Memorial Day

Kailan Chang and Edited by: Sophia Axiotis

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“The History of Memorial Day”

  Before I was assigned to this article, I sincerely had no idea what Memorial Day was about. At this time of the year, students like me are already longing for the summer break that is only a few weeks away. Memorial Day somehow managed to be inconsequential compared to the upcoming summer break, and, for Seniors, their upcoming graduation.

  Memorial Day- previously known as Decoration Day- was started during the 1860s, when people started springtime tributes for soldiers who died in the American Civil War (which ended in 1866). The holiday’s place of origin is unknown. Memorial Day’s date was decided because it was not the anniversary of any other battle. At that time, the holiday was more of a regional celebration than a national one, the North and South honoring fallen Union and Confederate soldiers separately. Northern States made Decoration Day an official holiday in the 1860s while Southern states celebrated on different days until WWI.

  Decoration Day eventually evolved into Memorial Day when the U.S. got into other major conflicts (see: WWI and WWII), and the holiday became a day to honor soldiers who died in all wars. However, Memorial Day did not gain a strong following and become part of the national identity until after WWII.