Monday, May 26, 2008

Decoration Day

This will just be a short blog. I'm having major problems with my computer, so I'm forced to share my husband's for the duration. But I wanted to touch on the origins of today's American holiday, Memorial Day.

It was originally called Decoration Day and, although there are many stories of its actual start, the American Civil War seems to have spurred on the tradition of honoring war dead.

During the Victorian era, at least in America, visiting the graves of loved one's was a popular activity and they decorated those graves. Thus the name Decoration Day.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed by General John Logan on May 5, 1868. Flowers were laid on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

By 1890 all of the northern states recognized Memorial Day, but the South refused to acknowledge it, and honored their war dead on alternate days until after the first World War, when the holiday changed to honoring all war dead, rather than just those who fought in the Civil War.

So, take a few moments today to reflect on all the men and women who've fought for our country and say thanks.


Nicole McCaffrey said...

Excellent blog, Susan. I researched some of the origins yesterday myself and was surprised to learn it originated in the Victorian era, I didn't realize the holiday had been around that long.

Thanks for posting it!

Kristin-Marie said...

Very interesting that Victorians' penchant for nostalgia ran to deeper levels into national commemoration.

Susan Macatee said...

Yes, I've read they used to take picnic lunches to the cemetery and spend the day.

Marlene said...

Thanks for posting about this holiday. I always think about all the family members who've served in the military on this day. I always get chills when I walk through military cemetaries and felt the same way at the memorials in Washington D.C.