Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/12/2014 (4 months 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 (4 months 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'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More U.S.

Father Frank Pavone: 16433 Children Buried in One Grave Watch

Image of Fr. Pavone prays at the graveside of the children

By Fr. Frank Pavone

For many years, this mass grave had no marker or headstone, just as the children have no names. But now there is a stone, and we are going to name the babies. Supporters of abortion do not want people to see mass graves in our midst. It's too disturbing a ... continue reading


Nice try! Democrats try to distance themselves from Obama for midterm, but it's too late! Watch

Image of Kentucky Senate candidate, Alison Grimes, seen here with a shotgun in an ad where she attempts to distance herself from the disastrous and unpopular policies of President Barack Obama.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Democratic Senate candidate, Alison Grimes, is trying her best to let Kentuckians know that she is certainly not an Obama Democrat, releasing a campaign ad where she wields a gun to prove it. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Grimes' 30-second ad takes place in ... continue reading


Are terrorists invading the US through the open border with Mexico? Watch

Image of The Islamic State nay already have sympathizers and cells within the USA. The porous border does nothing to aid the situation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Americans are worried that the Islamic State will soon conduct terror attacks within the U.S., inserting agents via the porous border between the states and Mexico. At least one sheriff has told the media he received an official alert while the federal government is ... continue reading


'We'll send them to hell!' Texas sheriff declares war on Islamic State Watch

Image of Texas sheriff Gary Painter reveals that he believes the Islamic State has already infiltrated the U.S. through the porous southern border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Law enforcement agencies along the U.S.-Mexico border have received alerts to be on the lookout for terrorists from Islamic State attempting to cross into the United States, a sheriff from the region has said. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Midland County ... continue reading


And you thought you had bad traffic! Tropical storm strands thousands in Nevada Watch

Image of Heavy rain washed out numerous portions of Nevada's critical I-15, leaving many drivers stranded or forced to take roundabout backways.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In what may be the area's worst storm in decades, a 2-mile-long stretch of highway in Moapa Nevada was destroyed by four inches of rain that occurred in just an hour, part of the end of Tropical Storm Norbert. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The rain caused ... continue reading


What do you do when a man takes off with millions in sunken treasure? Watch

Image of Gold coins recovered from the SS Central America.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the past two years, U.S. marshals have been on the hunt for Tommy Thompson, the man who made the greatest lost treasure discovery in American history back in 1988. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Thompson has been on the run as a fugitive after he skipped a ... continue reading


Wore out his welcome: Obama advocates withdrawing their support Watch

Image of A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll has yielded some most striking findings. The degree to which the president's approval has slipped among key parts of the Obama coalition, such as women, youth and Latino voters who put in him back in charge two years ago.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

U.S. President Barack Obama's support has been rapidly dwindling stateside. The president, in particular has alienated women voters, especially those who re-elected him in 2012. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "He's been faced with a lot of challenges, and ... continue reading


Values Voters: What We Can Learn from Ted Cruz Being Booed at the In Defense of Christians Conference Watch

Image of Senator Ted Cruz from Texas was the keynote speaker at what was billed as a Gala Solidarity Dinner. Sadly, it certainly did not demonstrate solidarity between Christians. A small group in the assembly, rudely and loudly, reacted negatively to some of the words Senator Cruz spoke as he expressed his convictions concerning the persecution taking place in this land which is properly holy, precisely because of its role in God's loving plan of salvation for the whole human race.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The events of Wednesday, September 10, 2014, at the Inaugural In Defense of Christians Gala make abundantly clear that there is a serious and urgent need for values voters to meet and discuss the crisis in the Mideast and ways in which we can work together to ... continue reading


Democrats and Republicans stand together against the Islamic State at inaugural Christian summit Watch

Image of The Islamic State has continued to murder and persecute Christians in every region they have conquered, displacing millions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

California representative Anna Eshoo (D.) spoke at a special summit called In Defense of Christians (IDC) on September 10, commenting on the continuing persecution and slaughter of Christians at the hands of Islamic extremists in the Middle East, specifically by ... continue reading


War? Congress and administration agree on conflict, argue over who declares it Watch

Image of President Obama's speech on September 10 outlined continued conflict against the Islamic State, and so far responses among Congress and within party lines have been mixed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During a live address to the nation on September 10, President Obama promised to destroy the Islamic State, functionally declaring war without the support or approval of Congress. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This might be for the best, as a majority of ... 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, First Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31
12 For as with the human body which is a unity ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:1-2, 3, 4, 5
1 [Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:11-17
11 It happened that soon afterwards he went to a town ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 16th, 2014 Image

St. Cornelius
September 16: Cornelius whose feast day is September 16th. A Roman priest, ... 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