Memorial Day is not a day to celebrate the beginning of summer.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was born in the years following the American Civil War to remember those that had died during that bloody conflict.
There are about two dozen places that claim to be the originator of Memorial Day, including Waterloo, New York; Columbus, Georgia and Columbus, Mississippi.
Columbus, Mississippi was a hospital town and burial site for both Union and Confederate casualties from Shiloh. On April 25, 1866 four women held a procession to decorate the graves of the dead soldiers in the Friendship Cemetery.
In the spring of 1866, a woman from Columbus, Georgia wrote an open letter suggesting that a day be set apart each year nationally to decorate the graves of the fallen soldiers.
In May 1866, the people of Waterloo, New York held an annual townwide commemoration honoring those that died.
In 1868 Maj. Gen. John A Logan, commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a group made up of Union veterans of the Civil War, issued an order for the annual decoration of graves.
Waterloo was officially designated as the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966.
There is really no way to know just which town is the real originator of the day. They seem to all have had the same idea to honor the dead soldiers.
Regardless of its origin, let us remember to pray for our active military troops on this day and throughout the year.
Let us remember that Freedom Is Not Free – that it was paid for with the lives of our fellow Americans.
© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2012