Memorial Day Has Long History

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Texarkana Hosts Three Events

By JANE BECKERDITE

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America.

“Memorial Day means visiting Rose Hill Cemetery and saying ‘Thank You.’ It also means reading about hometown and community heroes. May we never forget the men and women who gave up their worldly life for our country,” said Jane Portis of Texarkana.

Three events will be held in Texarkana Monday to honor local heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. Those events will take place at the following times:

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At 11 a.m. at the Miller County Courthouse the American Legion 25-58 will host a walk to the Korea/Vietnam Memorial.
At 11:45 a.m. the Vietnam Veterans of America #278 will hold a service at the Korea/Vietnam Memorial.
At 1 p.m. a service will be held at Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery, hosted by Texarkana Funeral Home.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmCbiibZvX0

President Lyndon Johnson said in May 1966, that “It’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day,” so Waterloo, NY, was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day.

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.
-Gen. John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic

But regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear – Memorial Day was born out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead soldiers. It was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by Gen. John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic in his General Order No. 11.

“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,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

On the first Decoration Day, Gen. James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

As time has passed, some Americans have forgotten the meaning behind Memorial Day or have confused it with Veterans Day – a time in which we honor those men and women who have served in our armed forces. So, to help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, President Bill Clinton in December 2000 passed a resolution called the “National Moment of Remembrance.”
The resolution requests that at 3 p.m., local time, all Americans “voluntarily and informally observe, in their own way, a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or by listening to Taps.”

Additionally, questions often surface around this time of year about how to properly display the American flag. To clear up any confusion, here is what the law states:

  • The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water or merchandise.
  • The flag should never be used as apparel, bedding or drapery. It should never be festooned (decorated), drawn back, nor up in folds, but always allowed to fall free.
  • No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.
  • The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying or delivering anything.
  • The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
  • The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat.
  • For national Memorial Day events, the U.S. flag is briskly raised to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position where it remains until noon. The flag is then raised to full-staff position for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position is meant to be a symbol of the men and women who gave their lives in service of their country.
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