There are many stories surrounding the origin of Memorial Day. As stated in an earlier blog this week, President Lyndon B. Johnson, in 1966, officially declared Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day.
In 1865, prominent Waterloo businessman, Henry C. Welles, garnered the support of General John B. Murray-himself a civil war hero-to begin plans for a local citizen’s committee to organize festivities honoring current veterans as well as fallen veterans.
On May 5, 1866, in Waterloo, New York, flags were flown at half-mast and were decorated with black to signify the mourning of the fallen soldiers. The community of Waterloo, both public and civic sectors, led a march to each of the community’s three cemeteries.
In March of 1966, Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller signed a proclamation recognizing Waterloo as the origin city of Memorial Day. The proclamation was later adopted by Congress and read, in part, “Resolved that the Congress of the United States, in recognition of the patriotic tradition set in motion one hundred years ago in the Village of Waterloo, New York, does hereby officially recognize Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day…”
Good Idea: Check your local listings for your area’s Memorial Day celebrations