It is time for my annual expression of thanks, and admonition.
Please do not wish anyone a “happy Memorial Day”. This is the day we honor the thousands who have given their lives so that we can enjoy our way of life. This is a solemn day, and our dead heroes deserve our reverence and gratitude.
Today, you may criticize the government and not be arrested for it. You may choose where to go and what to do. You may decide to run for office, or move to another town or state. The people who protected your freedom to do all these things, and more, are pictured above. Take a moment to thank to thank them this weekend. ~ Steve
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.
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 Civil War soldiers buried there.
Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.
It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. And some records show that one of the earliest Memorial Day commemorations was organized by a group of formerly enslaved people in Charleston, South Carolina less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
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