Memorial Day 2018

Memorial Day WVSCV

Remember those who died while in military service of our great country.

Memorial Day was inspired by the South!

Did you know that the United States holiday of Memorial Day was inspired by the South? It’s true!

The Memorial Day holiday was created in 1868 by the Grand Army of the Republic and was first known as Decoration Day, as listed by the U.S. National Parks Service. This fact is further verified by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Office of Public Affairs, which lists the holiday as being established by Maj. General John A. Logan, head of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). And a more detailed description of how the holiday was established is listed in the book, “Reminiscences of a soldier’s wife: an autobiography” published in 1916 by the wife of Maj. General John A. Logan (Mary Simmerson Cunningham Logan), who wrote of her husband “He said it was not too late for the Union men of the nation to follow the example of the people of the South in perpetuating the memory of their friends who had died for the cause which they thought just and right.”

Read some partial excerpts from the book and from U.S. government websites which give more details about the Memorial Day holiday.

from the U.S. National Parks Service website:
https://www.nps.gov/ande/learn/historyculture/flowersforjennie.htm

“The tradition of annually decorating soldiers graves began in the years immediately following the Civil War. First suggested by the ladies of Columbus, Georgia in 1866, the custom went national in 1868 through the adoption of a May 30th date by the Grand Army of the Republic, a Union Veterans organization.”

from the U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs, Office of Public Affairs website:
http://www1.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp

“Memorial Day History
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.”

from the book by Mrs John A Logan (Mary Simmerson Cunningham Logan), “Reminiscences of a soldier’s wife: an autobiography” published 1916 by Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York:

Maj Gen John A Logan and family
Maj Gen John A Logan and family

“Reminiscences of a soldier’s wife: an autobiography” p. 243:

“During this trip we visited the churchyards and cemeteries at Richmond, Petersburg, and other points made historic by the struggle which had taken place in and around these cities. In the churchyard near Petersburg we saw hundreds of the graves of Confederate soldiers. These graves had upon them small bleached Confederate flags and faded flowers and wreaths that had been laid upon them by loving hands on the occasion of their Decoration Day.

Upon our return General Logan was much interested in our account of what we had seen and I remarked to him that I had never been so touched as I was by seeing the little flags and the withered flowers that had been laid on these graves. At this General Logan said that it was a beautiful revival of the custom of the ancients in thus preserving the memory of the dead, and that he, as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, would issue an order for the decoration of the graves of Union soldiers. Colonel Wilson, heartily approving of the plan, said that he would be glad to exploit it in his paper in Chicago. General Logan sent for General Chipman, then adjutant-general of the Grand Army of the Republic, and dictated Order No. 11, for the first decoration of the graves of Union soldiers that ever took place in the United States, as follows:”

“Reminiscences of a soldier’s wife: an autobiography” p. 246:

“General Logan subsequently succeeded in getting an appropriation for the publication of the reports of the ceremonies of Memorial Day, and also in making the 30th of May a national holiday. Since his death there have been many who have claimed for themselves or their friends the authorship of Decoration Day, but the story I tell here contains the true facts as to the origin of Memorial Day. It was conceived by General Logan, his sympathetic nature being deeply touched by what we had told him that we had witnessed in the cemeteries of Virginia. He said that it was strange that a people who were so loyal to their country as had been the Union soldiers and their friends should not have been the first to inaugurate this beautiful ceremony, and that it must be attributed to the fact that they were so engrossed in taking up their vocations in life that they had not had time to indulge in sentiment. He said it was not too late for the Union men of the nation to follow the example of the people of the South in perpetuating the memory of their friends who had died for the cause which they thought just and right. General Logan had infinite satisfaction in the thought that he was the author of Decoration Day.”

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