Memorial Day Facts

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• Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day.

• The birthplace of Memorial Day is a debated topic. Cities such as Warrington, Virginia; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Savannah, Georgia and Waterloo, New York are some localities believe to be the birthplace.

• Memorial Day was originally celebrated on May 30 until the Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect in 1971 and it was moved to the final Monday in May.

• 1971 is also when Memorial Day became an official holiday.

• Originally, only soldiers who had died in the Civil War were honored.

• The National Monument of Remembrance Act passed in 2000 requires all Americans to stop what they are doing at 3:00 pm on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who died while in service.

• The poem Bivouac of the Dead is often recited on Memorial Day and inscribed on iron tablets throughout many of the country’s national cemeteries including the original entrance to Arlington National Cemetery. The poem was written by Theodore O’Hara to honor his fellow soldiers from Kentucky who died in the Mexican-American War.
Bivouac (/ˈbivo͞oˌak/) – A temporary camp without tents or cover.

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