Now held the last Monday in May, Memorial Day is a day set aside for remembering the people who died while serving in our country’s armed forces.
The remembrance originated as Decoration Day and was established as a time to decorate the graves of Civil War Soldiers with flowers.
The holiday became officially known as Memorial Day in 1967, by Federal Law.
The first Memorial Day Ceremony in Arlington Cemetery on May 30, 1968. President Ulysses S. Grant presided over the ceremony, and the principal speaker was Civil War General and future U.S. President, James A. Garfield.
It is customary to fly the United States flag at half mast until noon on Memorial Day and then raise it to the top of the staff until sunset.
Memorial Day was originally observed every May 30 until the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which took effect in 1971. The holiday was then moved to the last Monday of May.
It’s estimated that 32 million people travel by car over Memorial Day weekend.
The tradition of having a red poppy a symbol of tribute to veterans originated from John McCrae’s 1915 poem, “In Flanders Field.” The sale of artificial poppies supports the work of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
The 30th Rolling Thunder Run will be held on Sunday, May 28, 2017 in Washington D.C. The Rolling Thunder Run mission is to educate, facilitate, and never forget by means of a demonstration for service members that were abandoned after the Vietnam War. Rolling Thunder has also evolved into a display of patriotism and respect for all who defend our country.
The first Indy 500 was held on May 30,1911. The winning driver, Ray Harroun, averaged 74.6 m.p.h. throughout the race. In 1974, the race was moved from Memorial Day to the Sunday before.