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Memorial Day 2011 is Coming

Another Memorial Day is almost upon us.  Many people view Memorial Day as the annual passage from Spring to Summer.  Memorial Day often means boating, beaches, and sunburns.

The true origination of Memorial Day is often forgotten in the hubbub of summertime fun.   Memorial Day, which was originally called Decoration Day, is a holiday that was established as a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to our nation.

Various cities and towns claim to have been the birthplace of Memorial Day.  President Lyndon B. Johnson officially declared Waterloo, New York the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1966.  Below is an accepted timeline of the history of Memorial Day:

  • May 5, 1868– Memorial Day was officially proclaimed by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic.
  • 1873– New York was the first state to officially recognize Memorial Day
  • Following WWI– The South joined the North in acknowledging one day on which to observe Memorial Day.  This change recognized and honored all persons who had died fighting in any war, as opposed to singularly honoring those fallen during the Civil War.
  • 1915“In Flanders Fields” was written by John McCrae
  • 1915“We Shall Keep the Faith” was written by Moina Michael.  This signified the Red Poppy.
  • 1966–  Waterloo, New York was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon B. Johnson
  • 1971– Congress passed the observance of Memorial Day to be celebrated on the last Monday of May.
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Judy W Bell

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