In 1865, Henry Welles, a druggist in Waterloo, New York, mentioned at a social gathering that something should be done to honor the brave souls who died in the Civil War. The townspeople agreed and a day was set aside in May to decorate the graves with wreaths, crosses and bouquets. This day was known as "Decoration Day."
The first official recognition of Decoration Day was in May of 1868. That year Waterloo joined other communities in the nation by having their ceremony on May 30th. After World War II, the use of "Memorial Day" became more common, but was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967
Over the years, Memorial Day has been "watered" down to become a day of barbeques, picnics, etc. And that's all fine, but we need to get back to the original reason the day was created.....It's a day to remember those who have given "the ultimate sacrifice" of their lives for the many freedoms we often take for granted.
Memorial Day is really May 30th but has been celebrated the last Monday of May to allow for a three day weekend. There is a movement underway to return it's observance to May 30th, however. See this statement I found when doing some research on line; "The VFW stated in a 2002 Memorial Day Address, "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day" Hawaii's Senator Daniel Inouye a World War II veteran, has repeatedly introduced measures to return Memorial Day to its traditional day since 1998."
A very interesting thought. Would it make a difference ? Would you celebrate Memorial Day differently if it were always observed on May 30th, no matter what day of the week it fell on ?
Finally,I'm including the following poem;
In Flanders Fields
By: LieutenantColonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.