Friday, May 27, 2016
Happy Memorial Day!
As we approach Memorial Day do you know how it originated? Or where it originated? Although many places lay claim to a decoration day after the Civil War in which they decorated graves in their cemeteries of the war dead, Waterloo, New York is officially the first to have started a yearly tradition throughout the village.
Here’s a quote from the U. S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs website:
“Official Birthplace Declared In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.”
Now then, who’s good with math? For those that aren’t it was fifty years ago that it was officially declared and this year is the one hundred and fiftieth Decoration (now Memorial) Day.
Although many of us now commemorate the holiday as the unofficial start of summer with trips, camping and barbecues, this is what the original intent was. I was touched by how many people responded to my post from yesterday about still carrying out the tradition of decorating families’ graves. That was what I was taught as a child, to make sure that all the recently passed relatives had flowers or other decorations on their graves if at all possible. We also did other activities that usually included camping and cooking outside as well.
I see that Waterloo is doing a big celebration as is fitting for such an occasion. There are many activities for people to participate in and enjoy. Personally, I will be staying away from there as it is becoming way too hot this weekend and I really, really hate crowds! However, you decide to celebrate the holiday--- Enjoy!