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US Memorial Day/Veterans' Day

Posted by Brian from Shawnee on May 30, 2005

In Reply to: US Memorial Day posted by ESC on May 30, 2005

: : : : Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.

: : : : World War 1--112,000
: : : : World War 2--292,000
: : : : Korea--33,741
: : : : Vietnam--58,178
: : : : Iraq (5.27.05)--1,653

: : : : If you have a chance maybe a moment of silence and a prayer for the hungry, thirsty, scared, lonely and tired youngsters who are now serving.

: : : Amen. I bought my poppy yesterday. SS

: : In Europe, and in the former British Commonwealth, the day is celebrated on the day that WW1 officially ended - the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Why is it different in the US?
: : Thanks

: Because Memorial Day has its roots in the Civil War. (See below.) Although, when I was growing up, we called it Decoration Day. It wasn't really about the military. It was a day for families to go tend the graveyards. Actually, the goal was to have the family graveyard cleaned up and decorated before Memorial Day.

: From

: Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of former Union soldiers and sailors - the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) - established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared it should be May 30. The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The cemetery already held the remains of 20,000 Union dead and several hundred Confederate dead.

: More details in a USA Today article at

In the U.S. veterans' organizations (American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars) sell poppies to raise funds, on Memorial Day, which was formerly called Decoration Day and also on Veterans' Day, which was formerly called Armistice Day. Veterans' Day is observed in the U.S. on November 11.

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