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It probably comes as no surprise that this significant and meaningful holiday started in the South the year following the end of the Civil War. Women throughout the South, apparently starting with those in Columbus, Georgia, chose a spring day to decorate the graves of fallen Confederate soldiers. That Southern holiday was usually called Decoration Day.
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It was only a couple of years later that the practice of honoring the graves of the war dead became a national observance. The idea of a Memorial Day parade began in Ironton, Ohio in 1868. The change from “Decoration Day” to “Memorial Day” was gradual, and only became official after World War II.
And why was May 30 chosen as the date? Not because it commemorated a famous battle…but because that was when the most flowers were said to be in bloom.
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