Ahh, Memorial Day weekend! The start of summer, time to barbeque, dive into the pool, go out to the lake, or whatever you like to do with your first 3-day weekend with a chance of nice weather. Not to guilt trip you, but do you ever consider what the holiday is REALLY about? Well, before you fire up the grill, or don your swimming suits, here’s alittle reminder

Originally Memorial Day was called “Decoration Day” when people decorated the graves of civil war soldiers. May 30 was selected because it was aneutral date that wasn’t associated with any specific Civil War battle. On May 30, 1868, Arlington National Cemetery hosted the nation’s first national memorial service, The tradition remains to this day with our president or vice president laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the placing of flags at each grave

From 1917 when the United States entered World War I, the holiday evolved into commemorating all U.S. military personnel who lost their lives during war. In 1968, Congress passedthe Uniform Monday Holiday Act, and since then Decoration Day became Memorial and has been observed on the last Monday of May each year

Since World War I, people have worn red poppies to honor those who died protecting the country during war. In the U.S., people wear the red poppy on Memorial Day to honor those who have died fighting for freedom. It is not a symbol of blood, death, or support for war, but rather the only flower that was found on battlefields ravaged by war. The Friday before Memorial Dayis designated a Poppy Day.