was the original name for Memorial Day. I probably knew that in elementary school but I certainly didn’t remember it. I like it better. Sure, I know that memorial means we remember and honor those who died while serving in the U.S. military. But if you look at the history of Memorial Day you might agree. Decoration Day originated in the years following the Civil War. By the late 1860s various people began holding springtime tributes to the countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers as well as praying. From History.com:
On May 5, 1862, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.”While Decoration Day was originally intended to commemorate only those fallen during the Civil War, after World War I it changed, evolving to honor American military personnel who died in all wars.
Parades, often including military personnel and members of veterans’ groups are a traditional part of celebrations. Others visit cemeteries and memorials, decorating the graves of veterans and loved ones.
I suppose both names are fitting (but I’m still partial to Decoration Day).
Many thanks to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Many thanks also to the families of the fallen; their sacrifice is no less great.