Evolving Decoration Day
By Jeff Salter
As one of the posts this week already noted, the new Memorial Day was formerly Decoration Day — a day to dress up old gravestones and honor those who died in battle. It has stretched quite a bit over the years to include memoralizing nearly anyone dear to you who has passed away — and I’m okay with that. In recent years, this holiday has also honored those First Responders – including workers in Fire, Police, EMT, and general Medical Care – who lost their lives in service.
Furthermore, it’s become somewhat a second Veteran’s Day on which all veterans are honored, whether dead or alive. I don’t make light of that, because I’m a vet and (truly) veterans deserve to be recognized. But it’s important to me for the traditions of the original decoration day to be observed. Decoration Day is a prominent feature in my novel “Hid Wounded Reb” and I’ve featured little write-ups about Decoration Day in several of my displays of militaria.
Here’s the piece I have often featured:
May 30 (observance in 2016)
Originally called Decoration Day, this is a day of remembrance for all those who have died in our nation’s service. Officially proclaimed in 1868, it was first observed on May 30 that year by placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Since 1968, its observance moves each year to the last Monday in May.
Here’s a look at Memorial Day tributes I’ve posted in the past years:
[JLS # 281]