(NEXSTAR) — Memorial Day may seem randomly placed on the calendar, but there’s a reason it always falls on the last Monday in May.
To understand this, we need to go back approximately 155 years.
It was 1868, three years after the Civil War ended. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, leader of the Grand Army of the Republic, declared that May 30 should be a day of honors. Reportedly, that day, Logan asked the American people to lay flowers at the graves of the war dead. US Department of Veterans Affairs. With spring approaching, I was hoping for flowers to bloom across the country.
Records show that the first large-scale decoration day was held at Arlington National Cemetery that year. The graves of Union and Confederate soldiers alike were laid with flowers, and Logan’s order of commission called for the graves to be “decorated with selected Union and Confederate flowers.”
Several cities, many across the South, claimed to have paid tribute to those who died in the Civil War before Logan’s proclamation, the VA explained. Among them was Carbondale, Illinois, whose first Honor Day ceremony was held in late April 1866 for him, according to the cemetery stone.
as the story progressesCivil War veterans were waiting for church services to begin when they noticed a woman with two young children laying flowers at a small, unmarked grave. Veterans then gathered nearby wildflowers to decorate the soldiers’ graves in the cemetery.
The group then decided that flowers should be laid at the war dead’s graves in Woodlawn Cemetery across town. On April 19, 1866, veterans, along with others in the area, walked from the local church to Woodlawn Cemetery and laid flowers at the aforementioned grave.
Before the procession, however, Logan, who had lived in Carbondale during the war, spoke to the group. Two years later, Logan signed an order specifying a date for the anniversary.
Congress and President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed a separate town, despite the apparent connection between Carbondale and the then Honors Day. waterloo, new york Records show that in May 1866, the city, about 80 miles west of Syracuse, closed businesses, hoisted flags at half-mast, and honored Civil War veterans. parade.
It is not clear when exactly people started calling this Day of Decoration, but by the late 1800s many people started calling it “Remembrance Day”. I was. American Battle Monuments Commission.
Whatever its origin, Memorial Day became a national holiday in 1971. The day was permanently set on the last Monday in May and designated as a day of remembrance for those who died in all American wars.
Remembrance Day should not be confused with Veterans Day, which honors those who fought in America’s wars and were discharged with anything other than dishonor. Another of his military holidays in May, Armed Forces Day, is a day to honor those currently serving in the United States Armed Forces.
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