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TIG Insider Newsletter  May 29, 2012
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Memorial Day is synonymous with much of Americana: the start of summer, picnics -- even one-day car sales. But it’s important to remember the true meaning of the day, which is honoring those who sacrificed their lives serving the US.

  1. Memorial Day was originally called “Decoration Day" instituted in 1868. The purpose was to decorate the graves of soldiers who had died fighting in the Civil War.
  2. Approximately 5,000 people gathered to celebrate the first “official” Decoration Day celebration at Arlington National Ceremony in 1868. That’s about the same amount of observers that gather there today.
  3. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y. the birthplace of the holiday.
  4. Yale Scholar, David W. Blight, claims that the first Memorial Day-style celebration was actually put on by African-Americans, mostly former slaves, at a mass burial site for Union soldiers in Charleston, S.C
  5. Memorial Day didn’t become an official national holiday until 1971, when a Congressional Act set it at the end of May.
  6. To preserve the purpose of honoring veterans, in 2000 Congress passed the The National Moment of Remembrance Act. The law calls for a moment of silence from Americans at their local time of 3 p.m. every Memorial Day.

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