A uniquely American holiday, Memorial Day honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the in the U.S. Armed Forces. Observed the last Monday in May, the holiday began with the tradition of decorating Civil War fallen’s graves.
The first decorating of Confederate graves that evolved into Memorial Day was observed June 3, 1861, in Warrenton, Va. By 1882, Decoration Day, as it was formerly known, began to be referred to as Memorial Day. Nonetheless, some continued calling it Decoration Day even after World War II.
For its first century, Memorial Day was observed on various dates, usually in the Spring, depending on state, county, or town. In 1968, Congress moved the holiday from its traditional date of May 30th to the last Monday in May. The law took effect in 1971, however, strong opposition to this change persists 40 years later.
Traditionalists argue that the holiday’s move in order to accommodate a three-day weekend undermines the meaning of its observance, which is to remember those who died for their country. U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) was the most vocal opponent to the change. Supporters of the change argue that the cost of keeping the holiday on May 30th is prohibitive and might relegate it exclusively to the public sector.
Whether the last Monday in May or May 30th, Kooi is a proud supporter and strict observer of Memorial Day and honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.