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In 2020 some Coach4aday posts will feature lessons learned by completing, planning, and experiencing 30 day challenges. The challenges include physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional.
Today is MEMORIAL Day. It will be the most unique one I have ever experienced.
I find today depressing for two reasons:
- Not everyone knows the history of this holiday. To many people before the pandemic MEMORIAL Day was 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.
- That is not happening today
When I look at the pictures below I realize just how much I miss the sense of community my family and friends provide me every MEMORIAL Day.
Today’s MEMORIAL Day has a distinct history that we should keep in mind and not solely define it as the unofficial start of summer.
In my first few months of retirement IN 2018 I traveled to Gettysburg, Antietam, and Harper’s Ferry. Those visits 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-that is a something that is lost on many Americans.
In 1968 Congress passed Uniform Monday Holiday Act which moved the holiday to the last Monday in the month of May beginning in 1971.
I realize all of us feel like COVID 19 is forcing us to sacrifice. Yet if we truly reflect on what MEMORIAL Day means are sacrifice is not quite the same as many who went before us.