All over our country, Memorial Day has begun to be marked as the start of summer.  Rather than using waiting for the official start date of June 21, corporations mark the beginning of end of summer hours using the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays.  While many know the essence of Memorial Day, the roots of this very patriotic holiday are commonly unknown.  With a short lesson from Amidon Jewelers, however, you’ll be able to teach those you are with a thing or two on this great day.

In 1968, just after the end of the Civil War, General John Logan, the head of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans, established Decoration Day.  Logan declared Decoration Day as a day to mark the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers.  That same year, the celebration was initiated at Arlington National Cemetery.  General and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, along with various other Washington officials led the ceremony in which members of the Grand Army of the Republic made their way through the cemetery strewing flowers on Union and Confederate Graves.

In 1966, Waterloo, NY was named the official birthplace of Memorial Day, however it wasn’t until 1971 before Memorial Day became a national holiday.  This was when Memorial Day was declared to be the last Monday of May.  Present day Memorial Day celebrations at Arlington National Cemetery draw crowds of 5,000 people, the same number as the original Decoration Day, however rather than flowers, today each grave is marked by an American flag.  No matter how or when they died, each and every soldier in Arlington is memorialized on this day.

In December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act.” This law created the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance.  The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity.”  It also encourages all Americans to pause for a moment of silence at precisely 3pm local time.

Amidon Jewelers wishes a safe and happy holiday weekend to you and your loved ones, no matter how you wish to celebrate.  We hope, however, that our brief history lesson will encourage you and your acquaintances to pause at 3pm local time and remember those who made this holiday possible.  May the live veterans in your life be thanked and the dead never be forgotten.