Image Source: dailycaller.com/2019/memorial-day
THE ORIGINS OF DECORATION DAY
History took the original Decoration Day along a twisting path to get to the official federal holiday we call Memorial Day.
Decoration Day, now called Memorial Day, is not just a holiday and a trip to the beach. This day is a special time set aside to honor the men and women who sacrificed their lives for this country, and to thank them for their contribution to America.
Decoration Day came about as a response to the massive number of lives lost in the Civil War. Considering losses on both sides, an estimated 620,000 died in the conflict.
The tremendous toll taken in human lives affected the country in a way that fostered spontaneous commemorations of the dead.
In 1864, a year before the Civil war ended, women from Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, put flowers on the graves of their fallen soldiers from the just-fought Battle of Gettysburg. The next year, a group of women decorated the graves of soldiers buried in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Two years later, women from Columbus, Mississippi, laid flowers on the grave of both Union and Confederate soldiers. mentalfloss.com/memorial-day
In April 1886, the Ladies Memorial Association of Columbus, Georgia resolved to commemorate the fallen once a year—a decision that seems to have influenced Major General John Logan to follow suit.
Major General John A. Logan, officer of the Federal Army
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org/Logan
By 1868 the event was being celebrated in 27 states. With his proclamation, Logan adopted the "Decoration Day" practice that had begun in the Southern states three years earlier. The northern states quickly adopted the holiday.
However, southerners continued to memorialize the Confederate dead locally on days throughout spring and early summer, often on important dates such as Joseph Johnston’s surrender, Stonewall Jackson’s death, or Jefferson Davis’ birthday.
Who Gets The Credit for Being First?
Even before the end of the Civil War, such days to honor those who died in that war were held, and the phenomenon spread quickly. Many communities claimed they were the first to recognize and hold memorials to honor those who lost their lives serving.
The first large-scale observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns. Notice from Boalsburg – 85th Anniversary
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org/Memorial_Day
May 30, 1868- First official observance of what would
eventually become Memorial Day
Image Source: blog.fold3.com/may-30-1868
After the end of World War I, the Decoration Day/ Memorial Day tradition was expanded to in-clude those killed in all American wars, but Decoration Day was not officially recognized nationwide until the America was deeply embedded in the Vietnam War. President Lyndon B. Johnson
Image Source: nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lijst_van_personen_overleden
This action was followed by House Concurrent Resolution 587, in which the 89th Congress officially recognized that the patriotic tradition of observing Memorial Day had begun one hundred years prior in Waterloo, New York.
In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, although it is still sometimes called Decoration Day. At that time the observation day was officially placed on the last Monday in May. Other adjustments were made to place various federal holidays on Mondays or Fridays.
So, here we are in 2021. Before you head out for your Memorial Day weekend or events, take a minute ‒ a mere sixty seconds ‒ to remember all those soldiers who never made it back to their family and friends, and give thanks for their sacrifices.
These people and many others are the reason we continue to enjoy long weekends in a free country. Honor them.
teamtradingcards.fandom.com/ inquiriesjournal.com/war-of-1812 britannica.com/Spanish-American-War
thoughtco.com/trenches-in-world-war 1 vintag.es/women-world-war-ii rediff.com/north-korea-standoff
commons.wikimedia.org/Sangin2007 strategyinternational.org/war-iraq/ commons.wikimedia.org/468278