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
- Servicing a floodlight, 1942 — Share the History Love... A worker servicing one of the floodlights that turns night into day at the big construction operations for Columbia Steel Company in Geneva, Utah, which will make important additions to the vast amount of steel needed for the war effort in November 1942. Share the History Love... [...]
- Nuclear bomb shelter in Los Angeles, 1951 — Share the History Love... Mary Lou Miner, in summer sportswear, suns herself atop a new West Los Angeles bomb shelter at 10333 Santa Monica Boulevard, dreamed up by John Vale and executed by Arthur Lowe. Photograph was taken on April 7, 1951. Share the History Love... [...]
- Nurses arriving on Guadalcanal, 1944 — Share the History Love... Fifty nurses arrive on Guadalcanal. Marines and others help aid the women in moving their luggage onshore. Ensign Jean Rogers, of 5800 Garfield Avenue, Kansas City, MO seeks her suitcases among the pile just after she disembarked from a landing craft on May 3, 1944. Share the History Love... [...]
- Officers of the USS Mendota, 1864 — Share the History Love... Officers of the gun boat – the USS Mendota – in 1864. From the day of her commissioning in 1864, Mendota was assigned to the James River Division, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. The first ten months she served as a picket ship near Four Mile Creek. Her guns were used to [...]
- D-Day in Pictures: Part VI — Share the History Love... D-Day in Pictures: Part I D-Day in Pictures: Part II D-Day in Pictures: Part III D-Day in Pictures: Part IV D-Day in Pictures: Part V “We got on the beach and they have all these people laying down on the beach that were killed, it was chaos” – SSG Walter Ehlers, 18th Infantry [...]