The United States has marked Memorial Day for over a century now. Earlier it used to be a norm and has now turned into a federal holiday, one of 12 in the country.

The last Monday of May has been designated as Memorial Day in the United States. It will be marked on May 30 this year. The holiday is traditionally called “Decoration Day” as thousands of people honour fallen American soldiers by decorating their graves.

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History of Memorial Day in the United States

The origins of the modern-day holiday date back to the time of the civil war, which resulted in the death of more than half a million people. reports there were 360,222 Union deaths and 258,000 Confederate deaths.

The national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, General John Logan, officially proclaimed the day on May 05, 1868. 

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The order signed by General Logan said that May 30th will be “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in the defense of their country during the late rebellion”, media reports suggest.

Significance of Memorial Day

Memorial Day traditionally is kept aside to honour American soldiers who died in the civil war. However, in modern times, people visit and decorate the graves of the United States military too.

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A proclamation signed when Bill Clinton was the United States President also designated a “National Moment of Remembrance.” On every Memorial Day at 3 PM, Americans are expected to pause any non-essential activities and observe a moment of silence for the fallen American soldiers.

Arlington, the first-ever national cemetery established by the United States, is also closely tied to Memorial Day. US Presidents and other lawmakers have also traditionally visited the cemetery in Virginia on Memorial Day.