Memorial Day – Everything You Need To Know About Memorial Day 2020

Memorial Day 2020: – War Day or Memorial Day is a federal commemorative date that takes place in the United States of America on the last Monday of May of each year, with the purpose of remembering the US soldiers who died in combat.

Initially, it was established to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the American Union who participated in the American Civil War. Although after the First World War it was extended to pay homage to all the American soldiers who died in the wars in which that country participated.

Memorial Day is a day to remember the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces, created after the Civil War, to celebrate the Union soldiers and the Confederates who died in the Civil War.

During the 20th century, Memorial Day was extended to honor all Americans who died in the exercise of military service. It usually marks the beginning of the summer holiday season, while Labor Day (the first Monday in September in the US) marks its end.

It begins as a ritual of commemoration and reconciliation after the civil war. Although later, at the beginning of the 20th century, it began to be seen as an occasion to pay homage to the dead in general. So much so that citizens visit the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they served in the army or not.

It has also become a day of family reunion, where people perform various recreational activities such as shopping or spending a day at the beach, and mass events nationwide. Such as the Indianapolis 500, which are held in this date annually since 1911.

Memorial Day
Memorial Day

Officially the place of birth of the Day of the fallen is Waterloo (New York) by a decision of President Lyndon B. Johnson, from May of 1966. The date was proclaimed the 5 of May of 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of Great Army of the country. And it was commemorated for the first time on May 30 of that same year. On that day, flowers are placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers in the Arlington National Cemetery (Virginia).


In 1971 the Congress of the United States approved the National Act of the holidays. It was the moment that it was decided that the Memorial Day would be commemorated on the last Monday of May, with a weekend with three days of mourning. It is common for the president of the United States to give a speech on this date in which the work of soldiers fallen in combat is remembered.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, especially to honor those who died in military service. Numerous volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries. Annual award days for some particular graveyards are held on a Sunday in late spring or early summer in some rural areas in the southern United States, especially in the mountains.

In cases involving a family cemetery where remote ancestors are buried, as well as those who have left most recently. This day may take on the features of a family reunion for which some people travel hundreds of miles. People get together on the appointed day and place flowers on graves and renew contacts with relatives and others.

Often there is a religious celebration and a picnic, the traditional term for an American Party in which people spread the dishes on sheets or towels on the grass. It is believed that this practice began before the Civil War and thus may reflect the true origin of the idea of “Memorial Day.”

Memorial Day shouldn’t be confused with Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day to remember the men and women who died while serving while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all US military veterans. The practice of placing flowers in soldiers’ graves is an ancient custom.

Tombs of American soldiers were decorated before and during the Civil War. It was stated in 1906 that the first grave of a Secession War soldier to be decorated was in Warrenton, Virginia, on June 3, 1861, and this would be the first Memorial Day in history.

The flag

Traditionally, on the day of memory, the United States flag is raised to the top of the flagpole quickly. And then lowered solemnly to the middle of the flagpole, where it remains until noon. This position reminds the more than one million men and women who gave their lives while serving their country.

At noon, the flag is raised again to the top of the mast, and it remains there until the end of the day. The practice of placing flowers in soldiers’ graves is an ancient custom. Tombs of American soldiers were decorated before and during the Civil War. It was stated in 1906 that the first grave of a Secession War soldier to be decorated was in Warrenton, Virginia, on June 3, 1861, and this would be the first Memorial Day in history.

As unfortunately there are no wars where the US has gotten involved, the number of families that have someone to pay homage that day is very large. The cemeteries are filled with American flags and flowers in the colors of the flag.

United States civil war

To understand the memorial day, we need to know about the civil war that took place in the United States. The civil war and the sacrifices that had been given during the civil war are the cause for the origin of the memorial day and it’s a celebration.

Civil War in the United States (War of the North and South) – the civil war of 1861-1865 between the Union of 20 non-slave states and 4 border states of the North, on the one hand. And the Confederation of 11 slave states of the South.

The fighting began with the shelling of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, and ended with the surrender of the remnants of the Southerner army commanded by General Stand Wethe on June 23, 1865. During the war, about 2 thousand small and large battles took place. In this war, the citizens of the United States died more than any other of the wars in which the United States participated.

In the first half of the XIX century, in the USA, the agrarian slaveholding South and the industrial North existed as separate economic regions. Differences in economics, social structure, traditions and political values between the North and the South of that period are known as American sectionalism.

