Happy Memorial Day from National Storage!

Veteran graveyard with a small American flag by each grave.

While most people look forward to Memorial Day as a relaxing, long weekend and a time to get together with family or friends for a barbecue, it’s important to remember the true meaning of this holiday. Memorial Day is about honoring those who have fallen while serving our country, and even if you do not have any military roots in your family, you should still take part in the National Moment of Remembrance, held at 3 p.m. local time across the country, where Americans are asked to pause from whatever they’re doing for a moment of silence, remembrance and respect.

Interesting Memorial Day Facts

Along with breaking for a moment of silence at your Memorial Day gathering this year, share some interesting facts and history about the day to keep the true meaning of the day in mind. Here are just a few Memorial Day facts you might not know:

  • Decoration Day was the original Memorial Day. For over a century, Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day, because as a way to honor the deceased, soldiers would decorate the graves of fallen comrades with wreaths, flowers, and flags.
  • It was originally celebrated on every year on May 30th. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May. However, in the beginning, the holiday was observed every year on May 30th– the day we will be celebrating this year.
  • It became an official federal holiday until 1971. For more than 50 years, Memorial Day commemorated only those fallen soldiers from the Civil War. It wasn’t until World War I that it was expanded to include those killed in all wars, and wasn’t recognized officially until 1971 when the U.S. was still in the middle of the Vietnam War.
  • Future president James A. Garfield gave a very lengthy speech on the first Memorial Day. One of the famous lines from Garfield’s speech was: If silence is ever golden, it must be beside the graves of fifteen-thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem the music of which can never be sung.”These words were spoken the first Memorial Day held on May 30th, 1868 when Garfield, then a Civil War General and Republican Congressman, addressed several thousand people at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Memorial Day has its customs. While there is no “official” ceremony on Memorial Day, many states and cities will honor the holiday by flying all flags at half-staff until noon, raising it again at sunset. Also, since the year 2000, there’s the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. in which all Americans are asked to pause for a moment from whatever they’re doing in an act of national unity.

Celebrating Memorial Day in Detroit

There are a number of events in Detroit going on Memorial Day weekend, like The Civil War Remembrance event at Greenfield Village, where you can take in hundreds of Union and Confederate reenactors, civilians, musicians and presenters ready to teach you more about this pivotal time in American history. Or, dance the night away at Movement, Detroit’s Electronic Music Festival, an annual event that has taken place for the past 17 years. Of course, you could also choose to spend a quiet day with family at one of the many local beaches or Metroparks to enjoy the official beginning of the summer season.

However you decide to spend this Memorial Day weekend in Detroit, National Storage wish you a safe and happy holiday weekend!

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