What is Memorial Day?

J. H. Osborne • May 20, 2020 at 4:30 PM

Some facts about Memorial Day from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:

• “Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.”

• “The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.”

• “By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities.”

• After World War I, the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars.

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