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Memorial Day

Memorial Day in the U.S.A. is a holiday that commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. The holiday was formerly called Decoration Day and originally enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the Civil War), it was expanded after World War I. Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May.

Many people observe the holiday by visiting cemeteries and memorials. There is a national moment of remembrance which takes place at 3 p.m. local time. Other traditions are to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff from dawn until noon local time and/or place American flags on each grave site at National Cemeteries.

The holiday is actually a combination of three former holidays. On June 28, 1968, the United States Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved three holidays from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The holidays included Washington’s Birthday, now celebrated as Presidents’ Day, Veterans Day and Memorial Day. The law took effect at the federal level in 1971.

Not all were happy about this and Veterans Day was eventually changed back to its traditional date on November 11. Presidents’ Day is now celebrated on the third Monday of February. I suppose you really can’t please all of the people all of the time. 🙂

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