An important custom and official day off in the United States, Memorial Day is celebrated each year in memory of American soldiers, men or women, who have died in action. Also known as the "Feast of Remembrance", its date of commemoration changes every year as it takes place on the last Monday of May.
Memorial Day was born during the Civil War of 1861-1865, which claimed more than 550,000 lives. It was officially established on 5 May 1866 by Union Army Brigadier General John Murray in Waterloo. This was after he noticed that the soldiers' families continued to bring flowers to their graves even after the war. In consideration of this act, he named it "Decoration Day."
The "Decoration Day" was officially declared a day dedicated to the decoration of the graves of all those who died defending their country during the last moments of the rebellion and whose bodies now lie in the cemeteries of all the churches, cities, villages and hamlets of the nation.
As the day is dedicated to the memorial of fallen soldiers, the Memorial Day celebration is marked by the half-masting of the American flag: a sign of national mourning.
Like the President of the United States who visits the Arlington National Cemetery every year on that day, most Americans visit cemeteries, graves or monuments to pay tribute to the armed forces and lay flowers there, as is tradition.
In Waterloo, the village where it all started, there are many evocative events: fairs, festivals, walks, competitions, competitions... are organized every year.
If you are in the United States during Remembrance Day festivities, don't worry, there is no shortage of entertainment. Since Memorial Day is also the beginning of summer in the USA, Americans enjoy a picnic, relaxing at the beach, amusement parks and visiting loved ones.
That's why the number of people travelling often reaches 40 million during this long weekend. It is also during this long weekend that the "Indy 500", a car race that attracts more than 320 million spectators, tourists and residents every year, takes place.
For example, you can travel to Governors Island, New York, where concerts are usually organized to mark the start of the summer season. Otherwise, you can enjoy the sun to sunbathe on the shores of the immense American beaches.
Note also that the New York Aquarium, Coney Island and Luna Park open their doors on the same date. If you're looking for places to have fun with your family, these are the perfect places to visit!
Decoration Day was celebrated in all states of America on May 30th after 30 years. Its success was such that it was decided that it would not only be used to pay tribute to the victims of the Civil War but also to those of the First and Second World Wars.
On June 28, 1968, Congress declared it an official holiday and called it Remembrance Day. The law was passed on January 1, 1974 and the Memorial Day celebration was scheduled for the last Monday of May. The aim is to offer the families of the deceased a three-day weekend.