Memorial Day is a holiday that many look forward to. Many look at this holiday as a celebration that summer will soon be here, marked with barbeques and parades. While it is fun to get together, play Rollors in your backyard with friends and enjoy the three day weekend, Memorial Day is about remembering the people who died while serving in our country’s armed forces. We should also continue to thank those who have served and are serving currently. As we all know, freedom is never free. But many do not know how Memorial Day started or any other interesting facts. Here is a list of some great tidbits of info you can pass on to your backyard party guests during your Memorial Day celebration:
- Memorial Day came after the unprecedented carnage after the Civil War. 620,000 men lost their lives during that war. The remembrance of these men started by women who put flowers on the graves of the fallen soldiers both Confederate and Union on April 1866. This was also when 219 Civil War veterans marched through town in Carbondale, Illinois in remembrance. It is there that Union hero Maj. Gen. John A. Logan delivered an address and this observance became the first organized, community led Memorial Day service.
- Before it was known as Memorial Day, it was first called Decoration Day. This was because of the practice of the women who would decorate the graves of the fallen soldiers with flower, wreaths and flags. Though Memorial Day dates back to 1882 but many still called it Decoration Day until after World War II.
- Many southern states did not observe Memorial Day until After World War I. Those states celebrated Confederate Memorial Day where they honored their soldiers specifically. To this day, there are several southern states that still set aside a day honoring the Confederate dead. Its date varies from state to state.
- If it wasn’t for World War I or World War II, Memorial Day may have disappeared. The deaths of the remaining Civil War veterans had caused the holiday to slowly fall off the calendar. It wasn’t until these huge wars that the country was called to continue to remember our fallen soldiers once again. It was the veterans of these wars that successfully lobbied to make Memorial Day a national holiday in 1968.
- While many reported that the famous bugle tune, Taps, came from a Civil War captain who found his son dead among the Confederate bodies this is actually an urban legend. It actually came from Union Brig. Gen Daniel Butterfield during the Civil War who preferred this somber song over the customary firing of three rifle volleys at the end of burials during battle. Historians said that he took the song from the French called Tattoo that was played as their army’s lights outs and changed a few notes to make it what is in now.