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Memorial Day offers millions of Americans the perfect opportunity every year to grill on the beach or in the garden and enjoy the bliss of a three-day weekend. In fact, the holiday always takes place on a Monday, so you can do just that.

In 1968, Congress passed the law on Monday, after which several federal holidays must take place on certain Mondays each year. For example, Presidents Day was postponed to the third Monday in February, while Memorial Day was set to the last Monday in May. TIME reports that Independence Day should also be moved to a Monday, but the date of July 4th was a little too important to be abandoned for consistency. According to Jennifer Mittelstadt, a history professor at Rutgers University, the legislation was passed mainly because the government believed that routine three-day weekends would boost the travel industry for workers across the country.

"Travel organizations have been pushing for three-day weekends like this since the 1

950s, and they have finally got the unions on board and the federal unions on board because there was pretty much agreement that it would be good for business," Mittelstadt told TIME .

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act was put into practice in 1971, and since then we have been celebrating Memorial Day on a Monday.

When is Memorial Day 2020?

This year, Memorial Day is celebrated on Monday, May 25th – the earliest date it can fall on. Next year it will take place at the latest possible date: May 31, 2021.

Why is Memorial Day a public holiday?

By the end of the American Civil War in 1865, every corner of the country had devastating consequences. Losses and tributes to the fallen soldiers appeared in individual communities. On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, who ran a Union Veterans Foundation, stated that the entire nation should come together on May 30 for a memorial day – a date chosen because that day during the war – and decorate the graves of soldiers with flowers and other symbols to honor their patriotic victim. The “Day of Decoration,” as Logan called it, prevailed, and every northern state had made it an official holiday in 1890. According to History.com, the southern states also celebrated the day of the decoration, but the exact date varied by state. [19659002] After the First World War, the day of decoration became more important: Instead of specifically remembering the civil war, people used the holiday as an opportunity to show their respect to fallen soldiers from US conflicts. As reported by TIME the 1967 holiday was officially renamed "Memorial Day" and became the federal holiday with the ratification of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act the following year.

What is the difference between Memorial Day? and veterans day?

Veterans Day also honors citizens who served in the military, but the story behind the holidays is very different from that of Memorial Day. The first Veterans Day was held on November 11, 1919 to commemorate the one year anniversary of the end of the First World War. It was originally called "Armistice Day", but President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially called it "Veterans Day" in 1954 to make it clear that the holiday was supposed to celebrate all veterans, not just those who served in the First World War.

The type of celebration is also slightly different. Since Memorial Day is specifically for soldiers who died fighting for their land, the holiday is more sober than Veterans Day, which celebrates surviving veterans and the dead.

For more information on the fascinating history of Memorial Day, go here.

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