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MEMORIAL DAY: Toast With Red, White & Blue Cocktails

Beyond planning barbecues and celebrating the three-day weekend, many of us have forgotten the meaning of Memorial Day. There are fewer parades of marching veterans, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts; fewer veterans sell paper poppies to raise money for the families of fallen soldiers.

Memorial Day grew from the Civil War: Before the end of the War, Southern woman began honoring their fallen soldiers by decorating their graves with flags and flowers. An official Decoration Day was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of the Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The holiday was celebrated by the Northern states; Southern states did not participate, honoring the Confederate dead on other days.

After World War I, the holiday evolved to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war. It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May, declared by the National Holiday Act of 1971. Passed by Congress to ensure a three-day weekend for Federal holidays, the National Holiday Act also formally changed the name of the celebration to Memorial Day.

Now that you understand the history (and you can find layers of detail online), share it with your guests as you toast those who have fallen in battle.

Serve red, white and blue drinks for
Memorial Day. Photo courtesy Bacardi USA.


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