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
- Western Union bike messengers, 1911 — Share the History Love... Western Union bike messengers in Danville, Virginia, ca. 1911. The photograph was taken by Lewis Wickes Hine. Share the History Love... [...]
- Joseph Clovese at the last G.A.R. reunion, 1949 — Share the History Love... Joseph Clovese, G.A.R. veteran, at the 83rd and final G.A.R. reunion held in Indianapolis, Indiana on August 28, 1949. This was the first Civil War reunion for the former Union soldier who had been born into slavery 105 years earlier. Born January 30, 1844 on a plantation in St. Bernard Parish, LA, [...]
- Using skis to get around during the Battle of the Bulge — Share the History Love... With no sidewalks or pathways on the rough airfield, Maj. George Brooking found it easier to use skis to go from the briefing tent to his P-47 during the Battle of the Bulge. Share the History Love... [...]
- Anti-aircraft gun on the roof of the Government Printing Office, 19... — Share the History Love... Soldiers operate a 40mm anti-aircraft gun on the roof of the Government Printing Office, June 1944. The U.S. Capitol is seen in the background on the right. Share the History Love... [...]
- Removing a 20mm cannon from an F-100, 1967 — Share the History Love... On the hot flight line at Phu Cat Air Base, Airmen 2nd Class Francis Branch (left) and John Sellung remove a 20mm cannon from an F-100 aircraft in October 1967. Share the History Love... [...]