Friday, May 20, 2022

Decoration Day: A Time For Remembrance


Cemetery flowers

Within mere months following the end of the War Between The States, citizens set aside special days to remember their fallen heroes. The earliest known date for Union soldiers was May 1, 1865 when thousands of freed slaves and white missionaries gathered at the Washington Race Course and Jockey Club in Charleston, South Carolina to commemorate the deaths of those who fought to obtain their liberty.

Other ceremonies popped up around the country during which thankful Americans met for reminiscing, prayers, singing and decorating the memorials of their loved ones. The first nationally recognized event occurred at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868 to honor the fallen. It was known as Decoration Day. Though the day has since become known as Memorial Day and declared a national holiday beginning in 1971, decorating the graves of loved ones, friends and noble strangers has remained the central activity.

Many wars have come and gone; millions have died. Some in military service, many more in civil service, or simply in service to their families. If you’ve spent past Memorial Days at the beach, picnicking, or otherwise making merry, consider taking some time this holiday to visit a local cemetery to tidy, plant flowers or flags, and decorate a resting place before going about the rest of your day.

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