Memorial Day Observance

By John Iekel • May 25, 2018 • 0 Comments
We won’t be bringing you an ASPPA Connect newsletter on Monday due to the observance of Memorial Day, but we would like to share some little-known facts and background about the holiday.

Boalsburg, PA, claims that it is the birthplace of Memorial Day, since in 1864 a teenager mourning her father who had served in the Union Army and a mother honoring her son who died in the Battle of Gettysburg placed flowers on their graves and began an annual town tradition.

Waterloo, NY held a Memorial Day ceremony on May 5, 1866 for the first time. On May 26, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a proclamation that “officially recognized that the patriotic tradition of observing Memorial Day began one hundred years ago in Waterloo, New York.” This was because ever since Waterloo started the practice it has held an annual community event, businesses have closed for the observance and residents have decorated soldiers’ graves with flags and flowers.

General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Union Civil War veterans, on May 5, 1868 called for a nationwide day of remembrance to be held later that month. Said Logan, “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

On the first Decoration Day, Union General and future 20th U.S. President James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 attendees decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

We’ll be back on Wednesday, May 30 with the next ASPPA Connect.