Today, Memorial Day is regarded by most as the first weekend of summer. Several head to their favorite summer weekend getaway locales near bodies of water, fire up the grills or hit the ballparks. But how did Americans come to have this three-day weekend?
Memorial Day was first proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, and it was first observed May 30 of the same year. Flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War and were buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
It has since been changed to honor all soldiers who have lost their life in combat. Congress declared Memorial Day as the last Monday in May through the passing of the National Holiday Act of 1971, granting the day off to Federal employees. Other companies were encouraged to follow suit.
So if you’re one of the fortunate Americans to have today free from work, take a moment from your Memorial Day ritual to consider those brave men and women who were moved to act on what they believed. Through this exercise you may be inspired to discover your passions that could make a difference in the world.