Why A Memorial Day: A Short History
Yes, it waves still. May it wave always.
What is Memorial Day to you?
I must say my knowledge of the background and character of Memorial Day had become almost limited to “Remembering our dead”, in short our ancestors (something the Asians and Mormons seem most famous for doing these days.)
I did, however, grow up when artificial red poppies were sold to raise money for our veterans, and for them to wear on Memorial Days (along with the rest of us who marked the day)…a tradition we might well actively resume for now and the future to better support today's veterans!
In America our Memorial Day is a federal holiday celebrated on the last Monday of May, but it wasn’t always so.
It became an official national (federal) holiday only in 1971. It was first observed in the town of Waterloo, New York in 1866 when the locals flew the American flag at half mast, decorated the graves of their town’s dead from the Civil War, and closed all their businesses for the day. [Nowadays businesses seldom close on any day, and instead feature "Memorial Day Sales" tied to the date on the calendar, but having little or nothing to do with any memorial!]
It was not until two years later that Union Civil War veterans celebrated the day throughout most of the northern states on May 30, 1868 under the auspices of their veterans’ organization called The Grand Army of the Republic.
To honor the veterans and the fallen soldiers of the Confederacy, southern states have held their own memorial services on dates established by most of the states of the former Confederate States of America, with dates ranging from April in Mississippi, to January‘s Confederate Heroes Day in Texas.
On past Memorial Days military services have been held at the Gettysburg National Military Park and at the Arlington National Cemetery.
Special services for our war dead who died at sea were often held at U. S. ports where wreaths, flowers, and even small boats of flowers were dedicated and set adrift following military memorial services.
Memorial Days, wherever they are held, have always honored those who not only died, but veterans who served their states and country in all of America’s major conflicts and military engagements.
Special military services are also held periodically at military cemeteries worldwide where Americans are buried and not forgotten.
More recently, many Americans have chosen Memorial Day to remember their own family members, regardless of whether or not they served in the military, by also visiting and decorating their graves...lest we forget.
© 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.
Memorial Day this year....
Will you be participating in any activity to honor Memorial Day this year?See results without voting
Some facts to appreciate about the American Flag.
- Flag of the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Here is a wonderful wikipedia article on the American flag, its history, and other information you will always appreciate. Please consider a donation to wikipedia.
Check out some past Memorial Day pictures.
5/27/11: Memorial Days Past from VAnguard Magazine
What happens at 3:00 PM on Memorial Day?
Do you know what the National Moment of Remembrance is?See results without voting
A part of PTSD we here at home contribute to.
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