Sunday, May 27, 2012

Observing Decoration's Day / Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend brought out the first of the summer tourists to the beach this weekend.  Even though they were predicting bad weather, the tourists still took advantage of having a long weekend and hit the roads for the start of summer.  The restaurants are a little more crowded and the traffic is a good bit heavier.  And the weather has been nice with the tropical storm Beryl staying off the Carolina's coasts and moving on down to Florida.

With so many people about, you would think that Memorial Day was an annual observance as the official start of summer when in actuality it is a much different observance.  It is a federal holiday in the United States on the last Monday of May for remembering men and women who have died while serving the the US Armed Forces.  It was originally known as Decoration Day and was started in the South to honor the fallen Confederate soldiers by decorating their graves in small family cemetaries.  Most of the observances were held in May - probably because of the availability of flowers to decorate the graves. It is believed that this practice began even before the end of the American Civil War and thus may reflect the real origin of the "memorial day" idea.

 It was first officially observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. 

I have a friend who is originally from the mountains of North Carolina, and each year she returns to her family cemetary on Memorial Day weekend and decorates all of the graves of her family and extended family members.  It's more often still a tradition in the mountain areas than in other areas of the South.  Most of Mary's family gets together and celebrates with a family re-union on this weekend with a picnic on the grounds of the cemetary spread out on blankets and tablecloths. Her family members travel many miles to make this pilgrimage each year.  It's nice to have traditions like this.
No matter what the reason for the Memorial Day observance, no matter where it started or what it was called, no matter what country you are from - take a moment on Monday to remember the men and women who have given their lives so that you and I can be free.  Blessings....


  1. Dearest Glenda,
    Oh, thank you very much for the information about memorial day. You gave me more insight of one of your federal holidays. We tend to enjoy holidays forgetting the deep meaning it, don't we...
    Yes, let's take a moment to think about people dedicated their lives.
    Love you always from Japn, xoxo Miyako*

  2. Over here the last Monday in May has always been a Bank Holiday - originally for Whitsun - the seventh Sunday after Easter, so it moved each year. They changed it to a fixed day in 1967 and called in Spring Bank Holiday. This year we are having it moved again to next week so that the Queens Diamond Jubilee (Tuesday) will give the nation 4 days off rather than two two weeks of four days (does that make sense?)
    Sometimes the meaning of the holidays is lost completely in the joy of having a couple of extra days off.

  3. We're celebrating Whitsun and the Queen's Silver Jubilee on this coming Monday Bank Holiday.
    We seem to have Nov 11th as our Memorial Day when we all buy and wear poppy brooches to help fund the lost men's families in all the wars. (Far too many.)
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May


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