Most of us think of Memorial Day as the unofficial start to summer. It’s the kick-off to the BBQ, beach and pool season. Often, it’s a much-needed day off from work to gather with family and friends and celebrate. But most importantly, Memorial Day is a time to remember our fallen service men and women and reflect on their great service to and sacrifice for our Nation.
Memorial Day as we know it grew out of a practice held during and after the Civil War. Southern women decorated the graves of Confederate soldiers in honor of their sacrifice. At the time, they were buried wherever they died, which was often far from home. Those who lived near these battlefields and makeshift cemeteries took on the responsibility of caring for the graves of strangers. In doing so, they were honoring their own loved ones whose final resting places they would probably never see. The day was then called “Decoration Day.”
After the Civil War, Gen. John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, the veterans organization of former Union soldiers, ordered flowers placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. This was the first official act of “Decoration Day” on May 30th, 1868. It was intended as an act of unification and healing as both sides were again united as a single nation.
In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved Memorial Day to the last Monday in May, though the first nationwide Monday Memorial Day didn’t take place until 1971. Over the next few years, every state in the union adopted this schedule as the official holiday, thus creating the three-day Memorial Day weekend coast to coast.
Regardless of the history, Memorial Day is a day to remember, honor and reflect upon those who have died in service. Today, Dr. Newton’s Naturals pauses to solute those men and women who gave their lives for our great nation.