As the weather begins to get warmer and the days start to get longer, you may be beginning to anticipate the upcoming Memorial Day weekend—and for good reason. Nowadays, Memorial Day is known for being the unofficial start to summer, and the three-day weekend will probably involve a neighborhood barbecue, a few of your favorite Memorial Day desserts, other delicious Memorial Day recipes, and time spent with friends and family. And because Memorial Day is a national holiday, you're likely to get a day off of work too.
But this holiday is about so much more than a cookout, and here, we'd like to take the time to remind you of that. First and foremost, it's observed to remember those who fought for our freedom—the heroes who gave their lives to make our country what it is today. We hope you'll choose to pause and remember them this year, and to remind your children and family members to do the same.
Still, no matter what your plans are for the weekend, you may be wondering: When is Memorial Day Weekend 2020? After all, we all know that the holiday comes around every May, but its exact date changes year to year. Here, we're sharing the exact date for 2020, as well as some of the history of Memorial Day.
When is Memorial Day Weekend 2020?
This year, Memorial Day is on Monday, May 25, 2020. The date changes every year, but there actually is a method to the madness: Memorial Day is always held on the last Monday in May.
What is the history of Memorial Day?
Memorial Day was created to honor the brave people who died while serving in the U.S. military. One of the very first known observances took place way back on May 1, 1865, in Charleston, South Carolina, right after the end of the Civil War, according to the History Channel. A group of freed slaves, who were part of U.S. Colored Troops, gathered to bury the bodies of Union soldiers. During the events, people sang hymns and placed flowers at the fallen fighters' graves.
A few years later, Union General John A. Logan declared there be a date of remembrance for those who died during the Civil War. He chose May 30, 1868, because it wasn't already the anniversary of a battle. However, the southern states opted to create their own day specifically for Confederate soldiers. As a matter of fact, there are 11 states that still hold a commemoration for the people who fought for the Confederacy—and Virginia hosts its day of observance on actual Memorial Day.
Though people certainly continued holding tributes for the fallen, Memorial Day was still unofficial for many more years. Decades later, in 1950, U.S. Congress agreed upon a resolution for the president to ask Americans to observe Memorial Day. Then, in 1968, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed, which declared Memorial Day occur on the final Monday in May. It also required a day off work for federal employees. Finally, in 1971, the anniversary officially became a federal holiday.
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