Origins of Memorial Day

May 26, 2006

Memorial Day was officially declared a national holiday by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, but it is believed that "it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's," at the time of the Civil War. According to the History page from the web site, USMemorialDay.org, this day was originally referred to as Decoration Day, and was recognized as "a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service…There is evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920)." For more, see http://www.usmemorialday.org/.

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