In the North, enterprises of mechanical engineering, metalworking, and light industry were concentrated. Here the main workforce was numerous immigrants from various countries who worked in factories, plants, and other enterprises. There were enough workers in the North, the demographic situation here was stable and the standard of living was relatively high. The situation is different in the South.

As a result of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and the American-Mexican War of 1846-1848, the United States obtained vast territories in the west, where there was a large amount of free land and slavery. On these lands settled planters, who received huge land plots. The land in the south is very fertile, the climate is favorable for farming, therefore the South has become an agrarian region.

Crops such as tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, and rice were grown here. However, the South did not have enough hands. For the most part, immigrants went to the North, so black slaves from Africa were brought in from the beginning of the 17th century to work on plantations. By the beginning of the recession, a quarter of the white population of the South owned slaves.

The North needed raw materials from the South, especially cotton, and the South needed the machines of the North.

Therefore, for a long time, two different economic regions coexisted peacefully. Gradually, however, contradictions grew between them. Among the most acute conflict issues are the following:


1. Taxes on imported goods (the North wanted to make them as high as possible to protect their industry, the South wanted to trade freely with the world).

2. The difference in understanding the further development of the country. As Robert Sett, a supporter of wrote, the state is the only sovereign state to which its citizens are obliged to be faithful.

In the understanding of southerners, freedom is the sovereignty of each state, with its own government and laws (state, with the English state – state, state), united by friendship and common ideals. The central government in the north sought to subordinate state and state laws to its authority.

3. The question of extending slavery to new states: the United States annexed new territories. And discussions arose regarding the constitution of each of the future states, in the first place – there will be a new state free of slave-owning. The coming to power of Lincoln, who announced that henceforth all new states would be free from slavery, meant for the southern states the prospect of remaining in the minority. And in the future losing to Congress on all conflict issues to the North.

4. The disagreement of the South with the policy of settling unoccupied land in the west of the continent by US citizens. The slave owners-southerners sought to expand their possessions at the expense of land in the west and the occupation of their free citizens hindered these plans. So, senators-southerners have repeatedly blocked the adoption of the “act of honesty”, which provides migrants from the east free transfer of land in the property.

The main cause of the Civil War (1861-1865) was the sharpest contradictions between different socio-economic systems that existed in one state — the bourgeois north and the slave-owning south. In 1860, Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States. His victory became a danger signal for the slaveholders of the south and led to secession — the withdrawal of the southern states from the Union.

South Carolina was the first to leave the United States at the end of December 1860, followed by the Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas in January 1861, and Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina in April-May. These 11 states formed the Confederate States of America (Confederation), adopted a constitution and elected the former Mississippi senator Jefferson Davis as their president.

The capital of the Confederation was the city of Richmond (Virginia). The retired states occupied 40% of the entire US territory with a population of 9.1 million people, including over 3.6 million blacks. In the Union left 23 states. The population of the northern states exceeded 22 million people; almost all of the country’s industry was located on its territory, 70% of railways, 81% of bank deposits.

The fighting began on April 12, 1861, with an attack by southerners on Fort Sumter in Charleston Bay, which after a 34-hour shelling was forced to surrender. In response, Lincoln declared the southern states rebellious, proclaimed a naval blockade of their coast, recruited volunteers into the army, and later introduced military service.

The main goal of the northerners in the war was declared to preserve the Union and the integrity of the country. The southerners – to recognize the independence and sovereignty of the Confederation. The strategic plans of the parties were similar: an attack on the capital of the enemy and the dismemberment of its territory.

The fighting of the main forces turned in the direction of Washington-Richmond. The first major battle took place in Virginia at the Manassas railway station on July 21, 1861. Thirty-three thousand confederates led by Pierre Beauregard and Joseph Johnston fought 33 thousand soldiers of the general northerner Irwin McDowell. The troops of the northerners, crossing the Bull Run, attacked them but were forced to begin a retreat, which turned into a flight.

The defeat at Manassas forced the Lincoln government to take vigorous measures to deploy and strengthen parts and formations. Mobilize the economic resources of the North, and build defensive structures. A new strategic plan (“Anaconda Plan”) was developed, which included the creation by the forces of the army. And navy of a ring around the southern states, which was supposed to be gradually compressed until the final suppression of the insurgents.

McDowell replaced General George McClellan, who previously commanded the army of West Virginia. In April 1862, the 100,000-strong army of northerners under the command of General McClellan again attempted to seize Richmond.

