Article by Tom Dewell
Memorial Day is coming soon; this year May 27th, and has become one of America’s favorite holiday weekends for outdoor activities and grilling. It has become the unofficial start of summer and as such is most often celebrated with food.
But it wasn’t always that way. It began as a day to memorialize the soldiers who gave their lives in the 1860’s during the “late rebellion” as it was called by MG John A. Logan on May 5, 1868. He designated May 30th as Decoration Day thusly:
“The 30th day 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”.
By the late 1800s, all northern states recognized Decoration Day, adorning the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers. After World War I, Decoration Day, which would later become Memorial Day, honored all U.S. military dead. For decades, May 30 was a solemn day of remembrance. It had nothing to do with food, drink, or a Monday off work.
But in 1971 when Congress made it an official national holiday, they also moved it to the Monday nearest its original date in order to create a 3-day weekend so that workers could have a day off.
But, although it has changed its focus for many, it can combine both ideas and we can all celebrate that many Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice in what they believed was the good of their country and honor them with a good grilled steak and a bottle of wine – both of which are available at your Yelm Co-op!Read More