I was having a discussion with Tamirisc about Memorial Day. I contended that people really did not know the original meaning behind Memorial Day.
I also thought/think that most people see it as the start of summer and bbq season and really do not attend any Memorial Day services.
Also, the question was raised...Why have Veteran's Day then when we honor vets today too?
Well, I am here to give some answers.
- Originally was called Decoration Day
- Who officially started Memorial Day is unknown
- The official proclamation of an actual day was May 5, 1868 with the official dedication on May 30, 1868
- On this day flowers were laid on top of the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers-thus intending for reconcilliation of Northern and Southern states
- New York was the first to recognize it as a holiday in 1890-all other northern states followed suit.
- Southern states refused to recognize the holiday until after WWI when the holiday was changed to recognize all fallen soldiers from all wars
- A few southern states still celebrate their dead on a different day although all state recognize the official holiday
- In 1971, Congress passed the National Holiday Act which gave a three day weekend for Federal holidays
- The idea of poppies being worn (and then later "sold" by VFW's) was enacted by Moina Michael who did so in order to remember the fallen
- She wrote a poem too that inspired the wearing of the poppy
- 1200 soldiers on the Thursday before Memorial Day place small U.S. flags on the more than 260,000 grave stones at Arlington Cemetery, then they patrol the grounds for 24 hours to make sure none of the flags fall. (Here in MO, they Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts place flags at 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks Cemetery
- Although most cities no longer have parades, in 2004 Washington, DC had its first in 60 years
- In 2000 Congress enacted the National Day of Remembrance Bill to help American's to return to the meaning of Memorial Day
Thank you to all of those who gave their lives. I am forever grateful.