Monday, May 31, 2010

History of Memorial Day

"The 30th of May 1868 is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers , or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observation no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such special services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit." --- General Order No. 11 - General John A. Logan, Grand Army of the Republic, May 5, 1868.

The commemoration was originally known as Decoration Day. The name Memorial Day was first used in 1882. By the late 1800s, many communities hand begun to celebrate Memorial Day to honor Americans who died in all wars. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May.
The picture is of the Fredericksburg National Cemetery luminary which was held this year on May 29th with more than 15,300 candles honoring those who gave their life for this country.

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