What So Proudly We Hail

Courtesy of Staff Writer: Haley Roe-Deters

 

 

Memorial day is May 29, the last Monday in May. Most people celebrate but some of them do not realize what this day actual celebrates. It is not about fireworks or bathing suits or even our country in general. This holiday is to celebrate and acknowledge the thousands of men and women who have given their lives, and given up things they love so that we, everyone alive, can thrive.

We take a lot for granted these days. Electronics, food, shelter and even paper. The only reason we have access to any of this is because of the people who have fought for us. Not only the people fighting but their families. Think about it. Someone’s husband or wife or kid just fought, and maybe died, so that your family could live. Who wouldn’t want to recognize a sacrifice like that?

In 1868, Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the grand Army of the Republic issued what was called General Order Number 11, designating May 30 as a memorial day. The first place it was celebrated was in Arlington National Cemetery. It is still celebrated there, along with the the infamous Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

 

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The Tomb of Unknown Soldier on Memorial day in D.C. Picture credit: Creative Commons

 

Before it was named “Memorial day” it was called “Decoration day.” John A. Logan called it “Decoration day” because they used this day to decorate the head stones of soldiers who have died. Many people decorated cemeteries with the American flag, and many flowers.

“I love Memorial day because it gives u s a chance to reflect on the sacrifices people have made for our lives.” Many women decorated the graves of husbands and friends before it became a national holiday. However it was not only people they knew. As a sign of respect, mostly southern women, decorated the graves of Confederate and Union soldiers.

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Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day. Picture Credits: Creative Commons

 

Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. However, this day unofficially marks the beginning of summer, which is why many people throw parties.

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