Memorial Day or Decoration Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day.
Regardless of the date or the clear origins, It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. “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,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.
There is a new trend to set off fireworks on Memorial Day. There is no better way to get away from the meaning of the day, a somber event to remember those who paid for our freedoms with their lives. It also takes away from the holiday where it appropriately takes place – Independence Day or July 4th. The excuse is people are on vacation on July 4th.
There is a rising chorus of those who want to stop the fireworks on July 4th.
We’ve already watered down the meaning of July 4th so much so that many of our youth don’t know what it really means. We did it in part by simply calling it July 4th instead of Independence Day. It is a day to commemorate the birth of our Republic, the one now dying under a Socialist administration with totalitarian tendencies.
There is no cause for fireworks on Memorial Day. It’s not a celebration, it’s a commemoration to those who died for us. Take the children, go to a military cemetery, and decorate the graves if you want to remember what the day means. Give out poppies, donate to our veterans, particularly our homeless veterans, but skip the fireworks.