I know we are all excited about a three day weekend, and who wouldn’t be right? A chance to go camping, maybe a neighborhood BBQ or a family get together all great things to look forward to and celebrate. (Pro-Tek works great at getting the BBQ stains out of clothes & table cloths. It also amazing at getting the smoke smell out of your camping clothes and bedding.)
Memorial Day, was originally called Decoration Day, it is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America.
Memorial Day was a product of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. General John Logan (national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic) proclaimed on 5 May 1868, in his General Order No. 11. “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, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.”
Gen. Logan’s order for his posts to decorate graves in 1868 “with the choicest flowers of springtime” urged: “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. … Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”
On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.
After World War I, the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war.
It is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971.
So while we all enjoy our three day weekend let’s take a moment to remember the Men & Women who gave their lives that so we would have to freedom to so.