Monday, May 28, 2007


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)
Canadian Army

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.


kaydeejay5449 said...

That is so interesting!  Thank you for doing your homework and writing about Memorial Day.  I learned a lot today.
Love, Kathy

pharmolo said...

Thanks for the background info on Memorial Day, Linda

jeadie05 said...

Thanks for this Linda Jan xx

sugarsweet056 said...

Nicely done. Quite a bit like the one I did!  :)
Have a good Memorial Day.

mariealicejoan said...

Thanks for this Linda.  Although we don't celebrate Memorial Day over here (we have Remembrance day on November 11th, the day of the Armistace at the end of WW2),   I did love reading this and learning about the history of Memorial Day.  It never hurts to remind ourselves of the sacrifices given so that we can now enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today!!

queenb8261 said...

Thanks for the history of Memorial Day.  
My parents always called it decoration day. Didn't matter that they changed it for having a 3 day weekend. Each May 30th, they drove to every cemetary where their loved ones were buried to place flowers on their graves. It was an all day affair. I was always touched by it.
Hope you have had a nice weekend and a good weekend ahead.

sugarsweet056 said...

Hi there, TY for coming by one of my Memorial Day tributes & leaving a comment, tried to email you...but your email wouldn't accept it. just wanted to remind you to check out my other Memorial Day Salutes too. One of them is kind of like the one you did.
I did 1 at Furr babies, then 2 at Sugars Life.
Hugs, Sugar

gaboatman said...

Nice post for Memorial Day, Linda.  I don't think I would do anything different if it were moved back to May 30th.  i do understand, though, why some would want it back on the original day.

gotomaria said...

Memorial Day is a bit watered heart almost stops sometimes when I think what people in the front lines of war have witnessed and endured.   I only wish that it would all end.  Nice entry and great education.   That Henry Welles must have been a quiet of the many you never really hear about but who have left an important mark on the world.   The Civil War was really not that long ago........amazing huh?   Have a great day, Linda..turned out to be a nice day..:)  Maria

jlocorriere05 said...

I think it should be celebrated on the same day every year. Our Armistice Day is always on a Sunday when it should be on the 11th November. I suppose the bosses like it that way as it stops production for a day, it's more to do with money than giving people a three day break! Jeannette xx