Our offices will be closed on Monday as we observe the Memorial Day holiday, so I thought I’d share a little history about the day as we head into the weekend:
Memorial Day as we know it was originally known as “Decoration Day,” and was first enacted to honor Union soldiers after the Civil War. It is celebrated on the last Monday of May, near the date of reunification after the war.
According to David Blight, a history professor at Yale University, the first Memorial Day was observed by former slaves in Charleston, South Carolina in 1865. Captured Union soldiers were held there temporarily, and many died. Soon after the fighting ended, a group of former slaves created a formal Union cemetery to honor the fallen soldiers and on May 1, 1865, a crowd of 10,000 gathered there to celebrate and honor them.
The name “Memorial Day” was first used in 1882, but didn’t become commonplace until after Word War II, and wasn’t declared the official holiday by Federal law until 1967.
Now, here are some things to think about as you consider how to honor veterans and others who have served and given their lives in our fight for human liberty. (These are excerpted from an email I received and you may have already seen them, but read through them anyway — it’s worth it.):
It is the VETERAN, not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the VETERAN, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the VETERAN, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom of assemble.
It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the VETERAN, not the politician,
who has given us the right to vote.
It is the VETERAN who salutes the Flag.
It is the VETERAN who serves under the Flag.
Eternal rest grant them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
Wishing you and yours a safe and happy Memorial Day,