Memorial Day is a special day in America where we remember and honor the brave men and women who died while serving in our military. But do you know where it all started?
It all began during the Civil War, which was the deadliest war in American history. After the war ended, a group of recently freed slaves and Union soldiers in Charleston, South Carolina, came together to honor fallen soldiers who had been buried in unmarked graves in a Confederate prison camp. They decorated the graves with flowers and held a ceremony to pay tribute to these heroes. This was the first recorded observation of what we now call Memorial Day.
In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, Moina Michael began wearing a red poppy to honor the fallen soldiers of World War I. The poppy soon became a symbol of remembrance for all fallen soldiers. The tradition of wearing poppies on Memorial Day was officially recognized by the American Legion in 1920, and it has been a tradition ever since.
In 1868, General John A. Logan declared May 30th as Decoration Day, which was a day to decorate the graves of Union soldiers who died in the Civil War. The first national observance of Decoration Day was held at Arlington National Cemetery, where both Union and Confederate soldiers were buried. It was a way for the country to come together and honor those who gave their lives in service to our nation.
Over time, Decoration Day became known as Memorial Day, and we now remember all American military personnel who have died in any war or conflict. In 1971, Memorial Day became a federal holiday, and we celebrate it on the last Monday in May.
It's important to remember that Memorial Day is more than just a day off from work or school. It's a day to honor the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women and to reflect on the cost of freedom. We should also remember that not all soldiers who died have graves, especially black soldiers who fought for the Union during the Civil War. Many of them were buried in unmarked or mass graves, and their contributions were often overlooked or ignored.
As we celebrate Memorial Day, let's take a moment to remember those who have fallen and honor their memory by striving for a better, more peaceful world. And let's not forget the significance of the poppy flower, which serves as a symbol of remembrance for the brave men and women who died while serving our country.