5 Facts, Quotes, Links for Memorial Day

From its roots in 1862, a look back at Memorial Day, including memorable quotes and a link to a report on a fallen marine’s letter.


(Source: The History Channel)

  • Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. On May 5, 1862, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month, on May 30.
  • With World War I, the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.
  • Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971.
  • Memorial Day for decades was celebrated on May 30. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Effective in 1971, Memorial Day became a three-day weekend for federal employees.
  • Memorial Day unofficially marks the beginning of summer.



  • "For love of country they accepted death." — James Garfield
  • "Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, loves leaves a memory no one can steal." — From a headstone in Ireland
  • "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” — John F. Kennedy
  • "Freedom of speech and freedom of action are meaningless without freedom to think. And there is no freedom of thought without doubt.” — Bergen Evans
  • "A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle.” — George William Curtis





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