Memorial Day: A Day to Remember the Fallen

May 25, 2019

Memorial DayMonday, May 27, 2019, is Memorial Day. This day is a national holiday, for remembering and honoring men and women, who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.

Waterloo, New York, was declared the official birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966. The holiday had many origins, and most likely came about because many towns planned celebrations and honorariums for their war dead during the Civil War conflict. The first official proclamation is attributed to Gen John A. Logan, who issued a proclamation on May 5, 1868.

The first official day was celebrated on May 30, 1868, making today the 146th anniversary of the first official day of remembrance. On that first ‘Decorating Day,’ flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

Memorial Day2In 1873, the state of New York was the first to declare it a holiday and by 1890 ‘Decorating Day’ was recognized across the northern states. However, the southern states would not recognize the day as an official day of remembrance until after World War I  and it became known as Memorial Day. It was then that the day changed from honoring only the fallen Civil War combatants to all Americans who gave their lives in any armed war conflict.

Memorial Day is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May as designated by Congress, with the passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971, which ensured a three day weekend and made it a Federal holiday. To this day, some southern states have adopted a separate day for honoring Confederate war dead: Jan. 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 in Louisiana and Tennessee.

Moina Michael, after being inspired by the poem ‘Flanders Field’ conceived the idea that a way to show reverence for the fallen was to wear red poppies on Memorial Day. She convinced friends and coworkers and began selling poppies with the proceeds going to benefit service men and women in need. The tradition caught on around the US and then in France and by 1921, the tradition had spread to other countries.

dsc_9860The Veterans of Foreign War in 1922 began selling poppies which became the organization’s “Buddy” poppy program; selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans.

According to, “Since the late 50’s on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye’s Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years. “

Take a moment today to remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the citizens of the United States, to protect its rights and freedoms.

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9 Responses to Memorial Day: A Day to Remember the Fallen

  1. Solemn Vet on May 25, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    Amen, this holiday has long been associated with sales, cookouts and drinking in excess. It’s to remember those of us who have served in the military

    • Walt Kawolski on May 25, 2019 at 11:25 pm

      No disrespect intended Solemn Vet, but that would be Veteran’s Day.
      This day, Memorial Day, is reserved solely for those in combat who didn’t make it home…and I’m glad you made it home.
      A lot of people get it confused, but it is important to keep the sanctity of Memorial Day. So this Memorial Day remember those who didn’t make it home with you, and again, I’m glad you made it home.

    • USN Veteran/Vietman on May 26, 2019 at 11:45 am

      No, you got it wrong, read the article again, Memorial Day is for, us the living, to honor and remember the those sons and daughters who died while in uniform, who gave their last full measure. To all that served: All gave some, some gave all. It is those who gave their all that Memorial Day honors and remembers.

  2. Just me on May 25, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    It’s a day set aside to remember the fallen; Veteran’s Day is for those who have and are serving.

  3. Dale on May 25, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Memorial Day is a day to remember the fallen. Veteran’s Day is for veterans.

  4. Walt Kawolski on May 25, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    God bless all who have fallen in combat and God comfort all who waited for their return. So when you’re havin’ a beer and a burger this Memorial Day think about those (even if just for a minute) who no longer can because they unselfishly gave the ultimate sacrifice.
    And for you families of the fallen, when you look at that empty chair this Memorial Day, know that the chair is not empty, it is full, full of the promise and the meaning of “THIS WE’LL DEFEND”!

  5. Prettyflyforawhiteguy on May 26, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    No. It’s not any of those things. But food job making it about you.

    • Dork on May 28, 2019 at 7:11 am

      Failed Comment.

      • Marty McFly on May 29, 2019 at 7:47 am

        Yeah, gotta figure hes a big fan of receiving food jobs, which is probably code for some brokeback mountain type stuff. I’m sure there are plenty of fetish videos for you to get your fix. Maybe spend less time being fly next time.