The first "Memorial Day" holiday was in 1866 but it was not called "Memorial Day" until 1882. The holiday originated after the end of the Civil War when people felt it was important to set aside a day to remember those who had lost their lives in war defending our country.
Others claim that the true first memorial day took place at Washington Race Course in Charleston, South Carolina. The Washington Race Course is now known as Hampton Park , but back on May 1, 1865 it was reported that a group of ten thousand people participated in sermons, singing and had picnics. Thus it was the first "Dedication Day." Washington Race Course was originally used by the Confederates as a temporary prison and later a mass grave for Union soldiers who died there.
Now Memorial Day is earmarked cookouts, days on the lake, camping and other family oriented activities. Unfortunately people sometimes forget the true reason for the holiday. The true reason for the holiday is not to give banks and postal workers the day off, but rather to remember the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country.
There are traditions, on the west lawn of the United States Capitol the the National Memorial Day Concert. Also the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 are raced on Sunday of the weekend. One of the most visible signs are that the headstones at Arlington Cemetery are all marked with American flags.
Now people will celebrate the weekend however they choose, and hopefully they will remember the true meaning of the holiday.