History of Memorial Day:
Today is of course Memorial Day, and I hope folks will take a bit of time off from enjoying their barbeques and picnics to recall why this day exists. Here is a bit about the history of Memorial Day:
Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to our country. It began during the Civil War when organized women's groups in several towns throughout the South decorated the graves of the Confederate war dead with flowers, wreaths and flags. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5th, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on May 30, 1868.Interestingly, the Civil War origins of Memorial Day still have an impact on its observance:
By 1890 [Memorial Day] was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.