In 1868, three years after the Civil War ended, Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, leader of a Union veterans’ organization, established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of soldiers who had died in the war. He chose May 30, possibly because he knew flowers would be in bloom all over the country on that day.
Logan’s declaration, in part, said: “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. … Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”
Arlington National Cemetery was the site of the first official observance, attended by Washington dignitaries as well as the public. After the speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and Union veterans walked through the cemetery, placing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves.
In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday that would be celebrated on the last Monday in May.
Since 2000, Americans have been encouraged to observe a National Moment of Remembrance by pausing at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to honor those who have died serving the nation.
At Bay Village we will hold our annual Memorial Day Ceremony at 11 a.m. on May 25 in the auditorium We hope to see you there!