Tag Archives: Knoxville Memorial Day

Memorial Day Are You Celebrating for the Right Reason?

Memorial Day

It’s Memorial Day weekend, but it’s much more than the official first weekend of summer. Memorial Day weekend is a day of remembrance and is dedicated to veterans who have fallen while serving for the United States of America.

Some confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day, but the two federal holidays are quite different.

How Did Memorial Day Begin?

Memorial Day, called Decorations Day, is dedicated to the people who have died while serving the United States of America.

The first to recognize Decoration Day as a Holiday in 1873 was New York. In 1890, the rest of the Northern states proclaimed Decorations Day as an official holiday. The south did not acknowledge the holiday and started there own Decorations Day to honor those who had fallen during the Civil war.

Where Did Memorial Day Begin?

Many cities across the United States claim Memorial Day as their own.

The town of Columbus Miss held a ceremony at a local cemetery to honor the Confederate soldiers who died during the battle of Shiloh. However, when they saw the nearby graves of the enemy, the Union, they placed flowers on their graves as well. Consequently, Columbus proclaims the official first Decorations Day as their own.

Columbus and Macon GA along with Richmond VA, Carbondale, Illinois and Boalsburg PA all claim to be the originators of Memorial Day.

The Pomp and Circumstance

On May 30, ceremonies were held with state legislation passing the proclamations to designate Memorial Day as an official holiday in the late 1800s. Veterans walked in parades while town leaders gave speeches.

Even in 1971, the day of remembrance had not been officially named as a federal holiday. Some states still refer to Memorial Day as Decoration Day.

Many southern states have their own holidays to honor the fallen Confederate soldiers. Alabama celebrates Confederate Memorial Day on the 4th Monday in April while Mississippi celebrates on the last Monday in April. South and North Carolina observe Confederate Memorial Day on 10 May. Louisiana celebrates on 3 June with Tennessee calling the same date Confederate Decoration Day.

Declaring Decorations Day

Regardless of the exact date or location, Decorations Day began after the Civil War. General John Logan, who was the National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed that, “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.” The General declared it Decoration Day, as it wasn’t meant to be the anniversary of any battle in particular.

The speech given by General James Garfield was the first Decoration Day at Arlington Cemetery where over 5,000 people celebrated. People decorated graves of the 20,000 Confederate and Union soldiers who were buried there.

When you dig into those barbecued ribs this weekend, take a moment. Be with family and friends, and remember what the holiday is for. Also, remember, had it not been for the veterans you may not be celebrating at all.

Have a Happy Memorial Day from Knoxweb. Stay safe and enjoy, but most importantly remember why you are celebrating.

Memorial Day and Decoration Day

Memorial Day

This Memorial Day weekend take a moment to remember the real reason that the last weekend in May is dedicated to the veterans who have served the United States of America.

Originally known as Decorations Day, Memorial Day is a day that is dedicated to the remembrance of the people who have died while serving the United States of America.

New York was the first state to recognize Decoration Day as a Holiday in 1873, with all of the Northern States proclaiming it a holiday in 1890. The South refused to acknowledge Decorations Day, instead honoring their own dead on another day until after the First World War when the holiday changed from those who died in the Civil War to honoring all Americans who died during battle in any United States war.

With that being said, some claim their town to be the first to celebrate Decoration Day. Columbus, Miss held a ceremony with a group of women visiting a cemetery on April 25, 1866. They were there to decorate the Confederate soldiers graves who had died fighting the battle of Shiloh, however, when they noticed that the nearby graves of the enemy had been neglected they placed flowers on the Union soldiers graves as well.

Cities in the South and the North claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. Columbus and Macon GA, Richmond, VA, Boalsburg, PA and Carbondale, Illinois all say that the first Memorial Day took place in their township. At last count 25 towns and cities have claimed to be the originator of Memorial Day.

Memorial Day ceremonies were held on May 30 at the end of the 1800’s with state legislature passing proclamations to designate the day as an official holiday.

In 1971, Memorial Day became a national holiday, and although it was, and in some cases, is still referred to as Decoration Day, the holiday was officially known as Memorial Day.

Many states in the South have their own holidays honoring the fallen Confederate soldiers. Alabama celebrates Confederate Memorial Day on the 4th Monday in April while Mississippi celebrates on the last Monday in April. North and South Carolina observe Confederate Memorial Day on 10 May. Louisiana celebrates on 3 June with Tennessee calling the same date Confederate Decoration Day.

Regardless of the exact location or date, Decoration Day began after the Civil War when General John Logan, who was the National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed that, “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.” The General called it Decoration Day, as it wasn’t meant to be the anniversary of any battle in particular.

General James Garfield gave a speech on the first Decoration Day at Arlington Cemetery where more than 5,000 people decorated the 20,000 Confederate and Union soldiers who were buried there.

As you enjoy the long weekend with family and friends take a moment to remember all of those who have made it possible for you to enjoy your barbecues and picnics in the land of the free.

Knoxweb would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Memorial Day.