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Memorial Day and the Civil War

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Monday, May 26th Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

The history of Memorial Day dates back to the Civil War

Just outside Columbus Mississippi in April of 1866 four young women visited the cemetery to tend the graves of loved ones, decorating them with flowers.

After decorating the graves of the confederate the women walked over to the Union soldiers were buried. They scattered magnolia blossoms on the northern graves.

News spread of the compassionate gesture touching everyone.

Editorials praised the act of reconciliation and urged the nation to come together to morn both “the Blue and the Grey.”

Soon people all over the country were gathering at Civil War cemeteries and holding “memorial day” -originally known as Decoration Day- services; followed by parades and picnics.

During the late nineteenth century, this Decoration Day was a major American holiday.

In 1868, General John A. Logan commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, designated May 30 as Memorial Day.

After World War I, Memorial Day observances also began to honor those who had died in all of America's wars. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May.

Today Memorial Day is recognized as a day honoring all of those who have fought America’s wars, celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. Our president or vice-president gives a speech and a wreath is placed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. About 5,000 people attend the ceremony annually.


Rhonda Cratty includes her experiences of 30 years of public school teaching, raising children of her own, and articles written for on-line and hard copy publications -within the pages of Learning at home. Learning at home can be purchased in print or eBook form through



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