Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/12/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The brief history of Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is fast approaching and for many people it happens to be a day off work. Trips have been planned and parties organized, yet many people forget that Memorial Day is not intended to be an occasion of jubilation. Memorial Day has always been intended to serve as a day to remember those who died in war.

Memorial Day is a day to honor our lost heroes, those who gave all that we may live free.

Memorial Day is a day to honor our lost heroes, those who gave all that we may live free.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/12/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Memorial Day, history, brief, honor, military, veterans, sacrifice, number of Americans killed in war


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -  Throughout the world, various traditions, possibly dating to prehistoric times, have celebrated those who fell during conflict. Graves have long been adorned with flowers, however the observances were always ad-hoc. In the United States, the first organized commemoration of the holiday took place during the American Civil War.

The roots of the holiday are subject to historical debate but there were several instances of memorial observances staged in the South, then shortly thereafter in the North, during the war. As soon as the war concluded, a public observance took place in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 1, 1865 dedicated to Union soldiers who died in an area prisoner of war camp.

Pray for our veterans, and those who died for us.

In 1866, the idea of a special holiday to commemorate the war dead was proposed to former Union General John Murray, who shared the idea with fellow soldiers in New York. In addition to General Murray, the idea was also promoted by General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Union veterans organization. The notion quickly gathered support and national services were organized, patterned after observances in the former Confederacy. The day was referred to as "Decoration Day."

Decorate the veteran in your family with a Catholic medal.

The occasion was soon replicated across several states in the following years. With 600,000 killed during the war, many Americans had reason to mourn.

In 1882, the name of the holiday began to change to Memorial Day, although its observances remained the same. The holiday was frequently observed and in 1971, the federal government officially proclaimed the day "Memorial Day" set for the last Monday in May.

Initially, the holiday which arguably began in the South, became a subject of division. Southerners objected to the northern promotion of the holiday and felt disenfranchised. Many Southern states refraind from official celebration for years, preferring instead to memorialize their war losses in other ways. Some places observed General Robert E. Lee's birthday instead and memorilized their dead on that day (Jan 19, also Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday).

However, the bitterness of the Civil War eventually faded and the holiday took on new significance as the U.S. found itself engaged in new wars around the globe.

Although the purpose of the holiday is to remember those who died in war, many Americans have forgotten its sting. It's an ironic twist, considering the United States remains in the midst of its longest running war in history, engaged against Al Qaeda and terrorists since 2001.

For most Americans, the holiday has become an extended weekend with festivals and other leisure activities scheduled for the time previously set aside for memorial observances. For the United States, the holiday marks the beginning of the summer season when children break from school and vacations start.

Despite the happy correlation between vacations and the holiday, many Americans still observe the original holiday and all its solemn decorum. Veterans groups stage memorial services to honor the dead as well as various churches and organizations. The President is expected to visit the tomb of the Unknown Soldier to lay a wreath, symbolizing the nation's reverence for those who sacrificed everything for the rest of us.

That the United States remains a free country, whose freedom is only jeopardized from within, is a testament to the courageous sacrifice of our veterans. Throughout American history over 1.32 million Americans have died in war. Another 1.5 million have been wounded. Countless others have lived with the psychological scars of war without the loss of limbs. And most Americans have seen or heard of war's devastating effect on their families and friends. Even today, private homes are torn apart by the collateral effects of war.

This is an epic price, but one that we still deem worth the sacrifice, all things considered. We still enlist our youth, we dedicate billions of dollars to defense, and we continue to improve the quality of life for our veterans, even if only in small increments.

The least that is asked of the rest of us is to pause and remember those who sacrificed for us. Although Memorial Day is dedicated to the memory of the dead, it is also fitting to remember our veterans who live with the scars of service.

Catholic Shopping .com is making it possible to remember veterans this Memorial Day by inviting readers to light a candle for our fallen heroes. Given that many of us will do little else that day but rest or play, it is the least we can do to show our gratitude.

