Memorial Day hails the beginning of summer, relaxation, cookouts, and family get togethers for most of us. Though most recognize it as a holiday of remembrance with regard to veterans, and a general time of overt patriotism and flag waving, many fail to glean its exact origins. There are several interesting facts about Memorial Day and its origins, however.
1. Memorial Day actually goes back to the Civil War. This was the bloodiest war in American history with regard to the massive lose of lives, hence the honoring of soldiers at grave sites.
2. It was originally called “Decoration Day”, and was first celebrated on May 30th, 1868, at the behest of civil war veteran leader, General John A. Logan, because purportedly, no battle had ever taken place on May 30th.
3. Originally only celebrated by Northern states, Mississippi was the first southern state to celebrate Decoration Day, as other southern states refused to do so. Mississippi celebrated on April 25th instead of May 30th, and did so for the first time in 1866.
4. Ironically, with regard to the southern states refusal to celebrate this holiday, David W. Blight, a Yale scholar, puts forth the theory that the first Memorial Day type celebration was held by former slaves in Charleston , S.C., at a mass burial site of Union soldiers.
5. The most unusual fact of all about Memorial Day in my view point is the fact that it now also seems to commemorate 9/11 as well. It seems to me, that should be left for September 11th. Why mingle two great tragedies in such a manner. Why not let each stand to its own time frame? Is this how historical inaccuracies come about? Do they begin when we merge historical events like these?
Are we not also devaluing the Civil War origins of this holiday when we begin mingling it with remembrances of other great tragedies? Is this even necessary? It has already been mingled with every other great war in America since the Civil War. Why add none war casualties to the mix?
It would seem that in a vain attempt to memorialize our more recent tragedies, we have undermined the memorializing of one of first and most devastating. The Civil War was a result of internal strife in America, and should be remembered for just that reason. The 9/11 tragedy was purportedly due to external strife. Should these things be fused in such a manner? Does this not invalidate our initial cause for remembrance?
My personal observations along with facts gleaned from the following :