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Memorial Day

The Holiday

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, began during the American Civil War when citizens placed flowers on the graves of those who had been killed in battle. John A. Logan, a politician and former general, was instrumental in turning it into a national holiday celebrated every May 30. After World War I, it came to be observed in honor of those who had died in all U.S. wars, and its name changed to Memorial Day. In 1971 it began to be observed on the last Monday in May.

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New on Britannica

Return to Normalcy

The desire to return to normal after difficult times isn’t new to the U.S. In the 1920 U.S. presidential election, Warren G. Harding used it as his central campaign slogan. It was offered as an antidote for weary Americans in the aftermath of World War I and the deadly influenza pandemic of 1918–19. And the idea resonated with voters, who elected Harding president.

Britannica presents a new audio series that will introduce you to some of the world’s most remarkable plants, fungi, and algae. These organisms have fascinating evolutionary stories to tell about survival, exploitation, and adaptation. From parasitic plants to kelp forests, Botanize! showcases some of Earth’s finest nonanimal life-forms and their brilliant ecologies.

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