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Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States observed every last Monday in May. Initially, it meant to commemorate fallen soldiers during the Civil War. In the 1900s, it became a celebration to honor soldiers who died in any war while serving the country and was formerly known as Decoration Day.
See the fact file below for more information on Memorial Day or alternatively, you can download our 32-page Memorial Day worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- From 1861 to 1865, the United States was involved in a Civil War which divided Americans into Union and Confederate states. The war broke out due to many disparities among the northerners (free states) and southerners (slave states).
- Union states were headed by US President Abraham Lincoln while the Confederates elected their own, Mississippian Senator Jefferson Davis.
- Many able Americans were recruited to be soldiers, including farmers, mechanists, plumbers, and teachers. When the war ended it was estimated that 620,000 soldiers from both sides died.
- On May 5, 1868, three years after the war, Major General John A. Logan, head of the Grand Army of the Republic established Decoration Day which should be observed on May 30th. It was the time of year for Americans to decorate the graves of soldiers who died in the previous war. People in Waterloo, New York were the first to observe Decoration Day.
- In the same year, then-Ohio Congressman and later U.S President James Garfield delivered a speech at Arlington National Cemetery. It was attended by 5,000 participants who decorated the graves of around 20,000 soldiers who were buried there.
DECORATION DAY TO MEMORIAL DAY
- Prior to World War I, southerners did not recognize Decoration Day. It was the northerners who observed the day with much enthusiasm. When Decoration Day was proposed to honor all soldiers who died in any war, southerners embraced it.
- By 1967, Decoration Day was officially named as Memorial Day. Four years later, it was declared as a federal holiday and the date was moved to the last Monday in May for a longer weekend.
- On Memorial Day, people participate in and watch an annual parade. In addition, flags are flown at half-mast until noon, then to full mast until sunset.
- Wearing of red poppies is also a tradition which originated from John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Field.
- It is also a popular day to visit the graves of soldiers and decorate them with flags and flowers. While others may choose to travel over Memorial Day weekend as it marks the beginning of summer.
- Aside from the federal holiday, some southern states celebrate the Confederate Memorial Day. In Georgia and Mississippi, it is observed every last Monday of April, June 3 in Louisiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee, April 26 in Florida, and January 19 in Texas.
- On December 28, 2000, US President Bill Clinton signed the National Moment of Remembrance. Aside from the initial traditions, all Americans need to pause at 3pm during Memorial Day to honor and remember the sacrifice of American soldiers.
- In Washington D.C, the annual Rolling Thunder Run is observed to raise awareness of prisoners of war or those lost in action.
- Memorial Day is often mistaken with Veterans Day. The latter honors all US military veterans while Memorial Day honors the soldiers who died while serving.
- It is considered one of the most popular holidays in the United States next to 4th of July and Thanksgiving.
Memorial Day Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Memorial Day across 32 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Memorial Day worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Memorial Day which is a federal holiday in the United States observed every last Monday in May. Initially, it meant to commemorate fallen soldiers during the Civil War. In the 1900s, it became a celebration to honor soldiers who died in any war while serving the country and was formerly known as Decoration Day.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Memorial Day Facts
- Famous People
- American Civil War
- Modified TRUE or FALSE
- American Wars
- Symbols and Meanings
- Across America
- Other Holidays
- War Statistics
- Flying Balloons
- Women of War
- Memorial Day Word Search
- Fast Facts
- Patriot in Letters
- Picture Analysis
- Soldier’s Diary
- In Flanders Field
- Poster Making
- Heroism Today
- Thank You Soldier!
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Link will appear as Memorial Day Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 1, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.