On Memorial Day, we honor and remember all those in the United States military who have lost their lives—the brave and selfless heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country and to whom we owe our safety, security, and freedom.
In observance of Memorial Day, all Enterprise Bank branches and offices will be closed on Monday, May 29th. Please join us in honoring the fallen, and may your day be filled with memories and peace.
The History of Memorial Day
Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, is a U.S. federal holiday honoring and remembering those who have died while serving in the U.S. military. It is observed on the last Monday of May—this year, May 29th.
Decoration Day was first established to honor those who had lost their lives in the American Civil War. In May of 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance. He chose May 30th for Decoration Day because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. The holiday, as he explained in his proclamation, was “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
The U.S.’s eventual involvement in the World War I prompted the holiday’s evolution into one of remembrance for all fallen American military personnel—not just those who had died in the U.S. Civil War.
For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30th. However, in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. That same act also designated it as a federal holiday. The changes went into effect in 1971.
Each year, Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials; volunteers also place American flags on the graves of military personnel in national cemeteries. Some people wear a red poppy in remembrance of those we’ve lost—a tradition that began with a World War I poem. In addition, annual parades are held, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations, with some of the largest parades taking place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C.
In December of 2000, a congressional act established a “National Moment of Remembrance,” which asks that all Americans, at 3pm local time, “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.’”