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Monday, May 27, 2019

Moment In History

On May 5, 1868 General John A. Logan gave an order that all should take note of.

  • "The 30th of May, 1868 is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the grass of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land...."

On the last Monday of May a great memorial for all those that have passed are honored. The day was originally set aside to honor the Northern Civil War soldiers that died. Since the beginning the day has been adapted to include fallen soldiers of any war.

Waterloo New York hosted the first Memorial day on May 5, 1866. Henry Welles a pharmacist in Waterloo New York spoke to veteran's organizations regarding graves of the dead being decorated. Decoration day would also see flags flying at half - mast, a parade that led to the local military cemetery and patriotic speeches. Another early celebration was led by Sue Landon Vaughan from Jackson Mississippi.

Sue Landon Vaughan, niece of President John Adams, desired to have the Confederate graves decorated on April 26, 1865. One year later four women from Columbus Mississippi decorated the graves of their fallen soldiers in Friendship Cemetery.

The individual to originate Memorial day in not known as many were involved around the United States making sure fallen soldiers were remembered.

May 30th 1868 saw the first nationwide Memorial Day Parade. A group of Civil War Union Army Vets led the parade. The date being so near the date that the south had surrendered the civil war offended the southern states. In 1891 Florida defined a new date that coincided with Confederate President Jefferson Davis. June 3rd as the Confederate Memorial Day However, this led to other states choosing their own date for Memorial day.

It was not until the end of WWI that the American Legion took over the task of creating a uniform Memorial Day The day would honor American service people both men and women from ALL wars or conflicts. There is only one state, Alabama,  that does not observe the stated day of Memorial Day. Alabama chose to celebrate the 4th Monday in April rather than the last Monday in May as their day to honor those who have served. Perhaps the day consistently remains a bit different in celebration but all have realized those that have served should be remembered.

Religious services and patriotic parades are all planned for the Memorial day. The tomb of the Unknown soldier at Arlington Cemetery has a wreath placed by it on this day as well. At the Gettysburg Pennsylvania cemetery school children will place flowers over the graves of the unknown civil war soldiers.   In addition, an organization known as "hands Across America" raises money for the homeless and chose Memorial day to create a band of hands that would reach across the entire continent.


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