Celebrate Memorial Day!
Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.
In 2000, Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance, which asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3 p.m. (according to your own time zone) in an act of national unity. The time was chosen because 3 p.m. “is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday. “
Memorial Day, an American holiday that is observed on the last Monday of May, honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. It was originally known as Decoration Day, which originated in the years following the Civil War. During the Civil War, people decorated the graves of fallen soldiers on what became known at the time as “Decoration Day.” Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. This date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country, no matter in which state you lived. (Remember, Alaska wasn’t a state at the time.) Still, nobody really knows for sure when and where the first Decoration Day actually occurred.
The holiday’s Decoration Day moniker lingered until 1882, but the day wasn’t an official holiday until 1967. The holiday was held on May 30 until 1971, when Congress fixed the date as the last Monday in May. The holiday was officially renamed Memorial Day in 1967, when President Johnson signed legislation to that effect.
Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer. According to the American Automobile Association, more than 36 million people will hit the roads this holiday weekend and drive more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) to another destination.
Grilling may not have been part of the original Memorial Day celebrations, but it’s now a fixture of the holiday. Memorial Day is now the second-most popular holiday (after the Fourth of July) for a sun-baked barbecue: 53 percent of people grill on the holiday, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association.
Marcia Goodman, REALTOR®
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