Life at Dataminr

Every year as summer nears, Dataminr employees in the U.S. are given a four-day  weekend in recognition of Memorial Day. While many view it as a celebration, let us not forget that Memorial Day was established as a solemn day of remembrance for those who died in service to our country. 

“Memorial Day is a special time to remember those we lost: their names, their faces and the things that made them special, ” said Catalina Graziano, Dataminr Customer Success Manager, U.S. Department of Defense, and co-leader of the Service@Dataminr employee resource group (ERG).

To commemorate Memorial Day, we’re sharing the following six facts that everyone should know to not lose sight of its original purpose and why we honor this occasion. Let’s check your Memorial Day IQ. 

What is the origin of Memorial Day?

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day based on the early tradition of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags. It was established on May 5, 1868 by Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic to honor the fallen soldiers of the Civil War. It was designated to fall on May 30, when flowers are in bloom. 

After World War I, it became an occasion for honoring those who died in all of America’s wars. In 1971, U.S. Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act and established that Memorial Day was to be commemorated on the last Monday of May.

What is the birthplace of Memorial Day?

In 1966, President Johnson proclaimed Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day. But as many as 25 towns also claim to be the birthplace. Most are located in the South, where the majority of the war dead are buried.

I’ll remember my friend and his big smiles and quick jokes, and how much I miss him. And I’ll think of all who have come and gone before and after, even if I don’t know their names, and their loved ones who are pausing for the same reason.

Catalina Graziano, Dataminr Customer Success Manager, U.S. DOD, and co-leader of the Service@Dataminr ERG.

Who was the first to celebrate Memorial Day?

Some records indicate that the first people to celebrate this day were African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina, where the Civil War began. On May 1, 1865, soon after General Lee surrendered his troops, thousands of formerly enslaved African Americans joined the U.S. Army and U.S. Colored Troops to march through the city, ending with a proper burial for Union soldiers.

How is Memorial Day officially observed?

To honor the more than 1.2 million fallen heroes of our country, Memorial Day is commemorated at Arlington National Cemetery each year with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. Traditionally, the sitting president or vice president lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The U.S. flag is raised to half staff from sunrise until noon and then lifted to full staff to signify hope and to honor all our country’s war heroes.

Why is 3pm important on Memorial Day?

In December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act. At 3 p.m. local time, Americans are asked to take a minute of silence in an act of national unity to remember those who have died in military service.

The time 3 p.m. was chosen because it is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.

What are the appropriate greetings to say on this day?

Memorial Day is a solemn, somber occasion. Although it may be tempting to say “Happy Memorial Day,” the holiday isn’t meant to be jubilant. Here are several alternative greetings you can say to pay homage to the true meaning of Memorial Day:

  • I hope your Memorial Day is meaningful. 
  • I wish you an enjoyable weekend where you remember those who are no longer with us.
  • Please join me in remembering the fallen soldiers who are no longer with us this weekend. 
  • I hope you remember the purpose of this holiday and enjoy your time with family and friends.

At Dataminr, it’s even more crucial for us to properly recognize Memorial Day as our employee population has a significant number of former and active members of the military. Many of them have friends and relatives who lost their lives while serving our country. So, wherever you are, I encourage you to pause, reflect and show gratitude for the fallen.

Robin Strup
Vice President,
DEI & Internal Communications
May 23, 2024
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