10 facts about Memorial Day

Published: May. 25, 2020 at 11:01 AM CDT
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While many people will spend Memorial Day welcoming the warmer weather, others will spend the day at various monuments and cemeteries.

But, do you know the history behind Memorial Day? We have a few facts about the holiday.

1. It honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

2. It is observed on the last Monday of May, although for many years it was observed on May 30.

3. Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day.

4. It became a federal holiday in 1971, and created a three-day weekend for federal employees.

5. Memorial Day is known as the unofficial beginning of the summer season.

6. Each year, a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day.

7. In 1966, the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, as the official birthplace of Memorial Day because it hosted an annual event where residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags. President Lyndon Johnson signed the declaration.

8. Confederate Memorial Day is still celebrated by several states but on varying dates.

9. Originally, Memorial Day honored only those lost in the Civil War, but that changed during World War I.

10. One of the earliest commemorations of the holiday was organized by recently freed slaves.