sales, many Americans today still observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. In addition other traditions include: observing a national moment of remembrance at 3:00 pm local time, flying the U.S. flag at half-staff from dawn until noon local time and volunteer groups placing American flags on each grave at national cemeteries.
From everyone at HRM Partners, we wish you a happy, safe & restful Memorial Day holiday!