United States Department of Veterans Affairs
"Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service. In observance of the holiday, many people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time."
The website includes links to:
- History of Memorial Day
- National Cemetery Administration
- "The Story of Taps"
(From www1.va.gov/opa/publications/celebrate/taps.pdf. (May 25, 2014))
- Arlington National Cemetery
"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. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but Posts and comrades will, in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
"We are organized, Comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, 'of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers sailors and marines, who united to suppress the late rebellion.' What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead? We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security, is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic...."
I have somewhat non-standard opinions about the War Between the States, and what was done to the South for the next century. Still, that business about "a free and undivided republic" isn't complete hooey. I think it's a good thing that some folks in America pay attention to the old traditions.
However, I also recognize that it hasn't been the Victorian Age for quite a while. I wrote about that yesterday.
- "Memorial Day Weekend, 2010: a Long Weeked - and Something Else"
(May 29, 2010)