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Memorial Day Facts

Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday in 1971. We now, designate this day to remember loved ones who have passed on, as well as remembering our service men and women. Flowers and flags are placed on graves in remembrance of them. Parades and dedications of memorials usually are part of the day's activities. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, local marching bands, members of the armed service, fire departments, police departments, and fraternal orders often march in parades and attend ceremonies to commemorate the day.

Waterloo, N.Y. is considered the birthplace of this holiday because the people of Waterloo were the first people to proclaim a day on May 5, 1866 to honor the soldiers who died in the Civil War. They closed their businesses and placed flowers and flags on the graves of their soldiers. Flags were flown at half-mast.

Major General John A. Logan declared May 30, 1868 as a special day for honoring Union soldiers killed in battle. He was Commander in Chief of an organization of Union Civil War Veterans called the Grand Army of the Republic. They took charge of Memorial Day celebrations in the Northern States. The American Legion took over these duties after World War I.

The Southern States of Alabama and Mississippi observe the last Monday in April as Confederate Memorial Day. Georgia observes April 26th, North and South Carolina observe May 10th, Virginia observes the last day of May. Louisiana and Tennessee observe June 3 and Texas celebrates Confederate Heroes Day, January 19th.

The poppy emblem was chosen because of the poppies that bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their red colour an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed of trench warfare.

Memorial Day Trivia

1. What was the first state, which officially celebrated Memorial Day?

2. Originally, Memorial Day was first known as what, the hint is the day begins with the letter d.

3. Why do we celebrate Memorial Day?

4. Who is General John Alexander Logan and what role does his memory play in our Memorial Day celebrations?

5. On this special day of remembrance, should the American Flag be half raised all-day or fly in all her glory at full mast?

6. What is the nationally recognized flower of Memorial Day?

7. What day of the week is Memorial Day held on?