The American tradition of Memorial Day began more than 100 years ago. It
was at the end of a brutal war, a war in which brother fought brother and
the best of friends became the worst of enemies. It was the Civil War, one
of the worst wars ever fought by the people of this nation, and it was fought
on our own soil. At the end of this war, family members of the many soldiers
slain in battle would visit the grave sites of their fallen relatives or
friends and decorate their graves with flowers.
On May 5, 1868, General John Logan proclaimed this day a holiday through
his General Order no. 11. The day was entitled Decoration Day. Decoration
day was first observed on May 30, 1868. The northern states celebrated this
day every year, but the southern states celebrated a day similar to this
on a different day until sometime after World War I.
In 1882, the name Decoration day was changed to Memorial Day, and in 1971,
Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to be held on the last Monday
of May every year.
modern celebration of Memorial Day is similar to the original celebration,
but today we have expanded upon the original idea. Today, Memorial Day is
a time of the year when people come together to honor their close friends
or relatives who have died. It is still very much about honoring America's
fallen soldiers, such as in gatherings at places like the Arlington National
Cemetary in Arlington, Virginia to visit such moving memorial tributes such
as the tomb of the unknown soldier, which represents "everyman" who with
bold patriotism layed down their life for this country. But in addition to
this, Memorial Day is about celebrating all people, all of our ancestors
and forefathers who have created the world we live in today, who have paved
the long road we walk down into the future. It is a day to celebrate and
thank all these people who died to create what we have today.
Many people travel to the graves of their dead relatives or friends in cemetaries
around the country to decorate their graves on this national holiday.
This day of memorial is something engrained in our culture, and in
every culture of the world a tribute, to honor the people who embodied
the dreams and the passionate fire of an entire country.