Memorial Day, Originally Called Decoration Day………


Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.

There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping” by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication “To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead” (Source: Duke University’s Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920).

While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day.

It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860’s tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day.

There is also evidence that organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping” by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication “To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead” (Source: Duke University’s Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860’s tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

Another story attributes the origin

of Memorial Day was started by former slaves on May, 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. They dug up the bodies and worked for 2 weeks to give them a proper burial as gratitude for fighting for their freedom. They then held a parade of 10,000 people led by 2,800 Black children where they marched, sang and celebrated.Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

Another story attributes the origin

of Memorial Day was started by former slaves on May, 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. They dug up the bodies and worked for 2 weeks to give them a proper burial as gratitude for fighting for their freedom. They then held a parade of 10,000 people led by 2,800 Black children where they marched, sang and celebrated.

He was both a war hero and a politician, but General John A. Logan (in photo with his family) of Illinois is also remembered as the man who helped create Memorial Day. After an illustrious Civil War career, Union General Logan served as a member of Congress from 1867-1871. In 1871, he was elected as a U.S. Senator from Illinois while also serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic—a powerful veterans’ organization. Through his efforts, the first public holiday (Decoration Day; now Memorial Day) was established to honor casualties from the Civil War (and ensuing conflicts). Concerned that their sacrifices might be forgotten, he helped create Memorial Day as a national holiday by issuing (as the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic) General Order No. 11 “Logan’s Memorial Day Order” on May 5, 1868. Today, it is the Logan name itself that has become easily recognizable throughout the country in honor of General John A. Logan. In Chicago, the area known as Logan Square can be traced to the general, and an inspiring statue of General Logan resides in downtown Grant Park. Other Logan namesakes include counties in Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Illinois, and North Dakota, as well as Logan Township in New Jersey. Logan Junior High School (Princeton, IL) and Logan College (Carterville, IL) are named after Logan. In addition to the previously mentioned statue of General Logan in Grant Park, one may also visit statues of Logan in (of course!) Logan Square in Washington, D.C. as well as Vicksburg, MS and Raleigh, NC. Many others exist due to the popularity of the general following the Civil War as well as his strong support in the creation of Memorial Day.

About royfmc

BS in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University's McCormick College of Engineering MBA from DePaul University's Kellstadt's College of Business JD from DePaul University's College of Law
This entry was posted in Chicago, D Day, Elections, Employing Disabled, Illinois, illinois politics, Leyden, Memorial Day, News, politics, Roy F. McCampbell, Schiller Park, senator durbin, senator Mulroe, Social Media, Uncategorized, USCongress, vietnam, vietnam virtual wall, vietnam wall, War on Terror, World War II and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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