Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, having been observed on May 30 from 1868 to 1970. It honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2020 occurs on Monday, May 25.

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Pre-Corona Virus many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades, going to beaches and summer cottages. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

In the middle of the corona virus the weekend now varies from state to state. Social distancing is required, group sizes vary from ten people up to maybe fifty. (I don’t know each state’s requirements). People are heading to the beaches but there are now rules to follow. Large groups and concerts are all canceled.   

Historically the Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.

By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.

It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. And some records show that one of the earliest Memorial Day commemoration was organized by a group of freed slaves in Charleston, South Carolina less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day.

Happy Memorial Day!