Memorial Day is one of our sacred holidays that honors our veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our freedom.

Even though we also equate the holiday with time together with our loved ones and the official kick-off of the summer, its history is rich in history and remembrance.

Here are the fascinating facts surrounding the Memorial Holiday:

– In 1865, Historians say African Americans started the celebration and called it Decoration Day in Charleston, South Carolina, where the Civil War began.

– Soon after General Lee surrendered, thousands of formerly enslaved African Americans joined the US Army and United States Colored Troops, marching through the city, honoring the 257 prisoners who died after Confederate soldiers captured, killed and buried them in unmarked graves without a ceremony.

– In 1868, Union and Confederate graves at Arlington Cemetery were decorated with flowers by the orphaned children of Civil War veterans.

– After World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to honor all soldiers who had died in American wars.

– In 1915, a soldier was inspired by the red poppies blooming in Europe during World War I. The red poppy became the unofficial symbol of remembrance for Memorial Day.

– In 1966, a federal government declaration for the holiday happened in Waterloo, New York.

– Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971, when the first Three-Day Holiday Weekend occurred.

– In 2000, The National Moment of Remembrance was established and also takes place on Memorial Day.

– The request on The National Moment of Remembrance is that at 3pm local time you pause in an act of unity, remembrance or prayer for all our fallen heroes for one minute.

– On Memorial Day, American flags are flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon to honor those who have died in battle. At noon, the flag is raised to full staff to honor those who are still serving.

– Memorial Day, which also kicks off the summer season, more than 7-Billion hotdogs will be consumed across the US.

Memorial Day is now a cherished American tradition and federal holiday, reminding us of the actual cost of war, one human life at a time.

So this Memorial Day weekend while you are at your friends’ barbecue flying the American Flag and celebrating the beginning of summer, remember to honor our fallen soldiers.

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