- This event has passed.
30 May 2022
Memorial Day is observed in America on the last Monday of May, and it is a day to commemorate and remember the men and women who lost their lives while in service for the US military. It is a federal holiday, and as such, businesses and schools are closed, and most people have the day off work.
Originally named Decoration Day, it was officially made into a federal holiday in 1971. Traditionally, people will visit cemeteries and memorials for American soldiers, and there are several parades around the country. It also unofficially marks the beginning of the summer season.
The origins of Memorial Day
It is unclear where Memorial Day was first observed, but the day was created right after the end of the Civil War, in 1865. At the time, the American Civil War was the event that took more lives in U.S. history, it is estimated that around 620,000 soldiers died during it. As such, in the late 1860s, people began organizing tributes to the lost soldiers, by decorating their graves and paying their respects.
While it is unknown where Memorial Day started, several independent communities and states likely put up their own memorials. However, records show that the earliest commemoration of the fallen soldiers was held by recently freed slaves.
Officially, Waterloo, New York is known as “The Birthplace of Memorial Day” as it was there that the first annual, wide event was held on May 5th in 1966.