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Calendar for May 28th, 2012

Memorial Day

The custom of honoring ancestors by cleaning cemeteries and decorating graves is an ancient and worldwide tradition, but the specific origin of Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was first known, are unclear. In early rural America, this duty was usually performed in late summer and was an occasion for family reunions and picnics. After the Civil War, America's need for a secular, patriotic ceremony to honor its military dead became prominent, as monuments to fallen soldiers were erected and dedicated, and ceremonies centering on the decoration of soldiers' graves were held in towns and cities throughout the nation. No less than 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, and for many years, states observed the holiday on different dates. By federal law, however, Memorial Day is now celebrated on the last Monday in May. Since it all started with the Civil War, you might want to brush up on your knowledge of this event by visiting the Library of Congress Civil War collection, which includes more than a thousand photographs.


  • Born 1779: Thomas Moore (poet)

  • 1840s

  • Died 1843: Noah Webster (writer)

  • 1870s

  • 1870: First stamp auction in the U.S.

  • 1890s

  • 1892: The Sierra Club, dedicated to the conservation of natural resources, was founded

  • 1900s

  • Born 1908: Ian Fleming (writer)

  • 1910s

  • 1915: Patent application for John B. Gruelle's Raggedy Ann doll filed

  • 1920s

  • 1929: On With the Show, the first all-color talking picture, premiered in New York City

  • 1930s

  • 1937: Golden Gate Bridge opened to vehicles

  • 1940s

  • Born 1944: Rudy Giuliani (politician)

  • Born 1944: Gladys Knight (singer)

  • Born 1945: Hunter "Patch" Adams (doctor)

  • 1960s

  • Born 1964: Christa Miller (actress)

  • 1966: When a Man Loves a Woman by Percy Sledge topped charts

  • Born 1968: Kylie Minogue (singer)

  • 1970s

  • 1971: Mars 3 orbiter and lander was launched

  • Born 1977: Elisabeth Hasselbeck (The View co-host)

  • Born 1979: Jesse Bradford (actor)

  • 1980s

  • 1984: An unidentified soldier killed during the Vietnam War was buried with military honors in the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington, Virginia. (He was later identified via DNA testing, and exhumed.)

  • 1985: The cover of Vanity Fair featured a photo of President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan kissing

  • 1990s

  • Died 1998: Phil Hartman (actor)

  • 2000s

  • Died 2002: Mildred Wirt Benson (original author, under the pen name Carolyn Keene, of the Nancy Drew mystery books)

  • 2004: "Baby Jessica" McClure, who held the attention of the nation when she fell into an abandoned well at 18 months old, graduated from Greenwood High School in Texas

  • 2008: In Germany, several people reported seeing what seemed to be UFOs. A police investigation found that it was a 29-year old man proposing to his girlfriend accompanied by glowing paper lanterns

  • 2010s

  • Died 2014: Maya Angelou (poet)

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