#MemorialDay May 27


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Each year the blog takes on a different focus. In 2019 the goal is for each post to bring you the reader a lesson, quote, message, or story that can help you grow.

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day.

Memorial Day Image

I find it depressing that not everyone knows the history of this holiday. To many it is a three day weekend to kick off the summer. Don’t get me wrong I have enjoyed many a outdoor barbecue, dip in a pool, and bocce with friends on Memorial Day.

The holiday has a distinct history that we should keep in mind and not solely define it as the unofficial start of summer.

In retirement I have traveled to Gettysburg, Antietam, and Harper’s Ferry. Those visits have reminded me that the Civil War claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history.

That conflict ended in the spring of 1865. In the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

Found a pretty good link that explains the history of Memorial Day

On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed.
The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

That first Decoration Day was held on May 30, 1868 in Arlington National Cemetery.  Some 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

Over the next 20 plus years every Northern state had made May 30 a state holiday. The Southern states honored their dead but on separate days. A uniform date did not come about until after WWI.

Eventually the name Decoration Day gave way to Memorial Day after the end of WWI.

Here are some other facts about Memorial Day.

  • Waterloo NY is recognized by Federal government as birthplace of Memorial Day.
  • Tradition has it that we observe a moment of silence at 3:00 p.m. for all those that have fallen.
  • Almost every city in every US State at the time of the Civil War lost someone in that conflict. It is estimated that 618,000 Americans died in that war.
  • 1970 was the last day Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30th
  • In 1968 Congress passed Uniform Monday Holiday Act which moved the holiday to the last Monday in the month of May beginning in 1971
  • New York, Chicago, and Washington DC have large Memorial Day parades

If you have a chance today pause and remember that many have sacrificed for us in this country.

 

 

 

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