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How did Memorial Day develop?

10 bytes added, 21:17, 22 November 2018
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[[File:Scollay's square, parade on Decoration Day, from Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views.jpg|thumbnail|left|400px|Figure 2. Decoration Day soon began to change to celebrating all war dead at the time of World War I.]]
What began to change the meaning of what was then called Decoration Day were the events of World War I (Figure 2). Once again, a bloody conflict consumed the United States. While World War I was not a very long war for the United States, it did endure relatively heavy casualties in the tumultuous last year of the conflict. Many families endured great loss, with over 116,000 deaths overall, although many of those were due to disease, including the pandemic flu that had struck during the war. That the large number of dead were soldiers from throughout the United States, in a way did help the country come together after the the Civil War had led to bitterness. People began to celebrate not just those who died in the Civil War but also World War I and other conflicts, including more minor ones such as the Spanish-American War, where all fallen soldiers began to be remembered. Decoration Day on May 30th began to be celebrated across the United States and not just the North.<ref>For more on the role of World War I on Memorial Day, see: Margaret, A., & Margaret, A. (2002). <i>Memorial Day (1st ed)</i>. New York: PowerKids Press, pg. 12. </ref>
With the growing popularity of celebrating the war dead on May 30th, the holiday became official at the state level in many places. The holiday gained even more popularity after World War II, when another great conflict had consumed so many individuals. As nearly every state had adopted May 30th, this made the holiday fixed for many. One problem, however, is May 30th often fell on different days throughout the week, where individuals, particularly those who began to travel for work, found it disruptive. For many, it was an important day to come to specific graves to remember the fallen. Many people began to not only visit graves of fallen soldiers but also their loved ones who died of other causes. In effect, it began to be more of a commemorative day for departed loved ones for many as well as a day to celebrate soldiers who died in conflict. For those who traveled for work or who had moved, it was often difficult to visit the graves of their departed loved ones or fallen soldiers. Other traditions had also caught on during this time, such as placing small US flags on war-related graves. This seems to have caught on by World War II, where active service members would remember fallen soldiers by placing flags. The general public began to follow this practice.<ref>For more on Memorial Day traditions that developed in the 20th century, see: Ditchfield, C. (2003).<i> Memorial Day</i>. New York: Children’s Press.</ref>

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