The first time I heard about Memorial Day was when I was watching Married with Children (a soap) and I realized it’s something I knew very little about. I asked around and found these few facts about Memorial Day and why it’s so important we never forget our fallen American Heroes.
I like millions of Americans was saddened by the VP of the free country of the world & not even mentioning the fallen soldiers & veterans who have kept this country safe.
Vice President Kamala Harris drew heat online Saturday for telling Americans to “enjoy the long weekend” — which ends with a national day of mourning.
Enjoy the long weekend.???????
The reason I am appalled is because like Kamala Harris I am an immigrant from India who is blessed to be in greatest nation on earth. I am also a Christian who loves being in a Christian country (though under attack at the moment).
I appreciate this beautiful USA and realize its possible for these privileged politicians & rich people like Bloomberg to ‘enjoy a great weekend is because a soldier is guarding their freedom. That soldier has a family. That soldier bleeds. That soldier actually sacrifices a part of his life to keep the FREEDOMS safe.
People in all spheres of life should always always be grateful to these soldiers, these veterans who allow them to have privileged lives with freezes of ice cream AKA Nancy Pelosi. So, THANK You all soldiers wherever you might be.
The fact that President Trump always held veterans in high regard and treated them with respect that alone made him the greatest President ever.
Memorial Day is much more than just a three-day weekend and a chance to get the year’s first sunburn. It’s a time to remember the men and women who sacrificed their lives for their county. Here are some facts to give the holiday some perspective.
MEMORIAL DAY BEGAN AS A RESPONSE TO THE CIVIL WAR.
Memorial Day was a response to the unprecedented carnage of the Civil War, in which a total of some 620,000 soldiers died between both sides. The loss of life and its effect on communities throughout the country led to several spontaneous commemorations of the dead:
In April 1866, women from Columbus, Mississippi, laid flowers on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers. In the same month, in Carbondale, Illinois, 219 Civil War veterans marched through town. They did so in memory of the fallen, and marched to Woodlawn Cemetery, where Union hero Major General John A. Logan delivered the principal address.
The ceremony gave Carbondale its claim to the first organized, community-wide Memorial Day observance.
Waterloo, New York began holding an annual community service on May 5, 1866. Although many towns claimed the title, it was Waterloo that won congressional recognition as the “Birthplace of Memorial Day.”
ho Made the Memorial Day Official?
MAJOR GENERAL JOHN A. LOGAN made the day official
General Logan, the speaker at the Carbondale gathering, also was commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans. On May 5, 1868, he issued General Orders No. 11, which set aside May 30, 1868 “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.”
The orders expressed hope that the observance would be “kept up from year to year while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades.
MEMORIAL DAY WAS ORIGINALLY KNOWN AS DECORATION DAY.
The holiday was long known as Decoration Day for the practice of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths, and flags. The name Memorial Day goes back to 1882, but the older name didn’t disappear until after World War II. It wasn’t until 1967 that federal law declared “Memorial Day” the official name.
MEMORIAL DAY IS MORE OF A FRANCHISE THAN A NATIONAL HOLIDAY.
Calling Memorial Day a “national holiday” is a bit of a misnomer. While there are 10 federal holidays created by Congress—including Memorial Day—they apply only to federal employees and the District of Columbia. Federal Memorial Day, established in 1888, allowed Civil War veterans, many of whom were drawing a government paycheck, to honor their fallen comrades without being docked a day’s pay.
For the rest of us, our holidays were enacted state by state. New York was the first state to designate Memorial Day a legal holiday, in 1873. Most northern states had followed suit by the 1890s. The states of the former Confederacy were unenthusiastic about a holiday memorializing those who, in General Logan’s words, “united to suppress the late rebellion.” The South didn’t adopt the May 30 Memorial Day until after World War I, by which time its purpose had been broadened to include those who died in all the country’s wars.
In 1971, the Monday Holiday Law shifted Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday in May.
IN 1868, FUTURE PRESIDENT JAMES GARFIELD DELIVERED A VERY, VERY LONG SPEECH ON THE IMPORTANCE OF MEMORIAL DAY.
On May 30, 1868, President Ulysses S. Grant presided over the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery—which, until 1864, was Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s plantation.
Some 5000 people attended on a spring day which, The New York Times reported, was “somewhat too warm for comfort.”The principal speaker was James A. Garfield, a Civil War general, Republican congressman from Ohio and future president.
As the songs, speeches and sermons ended, the participants helped to decorate the graves of the Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery.
THE FIRST UNKNOWN SOLDIER IS NO LONGER UNKNOWN.
“Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.” That is the inscription on the Tomb of the Unknowns, established at Arlington National Cemetery to inter the remains of the first Unknown Soldier, a World War I fighter, on November 11, 1921. Unknown soldiers from World War II and the Korean War subsequently were interred in the tomb on Memorial Day 1958.
An emotional President Ronald Reagan presided over the interment of six bones, the remains of an unidentified Vietnam War soldier, on November 28, 1984.
THE VIETNAM VETERANS’ RIGHTS GROUP ROLLING THUNDER WILL MAKE THEIR FINAL RIDE INTO D.C. IN 2019.
Rolling Thunder members and motorcyclists wait for the ‘Blessing of the Bikes’ to start at the Washington National Cathedral, May 26, 2017 in Washington, DC.
On Memorial Day weekend in 1988, 2500 motorcyclists rode into Washington, D.C. for the first Rolling Thunder rally to draw attention to Vietnam War soldiers still missing in action or prisoners of war. By 2002, the ride had swelled to 300,000 bikers, many of them veterans. There may have been a half-million participants in 2005, in what organizers bluntly call “a demonstration—not a parade.”
A national veterans rights group, Rolling Thunder takes its name from the B-52 carpet-bombing runs during the war in Vietnam. But 2019 will mark the group’s final ride, due to the logistics and expense of staging the event. “It’s just a lot of money,” Rolling Thunder co-founder and former Army Sergeant Artie Muller told Military.com.
MEMORIAL DAY HAS ITS OWN SET OF CUSTOMS.
General Orders No. 11 stated that “in this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed,” but over time several customs and symbols became associated with the holiday: It is customary on Memorial Day to fly the flag at half staff until noon, and then raise it to the top of the staff until sunset.
Taps, the 24-note bugle call, is played at all military funerals and memorial services. It originated in 1862 when Union General Dan Butterfield “grew tired of the ‘lights out’ call sounded at the end of each day,” according to The Washington Post. Together with the brigade bugler, Butterfield made some changes to the tune.
SOME STATES STILL CELEBRATE A CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL DAY.
Several Southern states continue to set aside a day for honoring the Confederate dead, which is usually called Confederate Memorial Day. It’s on the fourth Monday in April in Alabama, April 26 in Georgia, June 3 in Louisiana and Tennessee, the last Monday in April in Mississippi, May 10 in North and South Carolina, January 19 in Texas, and the last Monday in May in Virginia.
- EACH MEMORIAL DAY IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT.
In 2000, Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance, which asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3 p.m. in an act of national unity. The time was chosen because 3 p.m. “is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.Memorial Day And Why it's So Important We Never Forget Our Fallen American Heroes Click To Tweet
For us we say a prayer or two remembering the fallen soldiers. The young & old Americans who have sacrificed their youth and life so that we can live comfortably in our houses. America is truly the land of the free and the home of the brave!.
Do you have a tradition you share with your family on Memorial Day?
We will love to hear about it.
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Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say fantastic blog!
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