May God bless our troops and may God bless America.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Statue of Blessed Father Junipero Serra safe - for now at U.S. capitol Watch

Image of State legislatures have the authority to decide which two statues will represent their state at the U.S. Capitol.

By CNA/EWTN News

An effort to remove the statue of Bl. Junipero Serra from the U.S. Capitol has been set aside for the time being. Los Angeles (CNA/EWTN News) - A statue of Franciscan missionary and saint-to-be Father Junipero Serra has stood in the U.S. Capitol since 1931. However, a ... continue reading


On this Fourth of July, We Need a Declaration of Dependence Watch

Image of The real promise of the Declaration of the Declaration of Independence now cries out for those who believe in its promise to stand up for its true meaning and work to restore the unique experiment in ordered liberty which it offers for future generations.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Declaration of Independence was the birth certificate of the United States of America, a Nation often called the American Experiment because of the very fact that it was founded upon principles. The words are still memorized by schoolchildren and can bring a ... continue reading


Learning from the Wonderful Witness of 'Doubting' Thomas Watch

Image of Thomas the doubter became the Thomas the model believer, an example for each one of us. He is a great beacon of light for all of us as we cry out with him, MY LORD AND MY GOD!

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

What conclusion, dear brethren, do you come to? Surely it was not by chance that this chosen disciple, was missing in the first place? Or that on his return he heard, that hearing he doubted, that doubting he touched, and that touching he believed? It was by ... continue reading


Catholic Church in U.S. has weathered adversity before - and will emerge triumphant, historian says Watch

Image of As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says.

By Matt Hadro, CNA/EWTN News

As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's okay to realize that ... continue reading


After same-sex unions legalized, polygamous Montana trio demands same Watch

Image of The 46-year-old Nathan Collier owns a refrigeration business in Billings. He married 40-year-old Victoria in 2000. His second wife, Christine, was wed in a religious wedding ceremony in 2007 without a marriage license in order to avoid bigamy charges.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was bound to happen. After the Supreme Court ruled same-sex unions legal in all 50 states, other proponents of non-traditional arrangements are clamoring for equality under the law. Nathan Collier, along with his wives Victoria and Christine have applied at ... continue reading


350-pound dolphin accidentally lands on cruise ship severely injuring woman Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To kick off the summer break and celebrate Father's day, a family went aboard a cruise that ended with a traumatizing accident. As the cruise started to sail back to the harbor, a group of dolphins started to swim alongside the boat. However, as the passengers started ... continue reading


Episcopalians overwhelmingly vote to let same-sex weddings in churches Watch

Image of Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly this week to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly this week to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples. The Episcopal Church has long been on the forefront of equal rights for homosexuals, ever since electing it first openly gay bishop 10 years ago.  LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


TERROR LEAK: ISIS learns of FBI command centers across U.S. for Fourth of July Watch

Image of One such likely ISIS candidate, 23-year-old Alaa Saadeh, was believed to be part of a group interested in detonating a pressure cooker bomb at a New York landmark.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It appears that an important bit of counter-terrorism may have landed into the wrong hands. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI is installing command centers around the nation to prepare for possible terror attacks for the coming Fourth of July holiday ... continue reading


Remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan 'feel forgotten' Watch

Image of Several US Troops felt abandoned and forgotten by the US government

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A total of 10,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan. These troops believe they have been forgotten by the Obama administration, as the US Government shifts its attention to ISIS. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The US Troops, 10,000 men and women left ... continue reading


Risk for massive earthquake in California increases as scientists find dangerous helium coming from fault zone Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers recently discovered helium leaking from a giant fault in the Earth's crust near Los Angeles, as well as discovering an increase in chance for California to have an 8.0 magnitude earthquake. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - They did not expect the ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 28:10-22
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 3-4, 14-15
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 9:18-26
18 While he was speaking to them, suddenly one of the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 6th, 2015 Image

St. Maria Goretti
July 6: Born in Corinaldo, Ancona, Italy, on October 16 1890; her ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter