The true meaning and understanding of Memorial day begins here.
It was a Tuesday. May 5, 1868. General John A Logan, the commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, Issued General order number 11.
From His headquarters in Washington DC, he commanded that Saturday, May 30th, would be Decoration Day. His order in part:
The 30th day 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 church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
It Was The Beginning Of Memorial Day
It has continued each year, in one form or another, all across the United States.
Some from the south were slow to embrace the order. Eventually, all came to understand it to be an honor deserved by all who gave the ‘last full measure of devotion.’
It was only after World War I, that American’s expanded the honor from the civil war dead, to all United States war casualties.
May 30th remained decoration day for more than ninety years. Following World War I, the name changed slowly to be known as Memorial day.
In 1968 Congress Passed The Uniform Monday Holiday Act.
Memorial Day was moved to the last Monday in May in 1971, when the new law went into effect. The motivation of the Monday Holiday Act, was to create three day weekends for workers.
For many, the tradition remains to be a time to gather with friends and family. The memory and tribute to those who sacrificed for the benefit of the country is displayed with flags.
The original Decoration Day was a covering of grave sites with flowers. The decoration of the final resting place.
Most seniors have first hand knowledge of those who were killed in combat. It is natural that we would. The last seventy years included most of the wars from which we honor the fallen.
The children and grandchildren of today’s seniors are now the patriots willing to sacrifice for the freedom we enjoy in the United States.
Memorial day is a solemn occasion but it needs to be celebrated by enjoying the very freedoms so many have died for.
Celebrate Memorial Day
Spend time with friends and family. Have a picnic, watch a race, attend a ball game or enjoy your recreational event of choice.
As you do, take moment to think of the sacrifices that allow us to relax and enjoy this very special day.
Remember Each of these occasions that the United States rose to defend Her freedoms.
World War I
United States Battle Deaths during the First World War 53,513
World War II
United States Battle Deaths during the Second World War 292,131
United States Battle Deaths during the Korean War 33,651
Viet Nam War
United States Battle Deaths during the Viet Nam War 47,369
Persian Gulf War – Operation Desert Storm
United States Battle Deaths during The Persian Gulf War 148
Iraq – Afghanistan War
Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom
United States Battle Deaths – Operation Iraqi Freedom 4,501
Operation Enduring Freedom 2,381
The Memorial day holiday is so much more than a three day week end. The lives lost to preserve our freedom are deserving of respect.
Honor them by being an American. Enjoy our freedom. Memorial day defines who we are.