The roots of Memorial Day go all the way back to 1866, as a way to honor the sacrifice of fallen soldiers during the Civil War. Resident volunteers decorated the graves of more than 20,000 soldiers from both the North and South.

Different communities around the U.S. held their own local gatherings for the holiday, similar to today. In 1966, the U.S. government declared Waterloo, New York as the official birthplace of Memorial Day, however. During the town’s annual event, businesses closed and local residents decorated local Civil War graves with flowers and flags.

After World War I, the purpose shifted to honor the dead from all of America’s Wars. It was declared a national holiday in 1971, and it is celebrated on the last Monday in May. President Bill Clinton signed the National Moment of Remembrance Act in 2000, which asks Americans to observe a moment of remembrance at 3 p.m. local time. Major organizations such as Major League Baseball, NASCAR, and Amtrack still do this.

Many Americans still observe the holiday by visiting cemeteries, attending summer barbeques, or viewing local parades. Some of the largest parades around the country take place in Washington D.C, Chicago, and New York.

The Unofficial Start to Summer

Aside from its somber purpose of honoring America’s fallen veterans, the holiday has evolved into the unofficial beginning to summer. For many, it’s a day off of work, and a time to partake in festive summer traditions such as attending a baseball game, going swimming, or watching the local parades. For many, it’s a time to relax with family and friends while enjoying the Spring weather.

StairliftNow would like to take this opportunity to honor all veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice for this country. We would also like to wish all of our loyal customers, and friends and family a happy Memorial Day. Have fun this weekend!