Memorial Day History & Facts

Memorial Day History & Facts

Courtesy of Purpletrail.com * Memorial Day was first celebrated on May 30, 1868. It wasobserved by placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiersduring the first national celebration. Gen. James Garfield made a speech atArlington National Cemetery, after which around 5,000 participants helped todecorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers whowere buried there. * Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5,1868, the head of the Grand Army of the Republic established DecorationDay as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead withflowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should beobserved on May 30. This date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom allover the country. {{more}} * In1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,h Moina Michael repliedwith her own poem. Wecherish too, the Poppy red That grows on fields where valor led, It seems to signal to the skies That blood of heroes never dies. She then came up with an idea of wearing red poppies onMemorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She wasthe first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with themoney going to benefit servicemen in need. * Since thelate 1950Œs on the Thursday just before the Memorial day, around 1200 soldiersof the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours aday during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn,a practice that continues to this day. * More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday beforethe observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place acandle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried atFredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye’s Heights . * In the year 2000 the National Moment of RemembranceResolution passed. At 3pm on Memorial Day all Americans are asked tovoluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance& respect by pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silenceor listening to taps. * And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Dayparade in over 60 years. Memorial Day Trivia: * Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of those who have died serving ourcountry. * General John Alexander Logan ordered the Memorial Dayholiday to be observed by decorating the war dead. * On Memorial Day, the flag should be at half-staff untilnoon only, then raised to the top of the staff. * Red Poppies are recognized as the Memorial Day flower. * “Tapsh is often played at ceremonies on Memorial Day. * Memorial Day was first called “Decoration Dayh because ofthe practice of decorating soldier’s graves with flowers. * New York was the 1st state to officially recognizeMemorial Day. * Flowers and flags are the two most popular items peopleuse to remember soldiers. * The south refused to honor the dead on Memorial Day untilafter World War I when the meaning of Memorial Day changed from honoring civilwar dead to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war. * Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday in 1971.