Decoration Day…

Originally May 30th, started in 1868, by proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, mourners honored the Civil War dead by decorating their graves with flowers. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery.

Today, it’s known as Memorial Day, and is now a ‘floating’ holiday being the last Monday in May.

Just something to think about… It wasn’t about the blue or the grey, but about those on BOTH sides that had died in the Civil War. At that time, the survivors/families were the ones that did the decorating. Today, the Old Guard puts out over 200,000 American flags out, one on each grave, exactly one boot length from the headstone.


Decoration Day… — 2 Comments

  1. As a sort-of affirmation of the fact that it wasn’t about the blue or the gray, but about the people:
    I was listening to a podcast recently on History Unplugged. The title was “The Union’s Secret Rebels: The Story of Gettysburg’s Five Rebellious Double Crossers Who Returned as Foreign Invaders.” The title is overblown, as each of the five had moved a bit further south, to what is now West Virginia. They joined the local militia when they arrived there (during the 1850s), and when those units were converted to Confederate Army they followed along.
    One of them received a pass, and visited his sister at night, clad in his uniform. One of them, John Wesley Culp, died on or near his uncle’s farm. The details of his burial site aren’t clear; there is a tradition that his body was recovered by the family, and is interred in the family plot.