Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The real story behind Memorial Day

It's seems only appropriate that for the holiday that commemorates war dead and valiant veterans we should remember who had the idea in the first place. I asked a bunch of well educated friends if they knew the origins of Memorial Day and virtually everyone said, "yeah, it started right after World War I." I can only surmise that Memorial Day and Veterans Day have become one in the minds of most of us.

The true origins of Memorial Day, I now know, thanks to Jim Downs and his explanation on History News Network a few days ago (http://hnn.us/articles/who-invented-memorial-dayhttp://hnn.us/articles/who-invented-memorial-day), is freed men and women in Charleston toward the end of the Civil War.  These freedmen gathered to honor the Union soldiers who had fought (whether they intended to or not) to free them.  Three years later, General John Logan ordered that May 30 that year be observed as Decoration Day.

General John Logan Statue, Grant ParkIt also seems appropriate to remember the origins of Memorial Day now when parts of the nation are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

The photo at the right is of the statue of General Logan  in Grant Park, Chicago.

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