A Holiday of Remembrance

Published 05/23/2008


As you enjoy Memorial Day Weekend its important to remember what the holiday is all about. Originally, the holiday was called Decoration Day, a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.

It is not exactly known where or when this day of remembrance started. There are numerous stories as to its origins with dozens of cities and towns claiming be the birthplace of Memorial Day.

On May 5, 1868, Memorial Day was officially proclaimed by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was first observed on May 30, 1868. Flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1873, New York became the first state to officially recognize the Memorial Day and by 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states.

In May of 1966, President Lyndon Johnson declared that Waterloo, N.Y. was officially the birthplace of Memorial Day. It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May, in accordance with a resoultion passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971.

More important than when and where the holiday started, is that Memorial Day was established. It is about coming together to honor those who have fallen for the good of the nation.

In December of 2000, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed, and it asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "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 listening to 'Taps."

On Monday, May 26, remember to pause and reflect on the sacrifices so many have made to make our country and way of life so great.