I have a favor to ask. If you have found yourself saying “Happy Memorial Day”, please don’t. I know you mean well, but it is important to remember why we celebrate this day, a day of recognition and mourning.
“Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.
The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including 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.” ~ https://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp
Think about that meant, the commander of Union forces and his wife presided while both Union and Confederate graves were decorated. It was time of setting differences aside for a great purpose. This should be the lesson we receive from Memorial Day while expressing our gratitude to those who gave all for us, and the families they leave behind. Thank you veterans and your families. ~ Steve
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