But at the approaches to the capital of the southern states met a well-prepared system of engineering fortifications. In the battle of June 26 – July 2 on the river Chickahominy (east of Richmond) with the 80 thousand armies of southerners the northerners were defeated and retreated to Washington.

In September 1862, the commander-in-chief of the rebel army, General Lee, attempted to seize Washington, but could not achieve victory and was forced to withdraw. The attempt of the northerners to go on to a new attack on Richmond was also unsuccessful.

In the west and south in the Mississippi Valley, hostilities were private. The troops of the Northerners under the command of General Ulysses Grant occupied Memphis, Corinth and New Orleans.

Under the influence of failures on the front, threats to Washington and the demands of the population of the northern states. The Congress in 1862 implemented a series of measures to change the methods of warfare. At the same time, a law was passed on confiscating the property of the rebels.

The Law on Homesteads (Land Plots), adopted on May 20, 1862, gave the right to a US citizen who did not fight on the South’s side to receive a plot of land. As well as the Lincoln Proclamation of September 22, 1862, on release from January 1, 1863, were particularly important. Black slaves in rebel states (in the northern states, slavery was prohibited by law). Negros were freed without but without land. They could serve in the army and navy.

The second stage of the war (1863-1865) was characterized by important changes in the political life of the country, in the strategy and tactics of the federal army. March 3, 1863, for the first time in the history of the United States, was introduced military duty.

In the northern states, the army was replenished with new formations, about 190 thousand blacks entered it (72% of them came from the southern states), 250 thousand blacks served in rear units. The beginning of May 1863 was marked by the battle of Chancellorsville, during which the 130,000th army of northerners was defeated by the 60,000th army of General Lee.


The losses of the parties were: among the northerners 17,275, and among the southerners, 12,821 people were killed and wounded. Northerners retreated again, and Lee, bypassing Washington from the north, entered Pennsylvania.

In this situation, the outcome of the three-day battle for the Gettysburg in early July has gained tremendous importance. As a result of the bloody battles, Lee’s troops were forced to retreat to Virginia, to clear the territory of the Union. On the western theater, Grant’s army, after a multi-day siege and two unsuccessful attacks, took possession of the Vicksburg fortress on July 4, 1863.

On July 8, General Nathaniel Banks’s soldiers took Port Hudson in Louisiana. Thus, control was established over the Mississippi River valley, and the Confederation was divided into two parts. The year ended with a convincing victory at Chattanooga, which was the gateway to the East.

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In the early spring of 1864, under the general leadership of Ulysses Grant, appointed in March by the commander-in-chief of the northerners. A new strategic plan was developed, providing for three main attacks: the 122-thousandth Meta Army of Potomac, attacking from the north to the south was to defeat the main forces of the Li and master Richmond.

General William Sherman’s 100,000 armies had the task of advancing from west to east, bypassing the south of the Alleghenies, mastering the main economic regions of the southerners in Georgia, reaching the Atlantic Ocean. And then striking the main forces of General Joseph Johnston’s army; Butler’s 36-thousand army was to attack Richmond from the east.

The offensive of the federal troops began in early May 1864. General Sherman’s “march to the sea” from the city of Chattanooga (Tennessee) through Atlanta was of great importance. Overcoming the resistance of the southerners, the troops of Sherman on September 2 occupied Atlanta.

On December 21 they captured the city of Savannah and reached the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Then Sherman led his troops to the north, occupied the city of Colombia (February 18, 1865) and went to the rear of the main forces of Lee’s army, whose position became hopeless.

In the spring of 1865, federal troops commanded by Grant resumed their offensive and on April 3 occupied Richmond. The troops of the southerners moved away, but were overtaken by Grant and surrounded. On April 9, Lee’s army capitulated near Appomattox.

The remaining troops of the Southerners ceased resistance by June 2, 1865. Shortly after the victory, April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was mortally wounded by an agent of the Confederates and died the next day.

The civil war remained the bloodiest in US history. Losses of northerners amounted to almost 360 thousand people killed and died from wounds and more than 275 thousand wounded. The Confederates lost 258 thousand killed and about 100 thousand wounded. Only US military spending reached $ 3 billion.

In the United States, during the civil war, for the first time in American history, a mass regular army of the modern type was created. The experience and military traditions acquired in 1861-865 were used during the formation of the American army half a century later, during the First World War.

