Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of
remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are
many stories as to its actual beginnings, with more than two dozen
cities and towns claiming to be the holiday’s birthplace.
Day was officially proclaimed on 5, May, 1868, by General John Logan,
national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General
Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30, May, 1868, when flowers were
placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington
The first state to officially recognize the
holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890, it was recognized by all of the
northern states. It is now celebrated in almost every state on the last
Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971
(P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three-day weekend for the federal holiday).
Some southern states still set aside an additional day for honoring the
Confederate war dead.
No matter where it started and by whom, the
premise has stayed the same. We set aside the day to remember those who
died fighting for their country, their flag and your and my freedoms.
Memorial Day service will, as usual, be held at the Veterans Memorial
Park. The park has been well-tended in the last several months. The
grass looks like it has been cut with manicure scissors, it is so
I have witnessed the seemingly endless parade of people
who come to the park to work, relax and/or remember, or all three. There
have been many times, while either driving by the park or when leaving
and entering the Herald parking lot, I will see a figure near one of the
markers, head bent in concentration. People walking in the downtown
area will detour through the park’s walkways and stop to read names on
the pavers or memorials before going on with their day.
also serves as a daily reminder of what some have given for their
country. It is also a reminder that many are still sacrificing and will
continue to do so through their bravery and willingness to do what many
of us can’t or won’t.
On the website where I got a lot of the
history for Memorial Day, www.usmemorialday.org, I also found that, in
general, observance of Memorial Day is on the decline. At many
cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored and/or
For some reason, I don’t think this will be a problem
in Delphos. Those visiting the local cemeteries this weekend will see a
sea of crisp new flags waving from hundreds of graves. I have a feeling
that this year’s local observance will be as well attended as any other.