What we Americans of this generation observe as “Memorial Day” was originally known as “Decoration Day.” Graves of soldiers who had given their lives in the Civil War were decorated with flowers to remember and honor their sacrifice. Later, the observance was renamed “Memorial Day,” to commemorate the sacrifice of all who died in all the wars.
Originally, Memorial Day was observed on May 30 of each year. It was intended as a day of solemn remembrance of those Americans who gave their lives, so that Americans of all generations might be free.
The greatest numbers of Americans called on to go to war to defend freedom was that generation whose childhood was of the Great Depression, and whose young adulthood was of World War II. More than 16-million Americans served in WWII. That generation came to be known as the “Greatest Generation.”
Memorial Day as observed by the Greatest Generation in the 40’s, 50’s, and until the late 60’s, was observed on the traditional date of May 30. Millions of Americans joined veterans to in public ceremonies, or decorated graves with Flags and flowers in all 125 National Veterans Cemeteries and tens of thousands of municipal and private cemeteries across the nation. On Memorial day, most Americans paused remembered those who gave their lives for freedom in an attitude of gratitude.CONTINUE READING