Memorial Day 2014 -- how will you spend it? Will it be a barbecue, a camping trip, fishing, shopping or just relaxing? However you spend your day, we would take this moment to remind you that it’s the sacrifice of the veterans and their families who help secure the freedom that allows us to do whatever we want. So make sure to take a moment to reflect on the history of that which was originally called Decoration Day.

  1. Decoration Day was suggested by Gen. John A Logan, leader of a Civil War veterans association. The first Decoration Day was held on the 30th of May, 1868. The reason for this choice was that no battle had taken place on that date.
  2. Today’s participants would have recognized some of the common celebrations of Memorial Day. On the first Decoration Day, there were speeches and soldiers’ graves were decorated.
  3. By 1890, each Northern state was marking Decoration Day as an official state holiday; celebrations took place on different days in the Southern states.
  4. The origins of Memorial Day go back to the Civil War, when more lives were lost than in any other war in U.S. history.
  5. Waterloo, N.Y., which held its first celebrations of the day in 1866, was named the birthplace of Memorial Day by the federal government.
  6. Decoration Day evolved into Memorial Day and was gradually extended to include all American military personnel who had died in different wars.
  7. Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30 for nearly a century. The date changed to the last Monday in May following the passing of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968.
  8. The day became a federal holiday in 1971.
  9. Some of the biggest Memorial Day parades are in Washington, D.C., Chicago and New York.
  10. Poppy-wearing originates with John McCrae’s "In Flanders Fields" poem.
  11. An additional observance on Memorial Day is the moment of remembrance, a minute of silence at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. This became law in 2000. (

Don't forget Yakima's Memorial Day parade at 10 Saturday morning!

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