Memorial Day: A 156-Year-Old Tradition

Memorial Day began after the Civil War, the nation’s bloodiest conflict. Formal and informal ceremonies honoring soldiers who had fallen in battle began in 1866, according to Veteran.com.  By 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a Union veteran organization, had established Decoration Day in late May as a time for the nation to decorate graves with flowers. The armed services and individual states codifed the holiday and adopted policies for observing it. After World War I, the day was expanded to honor all who died in U.S. wars, but it wasn’t until 1971 that Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday in May. #MemorialDay

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