In the midst of daily challenges and life as we know it, we are rarely asked to reflect on the heartfelt significance of Memorial Day. A holiday, yes, but it is with meaning that transcends ethnicity, religion, and personal agenda or political persuasion. We all share in the true humility that others would lay down their lives so that we could simply live our own.
As it was once said…
Many gave some, some gave all.
Let us all remember those who came before us to make this country free, with liberty for all.
A History of Memorial Day
The practice of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers is an ancient custom. Soldiers’ graves were decorated in the U.S. before and during the American Civil War. A claim was made in 1906 that the first Civil War soldier’s grave ever decorated was in Warrenton, Virginia, on June 3, 1861, implying the first Memorial Day occurred there. Though not for Union soldiers, there is authentic documentation that women in Savannah, Georgia, decorated Confederate soldiers’ graves in 1862.
In 1863, the cemetery dedication at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was a ceremony of commemoration at the graves of dead soldiers. Local historians in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, claim that ladies there decorated soldiers’ graves on July 4, 1864. As a result, Boalsburg promotes itself as the birthplace of Memorial Day.