Memorial Day will be full of distractions as the sounds and smells of summer begin. Most Americans, rightly so, will take a few moments to remember the brave and bold who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.
First known as Decoration Day, this day of remembrance originally honored those lost while fighting the Civil War, the deadliest war in American history. However, during World War I, the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.
For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date of the first Decoration Day in 1868. One hundred years later in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as a federal holiday on the last Monday in May. It has been observed in this fashion since 1971.
In all, America has lost close to 1,450,000 military service members since the Revolutionary War. Each year on Memorial Day, a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time. Please pause --- no matter where you are or what you are doing --- to honor and remember America's fallen heroes.