Why we celebrate Memorial Day

[To comment: larry at larry litwin dot com]

(The following appeared in USA Today on May 24, 2014)

Americans love Memorial Day and, according to various polls, celebrate it in o variety of ways: 55 percent have picnics or barbecues, 21 percent take a trip somewhere, 21 percent go to a parade.

          However, many Americans aren’t quite sure what the holiday represents. When a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll asked Americans in 2000, “Would you hope to know why we celebrate Memorial Day?” only28 percent correctly answered that the day honors those who died while serving in the armed forces.

          The most common misperception: 40 percent said the holiday is for remembering veterans,” confusing it with the November celebration of Veterans Day.

          That takes us to: “What were we thinking in 1967?”

          Memorial Day first come into existence during the Civil War and was celebrated annually on May 30 for more than 100 years before being officially recognized as a federal holiday in 1967. One year later, Congress passed a low moving the holiday from May 30 to the last Monday in May. lt was not a popular move. Only 38 percent of Americans favored the idea in a Harris Poll conducted in late 1962 while 59 percent were opposed.

[To comment: larry at larry litwin dot com]