A Brief History of Memorial Day
Despite being popular for the three-day weekend, the beginning of BBQ season, and being time to dust off your summer wardrobe, Memorial Day is a historically rich holiday honoring our fallen soldiers. (We really hope you already knew this.) The roots of Memorial Day reach back to Warrenton, Virginia in 1861. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, this was the location of the first Civil War soldier’s grave ever to be decorated.
As time went on the practice started to become more prevalent. In 1865, following Lincoln’s assassination, commemorations had become widespread. In 1868 Gen. Logan ordered his posts to decorate graves “with the choicest flowers of springtime” and declared “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 no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. 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.”
“Decoration Day” was the original holiday name until after World War II. “Memorial Day” then became the more common name but was not made official by Federal law until 1967. Congress and President Lyndon Johnson had declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day in 1966.
In 1971 Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of congress when it was also moved from May 30 to the last Monday in May, giving us the notorious three-day weekend. In December 2000 President Bill Clinton signed “The National Moment of Remembrance Act” with the purpose of encouraging all Americans to pause for a minute of silence at 3pm local time on Memorial Day. We encourage you to participate.
Memorial Day Flowers-Fort Custer
In 2018, Plumeria Botanical Boutique partnered with the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation to place roses on grave markers and hand out flowers to visitors and veterans at Fort Custer National Cemetery during the Memorial Day Ceremony.
The flowers are distributed at the cemetery by our volunteers that have chosen to participate in the event. 2018 was the first year Fort Custer National Cemetery was a part of the national floral tribute to our fallen soldiers. In 2017 there were 20 National Cemeteries included in the event supported by 191 retailers across the country totaling 252,175 roses.
Memorial Day Flowers Foundation provides the roses based upon the donations we obtain. We are currently seeking corporate sponsors and individual contributions can be made here for those who are interested.