Sunday, May 29, 2016
Once called Decoration Day
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966.
Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. On 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, declared “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.” The date does not commemorate a particular battle’s anniversary.
The first Decoration Day honored the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers.
Red Poppies became a symbol of Memorial Day when Moina Michael, inspired by the poem, “In Flanders Fields” wrote:
We cherish too, the Poppy red that grows of fields where valor led. It seems to signal to the skies that blood of heroes never dies.
National Moment of Remembrance
A resolution of Congress asks Americans at 3:00 p.m. local time 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 listen to Taps.