(KTXL) – Memorial Day, a federal holiday commemorating those who died while serving in the military, was celebrated on the same day of the month every year for a century before Congress voted to move it to always fall on a Monday falls.
According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), until the end of the Civil War in 1865, several locations across the country honored fallen soldiers by laying flowers on their graves on various days, often in the spring.
In 1868, Major General John A. Logan, the leader of a group of Union veterans, declared that the group would observe Decoration Day, as it was then known, on May 30 of that year. According to the VA, this date has been adopted by various states and military entities over time.
In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which made Memorial Day a federal holiday, which from 1971 always ended up on the last Monday in May.
The law also created or moved three other federal holidays to Mondays: Washington’s Birthday (often referred to as Presidents Day), Columbus Day, and Veterans Day. Veterans Day was later reset to its originally set date of November 11.
Holidays have been partially postponed to allow rural workers to enjoy long weekends. By signing the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, President Lyndon B. Johnson hoped to encourage Americans to use the time for leisure.
“The law we are signing into law today will help Americans better enjoy the land that is their great heritage. It will also support the work of government and bring new efficiencies to our economy…
This will mean a lot to our families and our children. This allows families living far from each other to spend more time together. Americans will be able to travel farther and see more of our beautiful country. You can take part in a wider range of leisure and cultural activities…
The private employer benefits from similar efficiency gains. The Monday holiday will boost industrial and commercial production and spare businesses and workers the penalty of weekday closures.”
Pres. Johnson, June 28, 1968
Johnson’s vision doesn’t always work out as planned. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics 90% of civilian workers got Memorial Day as a paid holiday in 2018, but the rate was much lower for Washington’s birthday (24%) and Veterans Day (19%).
https://fox2now.com/news/national/why-memorial-day-was-moved-to-always-be-on-monday/ Why Memorial Day was moved to always be on Monday