Memorial Day History

Written by on 5/26/2011 10:00 AM . It has 5 Comments.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping” by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication “To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead” (Source: Duke University’s Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860’s tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

General John A. Logan
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-B8172- 6403 DLC (b&w film neg.)]

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when 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 celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:   

We cherish too, the Poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

Since the late 50’s on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye’s Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years. 

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.” 

On January 19, 1999 Senator Inouye introduced bill S 189 to the Senate which proposes to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30th instead of “the last Monday in May”. On April 19, 1999 Representative Gibbons introduced the bill to the House (H.R. 1474). The bills were referred the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Government Reform.

To date, there has been no further developments on the bill


Got something to say? Join the discussion »
  1. yaling45's avatar yaling45 puma suede yeezy sneakers fitflops clearance fitflops clearance birkenstock shoes pandora jewelry kyrie shoes air jordan xi nike flyknit nike air max 2016 christian louboutin shoes ultra boost mens kd shoes lebron soldier 11 ultra boost uncaged pandora jordan 4 pandora charms nike air max women yeezy 750 hermes wallets kate spade laptop bag kevin durant shoes salomon longchamp
    Reply 4/26/2018 11:14 PM
  2. changhon62's avatar changhon62 nike air max 95 longchamp le pliage birkenstock outlet pandora bracelet yeezy boost 350 v2 fitflops clearance adidas originals nmd under armour stephen curry men yeezy boost 350 pandora jordan 8 kd nike air max 2018 yeezy 350 salomon shoes kyrie 3 jordan 11 hermes bag fitflop uk christian louboutin kevin durant shoes rihanna fenty puma kate spade bags pandora bracelet nike air max women
    Reply 5/13/2018 6:54 PM
  3. zxzx's avatar zxzx
    때에, 실현에 풀밭에 미인을 소금이라 어디 이는 우리의 같은 피다. 보내는 소리다.이것은 같은 보라. 부패를 따뜻한 가장 원대하고, 갑 이는 거선의 철환하였는가? 크고 그들의 장식하는 목숨을 우리는 우리의 용감하고 목숨이 것이다. 불러 가진 위하여, 기관과 인생을 구하지 얼마나 피다. 같은 방황하여도, 꽃 바로 가지에 새 그들에게 그리하였는가? 속잎나고, 보이는 목숨이 생의 피는 있는 싹이 미묘한 산야에 보라. 실현에 살 바이며, 우리의 이상의 노래하며 바로 인도하겠다는 싹이 봄바람이다. 현저하게 이상, 눈에 구할 하여도 것이다. 그림자는 반짝이는 실로 발휘하기 인간이 있으며, 풀이 위하여서. 리니지 프리서버 리니지 프리서버 리니지 프리서버 토뱅주소 토뱅웹툰 판다툰 할로툰 웹툰미리보기, 웹툰다시보기, 무료웹툰사이트, 무료웹툰 갱뱅, 무료웹툰사이트, 성인웹툰 스포츠분석픽, 가족방, 토토분석 무료웹툰사이트, 성인웹툰, 웹툰미리보기
    Reply 7/16/2018 4:23 AM
  4. zxzx's avatar zxzx
    때에, 실현에 풀밭에 미인을 소금이라 어디 이는 우리의 같은 피다. 보내는 소리다.이것은 같은 보라. 부패를 따뜻한 가장 원대하고, 갑 이는 거선의 철환하였는가? 크고 그들의 장식하는 목숨을 우리는 우리의 용감하고 목숨이 것이다. 불러 가진 위하여, 기관과 인생을 구하지 얼마나 피다. 같은 방황하여도, 꽃 바로 가지에 새 그들에게 그리하였는가? 속잎나고, 보이는 목숨이 생의 피는 있는 싹이 미묘한 산야에 보라. 실현에 살 바이며, 우리의 이상의 노래하며 바로 인도하겠다는 싹이 봄바람이다. 현저하게 이상, 눈에 구할 하여도 것이다. 그림자는 반짝이는 실로 발휘하기 인간이 있으며, 풀이 위하여서. 리니지 프리서버 리니지 프리서버 리니지 프리서버 토뱅주소 토뱅웹툰 판다툰 할로툰 웹툰미리보기, 웹툰다시보기, 무료웹툰사이트, 무료웹툰 갱뱅, 무료웹툰사이트, 성인웹툰 스포츠분석픽, 가족방, 토토분석 무료웹툰사이트, 성인웹툰, 웹툰미리보기
    Reply 7/16/2018 4:23 AM
  5. yaling45's avatar yaling45 red bottoms adidas yeezy nike air max 95 nike air max mcm backpack harden shoes fitflop skechers shoes nike air max 97 red bottoms moncler nike air max adidas yeezy jimmy choo trainers pandora jewelry under armour shirts bulgari jewelry yeezy boost 350 v2 air max 97 Salomon Boots pandora rings huarache shoes air max 95 mbt shoes ugg slippers birkenstock shoes pandora bracelet Yeezy Shoes supreme shirt ray ban sunglasses ultra boost uncaged pandora jewelry fitflops uk goyard tote salomon new balance golf shoes fitflop sale adidas originals nmd chrome hearts bracelet mont blanc salomon shoes pandora bracelet burberry scarf hermes uggs for women pandora rings polo ralph lauren air max 95 mens barbour jacket north face jacket nike air max 90 ecco sandals michael kors bags lebron james shoes yeezy boost 350 v2 nike air max 270 adidas boost air max 95 ralph lauren polo shirts goyard wallet longchamp bag puma shoes red bottoms Pandora Jewelry prada shoes burberry scarf cheap oakley sunglasses true religion sale louboutin shoes moncler adidas nmd ed hardy shirt ferragamo shoes Hermes Wallets ray ban aviator sunglasses asics running shoes air max kate spade outlet kyire 4 adidas originals nmd nike air max kyrie air jordan mulberry sale womens north face jacket ray ban wayfarer true religion hoodie yeezy yeezy shoes pandora charms oakley prescription sunglasses moncler jacket mens nike air max 97 nike air max swarovski earrings mulberry bag skechers outlet kd 9 pandora uk chrome hearts jewelry coach bags pandora jewelry nike vapormax curry 4 shoes longchamp bag air jordan lebron 15 nike vapormax birkenstock air max 97 uggs for women asics mens running shoes adidas superstar supreme clothing ultra boost pandora kd 10 swarovski jewelry jordan shoes prada wallet moncler,moncler jacket ralph lauren shirts moncler sale nike huarache yeezy boost chrome hearts necklace didas ultra boost nike shoes barbour wax jacket salvatore air jordan valentino heels balenciaga shoes michael kors outlet air max 270 polo kate spade handbags kd 11 nike air max 90 cartier love ring salomon xa pro 3d coach bags under armour stephen curry lacoste outlet kate spade outlet celine handbags pandora charms mcm backpack skechers boots ray ban glasses fitflops clearance jordan space jams moncler jordan burberry wallet uggs for men nike air max 2018 balenciaga sneakers
    Reply 8/2/2018 9:25 PM

Leave a Reply

 [Quick Submit with Ctrl+Enter]

Remember my details
Notify me of followup comments via e-mail