Remembering Our Veterans – Kirk Salmon

More than 600,000 Union and Confederate soldiers had died by the time Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant to end the War Between the States in 1865.

Even before the war had ended, women living in the Confederacy had been “decorating” the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers. After the war, the now reunited nation joined in grief and sorrow to embrace this solemn act of remembrance.

On May 5, 1868, John A. Logan, commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the
Republic, ordered that Decoration Day be formally observed each year.

He chose May 30 as the date of remembrance. With electric refrigeration nearly a half-century away, this was the optimal time to buy and gather fresh-cut flowers.

While Memorial Day was first substituted for Decoration Day in 1882, it did not enter common usage until after World War II. Federal law made the name change official in 1967.

Americans have observed Memorial Day on the final Monday of May since 1971, following passage of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968. That is why many of us will be eating hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken and potato salad this afternoon.

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Download copy of article: LVB-052818- 8

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