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Facts about Memorial Day

May 30, 2010 at 12:30 a.m.


Why we remember

"We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. ... Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic."

- Gen. John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in general order proclaiming the first Memorial Day

BY SONNY LONG

Often there is confusion about the meaning of Memorial Day and how it is different from other holidays and observances like Veterans Day.Memorial Day factsOfficially proclaimed: On May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic.

First observed: On May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

The first state to officially recognize the holiday: New York in 1873.

Memorial Day was originally called: Decoration Day.

In 1915, Moina Michael conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war.

Congress passed the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution in 2000 asking that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to taps."

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