The first Memorial Day was observed on May 30, 1868, three years after the end of the Civil War. It was initially called Decoration Day since people would adorn the fallen soldiers’ graves with flowers as a way to honor their sacrifices. As time went by, the name changed to Memorial Day and became a nationwide celebration of all the country’s fallen soldiers, not just from the Civil War. Congress declared Memorial Day a federal holiday in 1971.
History of Memorial Day
- Thanksgiving dinner at the jail — Share the History Love... Men having Thanksgiving dinner at the jail in Lewistown, Montana. Share the History Love... [...]
- Odd Contests: Pumpkin Princess & Pumpkin Queen — Share the History Love... Janice Lee Ortieb, age 4, and Patricia Lynn Barlow, age 16 were elected the San Fernando Valley’s first Pumpkin Princess and Pumpkin Queen at the Balboa Mission Center on November 20, 1961. The girls will reign through Thanksgiving Eve from a throne inside a $15,000 custom-built Pumpkin House at the Balboa Mission [...]
- SATC troops seated for Thanksgiving Dinner, 1918 — Share the History Love... Students’ Army Training Corps (SATC) troops seated for Thanksgiving Dinner in the Mechanic Arts building (at Utah State) which housed the canteen and served as barracks during demobilization, 1918. Note the flu masks around the necks of some of the men. Share the History Love... [...]
- Salvation Army Thanksgiving baskets, 1911 — Share the History Love... Several rows of benches are lined with baskets of food for Thanksgiving from the Salt Lake City’s Salvation Army, 1911. Share the History Love... [...]
- Thanksgiving in Italy under a lean to shelter, 1944 — Share the History Love... Soldier enjoying his Thanksgiving meal under a camouflaged lean to shelter. The photo is from a collection of William Caddell who served with the 5th Army Headquarters in North Africa through Italy. His scrapbook of Signal Corps photographs documents the Fifth Army from the Fall of Rome through the end of the war. [...]