American Senior Communities would like to take a moment to honor all those who have fallen while serving our country. Memorial Day weekend is more than just a three- day weekend for cookouts and picnics; it’s also a time of remembrance. It’s a time to come together to honor those who died for our country. Many of the residents of ASC’s 65 communities are veterans.
A Brief History of Memorial Day
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. It’s difficult to pinpoint the beginning of the holiday, but its origins are believed to trace back to 1866, when a women’s group in the South began decorating the graves of Confederate soldiers who had fallen at the Battle of Shiloh. Many cities in both the North and South, from Macon, Georgia to Carbondale, Illinois, claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day.
In May of 1868, General John A. Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30th. It was believed this day was chosen because all the flowers would be in bloom in cities across the country. Flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery, businesses closed and flags were flown at half-staff.
The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873, and by 1890 it was celebrated by all the northern states. By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were held throughout the nation.
The South, however, did not officially acknowledge the day until after World War I. Instead, Southerners had separate days for honoring the Confederate dead: Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi celebrated on April 26th, North and South Carolina on June 3rd and Texas on January 19th.
In 1971, Congress passed the National Holiday Act to ensure a three-day weekend for federal holidays, and Memorial Day is now celebrated on the last Monday in May in almost every state. The holiday now honors all Americans who died fighting in any war, not just in the Civil War as it had in the beginning.
It’s been said that in more recent years, Memorial Day has somewhat lost its meaning. Traditional observance has diminished somewhat, and many cities haven’t held a Memorial Day parade in years. Some even think that Memorial Day isn’t a day for honoring fallen soldiers, but for honoring anyone in general who has passed.
To remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the United States Congress passed “The National Moment of Remembrance” in December 2000. This resolution was signed into law by the president and asks that all Americans “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps’”. This moment of silence is a way to remind people to honor all those who have fallen while serving our nation.
American Senior Communities wishes you a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!