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Memorial Day History

From the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs . . . "Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns."

From Quilt Alliance, Dianne Higley shares "Back during the Civil War . . . they would have the family members sign their names and then they would send the quilt off to war with their soldier and a lot of these soldiers carried those quilts all the way through the war, but not many of them survived. When a soldier was killed, he would be buried in his quilt. Quilts have come a long way. Back then they were made out of scrap fabric what was left out of clothing that could no longer be worn, but now we go to the store and we buy fabrics and make them."

This year, the Iowa Quilt Museum (on the town square in historic Winterset, Iowa) is celebrating with a Quilts of Valor Patriotic Quilt Display (on display through July 9, 2017). On Memorial Day, thirteen quilts will be awarded to local veterans at the annual Memorial Day Ceremony at the Winterset Cemetery.

Jinny Beyer's Memorial Day Holiday message is lovingly simple and the quilt is stunning.

3P &N's Memorial Day Weekend "In Memory of Our Heroes" graphic is heartfelt.

And, Piecing a Memory reminds us to take time to remember.

So, as you honor our Veterans by placing American flags in local cemeteries, display Old Glory at the front of your home, adorn yourself in patriotic colors, watch a parade, travel to a lake or beach, or enjoy a BBQ picnic - add your special patriotic touch as thanks in honoring Americans who have died in all wars.

". . . Yours has the suffering been,

The memory shall be ours."

from "Decoration Day'"

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,

Maine Historical Society, Accessed May 29, 2017

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