Memorial Day

Memorial Day (formerly Decoration Day) is observed on the last Monday of May. It commemorates the men and women who died in military service. In observance of the holiday, many people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries.

A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.


Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

Harbor flag

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

Categories: #American-history, #Photography, Holidays

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6 replies

  1. Great photos. Even though we don’t like war, they are defining moments of building our nations. We should never forget the sacrifice of those who died for us today.


    • Wars used to be human historic milestones. For the last 75 years (more?), there has been constant war. There’s something terribly wrong with a world perpetually at war. Surely we can find some other way to settle our differences.


  2. Did not plan this but am reading this Monday at 3. Thank you


  3. That’s interesting. I had wondered about the significance of the date.


    • Most of our other “war remembrance” dates are specific, like Victory in Europe (V.E.) Day and Pearl Harbor Day. Armistice Day. All celebrate a particular event. This one, though, is a general honoring of all who fought and those who died.

      Liked by 2 people

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