The unofficial start of summer is this weekend. With such an an important day to remember the valiant people who have died in the service of our nation, I thought it would be appropriate to give a little history to the Memorial Day holiday. For more information please visit this website devoted to Memorial Day.
May 5th, 1868 – General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, Memorial Day was officially proclaimed, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
1873 – New York is the first state to recognize Memorial Day
May, 1966 – President Lyndon Johnson declares Waterloo, N.Y. the birthplace of Memorial Day, even though it is difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day.
1971 – Congress passes the National Holiday Act moving the celebration of Memorial day from the 30th of May to the last Monday in May. The move ensures a three day weekend for federal holidays.
It was interesting to read that since the late 1950′s on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3rd US Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They don’t stop there – they patrol the cemetary 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing.
What a tribute to those who have fallen in service. I ask that you please take some time this Memorial Day to reflect on the sacrifice these men and women made for our country. I would even ask that you say a prayer not only for the soliders but for their families as well.