Memorial Day is much more than just a three-day weekend and a chance to get the year’s first sunburn. It’s a time to remember the people who sacrificed their lives for their country. Here are some facts to give the holiday some perspective.
1. MEMORIAL DAY BEGAN AS A RESPONSE TO THE CIVIL WAR.
Memorial Day was a response to the unprecedented carnage of the Civil War, in which a total of some 620,000 soldiers died. The loss of life and its effect on communities led to several spontaneous commemorations of the dead.
In 1864, women from Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, put flowers on the graves of their fallen soldiers from the just-fought Battle of Gettysburg. The next year, a group of women decorated the graves of soldiers buried in a Vicksburg, Mississippi, cemetery.