5 facts about Memorial Day

memorial dayConsidered the unofficial kick off to the summer season, Memorial Day is often associated with the beach, barbeques and sales. But there’s much more to this federal holiday than a day off of work.

Memorial Day is held in commemoration of US citizens who have died in war. So before you slather on that sunscreen and head to the pool, take a moment to learn about the rich history of this American holiday.

1. Memorial Day was first held in 1868 when John A. Logan, a general in the Union Army during the Civil War, asked his soldiers to decorate the graves of their fallen compatriots.

2. Memorial Day is also known as Decoration Day, referring to the decorations and flowers placed on the soldiers’ graves.

3. After World War I, the holiday was extended to encompass all Americans who have died in war, not just those in the Civil War.

4. In 2000, President Bill Clinton declared that a moment of silence should be held at 3 p.m. EST each Memorial Day. Official services are held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (pictured at the right) in Arlington, Virginia.

5. Since 1950, by congressional request, Memorial Day is also set aside to pray for permanent peace.

Read more about Memorial Day on Answers.com or ask your own questions in our Memorial Day category. Oh, and have a great summer!