By Washington Examiner Staff May 28, 2017 and Tom Hogate, VOM April 29, 2018
Though Memorial day and Veterans day are two separate holidays, both days seem vaguely synonymous and appear to celebrate the same thing: the men and women who serve in the United States Military. However, in reality Memorial Day is much older than Veterans Day and each holiday commemorates different personnel in the United States armed services.
Memorial Day stemmed from a desire to honor the dead after the Civil War, on May 5,1868 General John Logan, commander of the Great Army of the Republic through General Order No. 11 selected May 30 as Decoration Day. General Logan chose that date at the time to honor his fallen comrades precisely because no battles took place on that day.
He made clear that the purpose of the day was to remember those who had died fighting and to decorate “the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land”. After WW1 the holiday was adjusted to honor all Americans who had died fighting in any war, not just the Civil War. In 1971 with congressional approval of the National Holiday Act, it became a federal holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday in May. In December 2000, “A National Moment of Remembrance” was passed.
This addition marked 3:00 p.m. local time as a point to “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”.