Origins of Memorial Day and Taps
Time to remember our history
A cherished tradition began in the United States 148 years ago. On May 30, 1868, the first Memorial Day, then known as Decoration Day, was observed.
The day began on May 5, 1868, when John A. Logan, commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued an order setting 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.”
He issued the order “with the hope that it will be kept up for year to year.” The hope of Logan has been realized, for Memorial Day has become an annual observance and a national holiday.
There are two reasons why May 30 was chosen for that special observance: The day was not the anniversary of any particular battle of the Civil War, and it was spring and the optimal date for flowers to be in bloom.
From 1868 until 1882, the observance was known as Decoration Day because graves were decorated with flowers. Then, in 1882, the Grand Army requested that the proper designation of May 30 be Memorial Day.
That request was accepted, Memorial Day was always on May 30 until June 28, 1968, when Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act that moved the observance to the last Monday of May.
While Memorial Day began as a day designated to honor Civil War veterans, it became a day to decorate the graves of all who have served their country. But time has given it a wider dimension.
It has become a special day to pause for a moment and lovingly strew flowers upon the graves of those who have gone before us.
But some will do more than strew flowers upon a grave. Standing by the grave for a moment in total silence with head bowed and wiping tears from their eyes, they will remember a loved one, and Memorial Day will have a vey special meaning.
Appreciate the sacrifices
This solemn day was set aside to pay respect to those in the military who gave their lives so we can live in freedom.
I come from a military family, with relatives who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. I have many friends who did not come back.
I served eight years and it breaks my heart to see Memorial Day used for businesses to make money.
Can we for once observe this holiday for what it was set aside for — to pay respect to those who did not return.
I will be at the Lexington Cemetery on Memorial Day to pay my respects.