The Story of Memorial Day

 

 

Exodus 12:14. "And this day shall be unto you for a memorial."

The custom of decorating the graves of the honored dead is an ancient one. Greeks twined flowers about the gravestones. Romans closed their temples, decorated the tombs, and made offerings and sacrifices.

In America this custom has found expression in the keeping of Memorial or Decoration Day, established soon after the Civil War, and rapidly gaining in popularity.

In 1867 women at Columbus, Mississippi, decorated the graves of dead soldier heroes of both the North and the South. It inspired that noble poem, "The Blue and the Gray."

The widespread feeling that a special day should be set apart for paying tribute to those who had given their lives in the Civil War led General John A. Logan, Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, to issue an order designating May 30, 1868, for "strewing  with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country, and whose bodies now lie in most every city, village, or hamlet church yard in the land."

 

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