Memorial Day (originally known as Decoration Day) was first observed in 1868 to honor the soldiers of the Civil War. Its origins can be traced back to General John A. Logan who proclaimed: "The 30th 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." Has the original meaning of the day been lost?
All the e-cards are 123Greetings are free to send to friends and family, and the Memorial Day collection is pretty big (more than thirty choices.) "Memorial Day is a day to remember our heroes who sacrificed their lives to protect our Nation. It's also a day to salute those who are facing great adversity to ensure our freedom & safety. So reach out to your friends/ family/ and salute these extraordinary people."
It is believed that the end of May was chosen for the first Memorial Day because "because flowers would be in bloom all over the country." Visit the Department of Veterans Affairs Memorial Day site for a comprehensive history of the holiday, the story of taps, and to learn how the poppy became the Flower of Remembrance. There are also links to national observances, veteran statistics, and flag protocol.
Using the green menu links on the left hand side, explore the history of Memorial Day, interactive battle maps and veteran trivia. "The number of U.S. armed forces personnel who served in World War II between Dec. 1, 1941, and Dec. 31, 1946 was 16.1 million." My favorite click is the Timeline of American Wars, which is organized by centuries, and clicks through to encyclopedia articles for more detail on each war.
USMemorialDay.org is a niche Memorial Day directory with a nice collection of annotated links and a cause: to restore Memorial Day to May 30th. Webmaster David Merchant argues that creating a three-day weekend out of Memorial Day by floating the celebration to the last Monday in May has decreased the meaning of the holiday. Visit his site to learn more, and to vote in the poll. Be sure to check out the Online Activities section which links to a dozen assorted Memorial Day quizzes, puzzles, games and lesson plans.
The White House Commission on Remembrance is an executive branch agency created to ensure that we remember America's fallen veterans, and to promote the National Moment of Remembrance: a minute of silence on 3 PM local time, Memorial Day. Unique content includes a Chronology of Terror (starting with the Beirut embassy bombing in 1983), various renditions of a new Memorial Day anthem (titled "On This Day"), and downloadable artwork, audio and video that can be used to promote the National Moment of Remembrance.