As a result of the Civil War, at the cost of great losses, the unity of the USA was preserved and slavery was eliminated. The prevention of slavery was enshrined in the 13th amendment to the US Constitution, which entered into force on December 18, 1865.

Conditions were created in the country for the accelerated development of industrial and agricultural production. The development of western lands, and the strengthening of the domestic market.

The war didn’t solve all the problems facing the country. Some of them found the solution during the Reconstruction of the South, which lasted till 1877. Others, including the provision of equal rights to whites and non-white people, remained unresolved for decades.

The answers to your questions about the Civil War (Memorial Day)

1. When was the civil war in the United States?

The war began when the Confederates bombed Union soldiers in Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861. The war ended in the spring of 1865. Robert E. Lee surrendered at the last major army of the Confederacy to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. The final battle was fought at Palmito Ranch, Texas on May 13, 1865.

2. Where was the Civil War fought?

The Civil War was fought in thousands of different places, from southern Pennsylvania to Texas; from New Mexico to the coast of Florida. The majority of the fight was in the states of Virginia and Tennessee. Also, the Civil War was fought in the Atlantic Ocean as far as the coast of France, the Gulf of Mexico, and the pristine waters of the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

3. How many soldiers did fight in the Civil War?

At the beginning of the war, the northern states had a population of 22 million. The southern states had a population of 9 million. This disparity of populations was reflected in the sizes of the armies. The soldiers of the Union were twice as many as the Confederates.

4. How many soldiers did die in the Civil War?

Approximately 620,000 soldiers died from combat, accidents, famines, and diseases during the Civil War. This number originates from an investigation into the deaths of the war in 1889 by two men, William F. Fox and Thomas Leonard Livermore. The two fought for the Union. His estimate was derived from an investigation into the record of battles and casualties in the five years of fighting. A more modern investigation says that the number is as high as 850,000.

5. How many soldiers died in the Civil War compared to other American wars?

Approximately 1,264,000 American soldiers had died in the wars of the United States-620,000 in the Civil War and 644,000 in the other wars. In recent years during the Vietnam War, the death toll in foreign wars has passed the number of those killed in the Civil War.

6. Who won the Civil War?

The armies of the north were victorious, and the rebel states returned to the United States.

7. Who participated in the election of 1860?

The election of 1860 was one of the strangest elections in the history of the United States. The division in the Democratic Party started a race with four candidates. Most of the southern states did not have Abraham Lincoln “in the voting. But, in the electoral college Lincoln unanimously won in the free states. John C. Breckenridge won in the slave states with the exception of the states of Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky where John Bell won the votes. Although Stephen A. Douglas won much of the popular vote, he only won the electoral votes of the states of Missouri and New Jersey.

8. When were the Southern states separated from the United States?

South Carolina- December 20, 1860
Mississippi- January 9, 1861
Florida- January 10, 1861
Alabama- January 11, 1861
Georgia- January 19, 1861
Louisiana- January 26, 1861
Texas- February 1, 1861
Virginia- April 17, 1861
Arkansas- May 6, 1861
North Carolina- May 20, 1861
Tennessee- June 8, 1861

9. Was Legal Sedition?

No, but it was not declared illegal until after the war. This was a complex question with educated men arguing the two aspects. But the Supreme Court of the United States determined that the sedition was unconstitutional in Texas v. White of the year 1868. The president of the Supreme Court, Salmon Chase, wrote in his majority opinion that,” The ordinance of secession and all the actions of the legislature that wanted to give power to this ordinance are absolutely null. They emerged without the operation of the law. “

10. What was the cause of the Civil War?

Still many debates about the cause of the Civil War. Pulitzer Prize winner James McPherson wrote the Civil War began on the differences between free states and slave states over the power of the national government to ban slavery in territories that were not stated.

When Abraham Lincoln won the election of 1860 as the first Republican president of a platform promising to exclude slavery from the territories. Seven states in the south separated from the United States and formed a new nation, The Confederate States of America.

The administration of Lincoln and most of the people of the north refused to recognize the legitimacy of the sedition. They feared that the sedition would be a discredit to democracy and would create a precedent that would break the United States into several small countries.

11. What is low?

The casualties and the deaths of a battle are not interchangeable words. In reality, a casualty is, a military person who will not participate in the next battle because he died, was wounded, had an illness, was in detention or died in action.

Fundamentally a casualty is a soldier who went to war and could not return to his army to fight in the next battle. Many soldiers, especially in the Confederate armies were several times low. Many were in internments many times, others were wounded in several battles during the war.

