The Chronicles of Memorial Day
What we know now as Memorial Day used to have another name- Decoration Day. Initially, the day was called for as a tribute and a way to honor fallen soldiers by adorning their graves, which began way back in 1868. There was no specific war with which the event was associated at the time. Still, Americans readily accepted and practiced it due to the prevailing sentiments about the Civil War. Initially, 27 states participated in the first year, and the tradition continued well past the 1800s, until the name change in 1971 to Memorial Day. At this point, the decorations included flowers, flagpoles, and small flags for commemoration.
However, the long tradition of honoring the dead predates Decoration Day. Thousands of years before, Greeks and Romans would celebrate their deaths every year with feasts, flowers, and festivals. The practice was public and usually began after the bodies of the deceased warriors were returned home. In this way, communities were able to mourn their dead, celebrate their lives, and, most importantly, keep their memories alive. A few millennia later, the Civil War in America ignited the desire for this practice again.
The First Memorial Day
The first Memorial Day is said to have been performed by recently freed slaves on May 1st, 1865, towards the end of the war. This first tribute was dedicated to Union soldiers killed by terrible conditions at camps in Charleston, South Carolina. These soldiers were held as prisoners of war and were buried in a mass grave as they gradually died of disease and exposure. This grave was created at the back of a former racecourse. Three weeks after the Confederates surrendered, several Colored Troops and Charleston residents created a proper burial site. Thus, the earliest US Memorial Day was dedicated to the “Martyrs of the Race Course.”
The first official Memorial Day was decreed by General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic on May 30th, 1868, in honor of the soldiers killed in the Civil War. At the time, 620,000 lives had been lost in the war. After the First World War, the date became more meaningful for all those who lost their loved ones on the battlefield. Every year, the ceremony is held at Arlington National Cemetery, where Memorial Day has come to symbolize the sacrifice of all soldiers who died at war, with at least 5000 people attending.
Today, the national remembrance is marked by either the President or Vice President laying a wreath on an unknown soldier's grave, and every tomb is marked by a miniature American Flag. However, various states have additional days to remember their dead. It is regarded as an honor to remember any fallen soldier and keep their memories and good deeds alive from generation to generation.
Honor Your Loved Ones in Style
As mentioned earlier, we understand the importance of having flags, flagpoles, and lasting memorabilia to remember our fallen soldiers. This is why we at https://atlanticflagpole.com/ create high-quality flag poles and accessories to ensure you can honor your loved ones without worry for years to come.
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