A short history of Memorial Day for those that don't know:
It was orginally called Decoration Day, because it involved women going out and decorating the graves of the war dead. While there is rumored to be many birthplaces of this holiday, the one that was officially declared by a president is Waterloo, New York. Memorial Day was officially made a holiday in 1868 and the first observed Memorial Day was May 30, 1868- where flowers were placed on the graves of the Union and Confederate armies. It was only really acknowledged by the northern states, the southern states chose to celebrate it on a different day entirely until after World War I. The holiday originally was for celebrating only Civil War veterans until after World War I, when it changed to celebrating all Americans who died fighting in a war.
Moina Michael was the first person to wear red poppies for Memorial Day, and she started that in 1915. The poppies for war veterans idea flourished in other countries like France first, before coming back to the US in 1922. Memorial Day 1922 was the first year that the VFW made articfial poppies to sell. The funds went to help disabled veterans. Now a days, it is common for people to buy or wear red poppies for Memorial Day, and Ms. Michael is forever remembered for her work for the National Poppy movement.
Unfortunately, Memorial Day traditions have diminished with the ages. Nowadays, if you ask a child what Memorial Day is about, most will tell you camping or school being out. Parades are no longer held, graves are left unkept and undecorated, and even some people even think that this is a day for remembering all dead.
My family is not one of those families. We remember what Memorial Day is for and what it is about. Today amongst our family fun, we will be taking the time to visit Grandpa Louie and wishing him a happy holiday. We will also be making a trip to the local veteran's cemetary and placing four flags (one for each family member, even Rosalie!) and four red poppies on eight different graves that are decoration less. All war dead should be remembered on this day, even if they don't have family to remember them. :) I want to also try this new idea of doing crayon etchings of the names on each grave we decorate. We will also be participating in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3.
I urge you, blogging Americans, to also take some time today to thank a person serving or someone who has passed while serving for your freedom. Military people don't ever get enough credit, and we need to remind them, not just today, but everyday how important they are to us! Happy Memorial Day everyone! Stay safe!