The Truth & Origin of Memorial Day
Remember & Honor
While many associate Veterans Day and Memorial Day with service, the two are not the same. Veterans Day is a celebration of those who serve and have served. Memorial Day is a solemn day to reflect on those veterans and military personnel who are deceased.
The Origins of Memorial Day
The origins of Memorial Day started in 1864 when the women of Boalsburg, Pa. put flowers on the graves of their own Civil War dead (from the nearby battle of Gettysburg) and on other war dead in summer and fall. This started the decorating of graves every year.
Inspired by seeing a woman with two children putting flowers on graves, Ambrose Crowell, Russell Winchester, and Jonathan F. Wiseman clean and decorate other graves that day; then organize a wider-scale memorial observance at the larger Carbondale Woodlawn Cemetery on 29 April 1866. 219 Civil War veterans march to the cemetery where Major General John A. Logan gives the principal address, therefore creating the first organized, community-wide Memorial Day observance in United States a "healing touch for nation."
Memorial Day is recognized as an official holiday, when New York State designates it as a legal holiday. Other states soon follow.
"National Moment of Remembrance" resolution, which 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" was passed.
'The Unknown Dead'
by Elizabeth Robbins Berry
Above their rest there is no sound of weeping,
Only the voice of song-birds thrills the air;
Unknown their graves, yet they are in God's keeping,
There are none "missing" from His tender care.
He knows each hallowed mound, and at His pleasure
Marshalls the sentinels of earth and sky;
O'er their repose kind Nature heaps her treasure,
Farmed by soft winds which 'round them gently sigh.
Bravely they laid their all upon the altar,
Counting as naught the sacrifice and pain,
Theirs but to do and die without a falter—
Ours to enjoy the victory and the gain.
They are not lost; that only which was mortal
Lies 'neath the turf o'erarched by Southern skies;
Deathless they wait beyond the heavenly portal,
In that fair land where valor never dies.
In the great heart of coming generations
Their fame shall live, their glory never cease;
Even when comes to all earth's troubled nations
God's perfect gift of universal peace.