12. What happened to the dead?

Typically, the soldiers were buried where they died. Others were buried near the hospitals where they died. In most of the battlefields, the dead were exhumed and relocated to National or Confederate cemeteries. But because the battles had thousands of bodies and due to the time and effort necessary to unearth the bodies. There are thousands or tens of thousands of soldiers of the Civil War in unknown tombs.

13. What happened to the prisoners?

More than 400,000 soldiers were captured during the Civil War. In the first years of the conflict equal numbers of prisoners were exchanged, helping to keep the total number of prisoners low. However, in the next years of the war, this practice disappeared. At the end of the war, the situation of the prisoners had become bleak.

Thousands of prisoners died in the frozen camp in Elmira, New York, and in the camp in Andersonville, Georgia, which took the Norteno prisoners. This prison has become one of the most infamous in the history of wars. Almost the same number of soldiers died in captivity during the Civil War as those who died when they fought in the Vietnam War.

14. How advanced was medicine during the Civil War?

Two-thirds of those who die during the war died of diseases. The germ theory had not been accepted in the medical world during the Civil War and modern antiseptics, which could reduce the transmission of bacteria and the outbreak of diseases would not have existed.

George Worthington Adams famously wrote, “The Civil War was fought during the last years of the median medical age.” Chloroform, ether, and whiskey were the main drugs. However, many soldiers survived their injuries. They only counted on the dedicated work of the doctors and nurses. Medicine is a science that evolves. Unfortunately for those who fought in the Civil War, the technology of the military arts had surpassed the technology of medical care.

15. How was the organization of the armies?

The largest military unit is the army, which is subdivided into smaller components. Although the organization of armies is varied, the largest subdivision of an army is the body. Typically the body is divided into two or more divisions, each having two or more and each brigade composed of two or more regiments. Each regiment has ten companies of 100 soldiers (typically about 30 soldiers). Finally, the companies are subdivided into platoons. Sometimes armies are grouped into “departments” that are defined by geography and operational objective.

16. How much money did the soldiers earn?

A Union soldier and a white man earned thirteen dollars each month. His black counterpart earned seven until the Congress rectified the discrepancy in 1864. A Confederate satchel typically made seven dollars a month, but often he did not receive the payment for long.

17. What part of the military effort did African Americans have?

With the Proclamation of Emancipation in September 1862, free African-Americans and fugitive slaves-began by offering themselves for the Union cause in substantial numbers. Beginning in October, approximately 180,000 African-Americans, forming 163 units, served in the Northern Army and 18,000 in the Northern Navy. In the same month, color volunteers at 1st Kansas reject a Confederate attack on Island Mound, Missouri. Soldiers of the U.S.C.T.(Colored troops of the United States) distinguished themselves in the battlefields in the east and west- Port Hudson, Louisiana. Honey Springs, Oklahoma; Fort Wagner, South Carolina; New Market Heights, Virginia. African Americans constituted ten percent of the entire Union army at the end of the war and nearly 40,000 died during the conflict.

18. What did the soldiers do in their free time?

When they were not exercising, which took a considerable portion of their time in the field. The soldiers spent their time writing letters, playing games such as checkers, dominoes and poker, drinking, smoking, carving, making music and praying. One soldier wrote to his wife, Being a soldier was ninety-nine percent boredom and one percent pure terror.

19. What did the soldiers eat?

The food of a soldier of the Civil War varied substantially among the armies during the war. Most of the time no army ate well. Cookies and coffee were the common food served with salted pork, corn flour, and some fruits, vegetables that the soldiers collected on the marches. Many of the Confederate soldiers were left in a state of starvation when the war ended.

20. How old was the average soldier?

The average soldier in the Union was 25.8 years old. There is no definitive information on the average age of a Confederate soldier, but at the end of the war, the old and young people who were usually left in their homes were pressured into the service of their country. The average soldier of the two aspects was a white, born native, Protestant farmer.

21. Did someone win the Medal of Honor during the Civil War?

Yes. Soldiers Northern, Black, and White received 1522 Medals of Honor during the war. The Confederate army did not give combat medals. Robert E. Lee explained that the most respected honor for a Confederate soldier was when his name was mentioned in his officer’s offices. In other words, to be included in his officer’s report after gallant actions. John Singleton Mosby the Gray Ghost was mentioned more than any other Confederate soldier.