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The History of Memorial Day (Grade 5)

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The History of Memorial Day

Since 1868, just three years after the end of the Civil War, people have been celebrating Memorial Day. The holiday was first called Decoration Day and its main focus was decorating the graves of those who died during the Civil War. Volunteers would sing hymns, spread flowers on graves of Union and Confederate soldiers, and pray for the dead.

Traditionally, Decoration Day was celebrated on May 30. It wasn't until 1971 that the holiday was changed to Memorial Day and became an official holiday. The date was also changed to the last Monday in May. Instead of only honoring soldiers from the Civil War, Memorial Day became known as the holiday to honor all members of the Armed Forces who died serving their country.

Today, Memorial Day is often celebrated as Memorial Day Weekend. It is considered the official start to summer. Many pools officially open on Memorial Day Weekend. Families and friends gather for cookouts. However, many communities also take time to remember the true purpose of Memorial Day. Speeches are given. Parades are held. Memorials and monuments are visited. Wreaths and flowers are left on graves. Service members are remembered for the sacrifices they made for our country, sacrifices that allow us to freely celebrate Memorial Day and other holidays all year long.
What was the original name for Memorial Day?
  1. Tribute Day
  2. Remembrance Day
  3. Decoration Day
  4. Veterans Day
What is the purpose of Memorial Day?
  1. to recognize people currently serving in the Armed Forces
  2. to show support to veterans who have fought in wars
  3. to encourage people to enlist in the military
  4. to honor those who died while protecting the United States
When is Memorial Day held?
  1. May 25
  2. May 30
  3. the first Sunday in May
  4. the last Monday in May
How does the author of the passage feel about Memorial Day?

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