Happy Memorial Day!
No matter what you have planned today, I hope you spend some time reflecting on the reason for this holiday.
I did some research ((oh how our lives have changed since GOOGLE!!)) and this is what I found regarding the birth of our Memorial Day tradition.
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.
The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.
Local Observances Claim To Be First:
Local springtime tributes to the Civil War dead already had been held in various places. One of the first occurred in Columbus, Miss., April 25, 1866, when a group of women visited a cemetery to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers who had fallen in battle at Shiloh. Nearby were the graves of Union soldiers, neglected because they were the enemy. Disturbed at the sight of the bare graves, the women placed some of their flowers on those graves, as well.
Today, cities in the North and the South claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866. Both Macon and Columbus, Ga., claim the title, as well as Richmond, Va. The village of Boalsburg, Pa., claims it began there two years earlier. A stone in a Carbondale, Ill., cemetery carries the statement that the first Decoration Day ceremony took place there on April 29, 1866. Carbondale was the wartime home of Gen. Logan. Approximately 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, many of them in the South where most of the war dead were buried.
Official Birthplace Declared:
In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.
By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities.
It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars.
n 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.--From the US Department of Veteran Affairs
I just love history, and am grateful for holidays like this that make me think. This day is so much more than BBQs and picnics.
Flowers on yesterday’s hike
Close up. So pretty!
I love this barn and have to take a photo every time I’m up here!
There has even been some string piecing going on!
This is mom’s featherweight ---she was string piecing some borders for a scrap quilt for one of my neices, but she was doing it in narrow strips. I showed her how I cover the entire phone book page, and then cut TWO border widths from each page! SEW MUCH FASTER!
Isn’t this going to be cute?
This morning we are headed down to Eagle for a lunchtime BBQ at my brother Mike’s house –excited to see my brother and his family! They have a new place since I was here last and I know he wants to show it off. He is as much into gardening and yardwork and fruit trees as my mom is ---so I know it will be beautiful. Photos to come!
Then we’ll stop by my other brother Scott’s in Meridian on the way back – for a “make your own banana split” dessert gathering….yippee!
Both families had other things going on so it was impossible to get us all in one place at the same time today – this way we get TWO gatherings.
Whatever you do, and however you spend this day ---make some memories with those you love!
Love from Idaho ---