History of Memorial Day

History of Memorial Day

Several cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of the holiday in 1966. A hundred years earlier, on May 5, veterans of the Civil War were honored at a ceremony in that city. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say that earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.

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It was only after World War I that the occasion was expanded to commemorate those who had died in all U.S. wars. Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by Congress in 1971 and the last Monday in May was designated as its day of remembrance. (Source: www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp)