Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30th of each year. The first large observance of Declaration (Memorial) Day was held after the Civil War ended on May 5, 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The ceremony included numerous speeches with children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home making their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns. It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who had died in all American wars.
My father served with the U.S. Army in World War II and while he did not speak much about it; he did mention, while we were watching a war movie on television, that he did serve under General Omar Bradley. Many years later, I held a vintage bottle of wine that was bottled in France in 1942. Stamped on its label was a Nazi swastika as it was produced during the German occupation of France that occurred between May 1940 and December 1944.
Mercy will be closed today in celebration of Memorial Day. Take time to personally thank a veteran today. They have given a part of themselves to preserve and protect all that we hold dear. Their sacrifices have shaped the world, removed tyranny and allowed us the freedoms that we enjoy on Memorial Day and every day.