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New York State – Birthplace of Memorial Day

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Many gravesites are being decorated and a number of parades and ceremonies will be held this Memorial Day holiday to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  But did you know that the Memorial Day holiday began right here in New York State?

In 1866, a pharmacist in the Village of Waterloo in Seneca County organized a “Decoration Day” to honor New Yorkers who had died during the Civil War.  The graves of fallen soldiers were decorated, patriotic bunting was displayed on buildings, and veterans paraded downtown. 

The idea gained popularity and many other towns and cities held their own Decoration Day.  By 1889, Decoration Day became know as Memorial Day and recognized as a national holiday.

This past week, a special Memorial Day exhibit was unveiled at the New York State Capitol to honor New York’s service men and women who died in war.  You can learn more about our State’s history that led the nation to designate a special Memorial Day by clicking here.

Please be sure to take a moment this Memorial Day to honor the memory of those who gave their lives for our freedom.

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