The last Monday in May was previously known as Decoration Day. It was first enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War and was observed close to the date of reunification following the war. The original Decoration Day was May 5th.
The more familiar Memorial Day was first used in 1882. but did not become more common until after World War II. The federal government made the name official in 1967 as well as moved the traditional dates of three other official holidays to a Monday in order to create a three-day weekend.
Observance of this date is typically celebrated by flying the flag at half-mast from dawn until noon, visiting cemeteries and placing flags on the graves of the war dead, and attending parades & memorials. Afterwards, Americans then stuff their faces and drink excessively at a BBQ.
As of May 28, 2010, there have been approximately 4,718 military casualties of the Iraq War and 957 military casualties in Afghanistan. Americans should also note that during these days of our depressed economy and double digit unemployment both at the state and federal levels, the two above referenced wars being waged concurrently are making us even poorer.
The Pentagon recently requested $159 billion supplementary aid to continue operations in the Middle East. The translation for taxpayers exclusively in California means that we have been paying $132.6 billion since 2001 for these wars. You can have a look at exactly what the federal government is trading for your own community’s well being here. Warning: The implications are as staggering as they are disturbing.
On this day, thank a veteran and tell Obama to bring home our military now.