Memorial Day origins back in Civil War

Memorial Day in the United States is observed on the last Monday of May (the 31st in 2010).

It was formerly known as Decoration Day to honor U.S. men and women who died serving their country while in action in service.

After the Civil War ended, many communities set aside a day to mark the end of the war.

Early states that observed this day included Maryland, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, Mississippi and Vermont.

The first celebration ceremony was held on May 1,1865 in Charleston, Virginia.

The crowd sang patriotic songs, heard sermons, and enjoyed a picnic on the grounds.

By May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan the commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a veteran’s organization, issued a proclamation that “Decoration Day” be observed nationwide.

The alternative name of “Memorial Day” was first used in 1882.

It was not declared official until 1967.

On June 28, 1968, the United States Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill which included Memorial Day, changing the May 30 date to the last Monday in May. This law took effect in 1971.

Many people observe this holiday by having memorial services and visiting cemeteries.

Some place flags on gravesites.

Milam County has a war Memorial on the courthouse grounds.

Milam Count y Veterans of World War I, World War II, Korean, and the Vietnam War are listed on this marker along with more recently deceased from the county.

Times have changed since a passenger train stopped alongside a railroad track,delivering a flagdraped coffin with an escort.

Such was the sad occasion when a loved one returned home to be remembered for his service.

Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion Posts from Cameron, Rockdale and Thorndale placed this marker at the courthouse in reverence and humility.

Cameron and Rockdale will hold Memorial Services on Monday May 31. Make your plans to show your respect for those fallen in combat.

Fly your U.S. Flag at half mast on May 31st in remembrance of those who gave their lives for us back home.

Research: Milam County War Dead Memorial, Milam County.

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2010-05-27 digital edition

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