Appalachia Holidays in Appalachia Music

Remembering on Memorial Day

Memorial Day was created to honor fallen soldiers of the Civil War and was originally called Decoration Day. John L. Logan is largely responsible for organizing the day, and in 1868 declared:

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. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

As time, and wars, went by people began honoring all fallen soldiers on the day no matter when or how they had served their country. In 1971 Congress declared Memorial Day to be an official holiday occurring on the last Monday in May to honor all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving in the Armed Forces of The United States of America.



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  • Reply
    May 30, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Good for you, Tipper – very well done.
    I tried to write a blog post about Memorial Day yesterday, but after struggling with it for a good long while I just got so sad I couldn’t string the words together. So I posted a 3-minute video (from Ken Burns’ “Civil War”) of Sullivan Ballou’s letter to his wife, written just before the first battle of Bull Run.

  • Reply
    June Jolley
    May 29, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    Beautiful tribute, Tipper. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Becky Catoe-Aikey
    May 29, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    That is my dad in your from Vietnam at the :51 second mark, I would love to know where you got the picture. Very cool to see!

  • Reply
    Charles Fletcher
    May 29, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    I remember it well. 1942-1946 . When viewing this video it
    brought back memories. Memories of that cold water in
    the English channel of Omaha Beach I waded thru. I am
    documenting my experiences of [email protected] in the book I am now
    writing. Going very slow at my age of 95. This and future generations
    should always remember the cost of our freedem.
    Charles Fletcher

  • Reply
    May 29, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Thank you for this Memorial Day Tribute. Seeing the flag-draped caskets in the plane brought me to tears. My maternal great-grandfather fought in the War between the States, and my daddy, my uncle by marriage, my father-in-law, andmy stepfather-in-law fought in WWII. My father-in-law fought in Korea and was headed to Viet Nam but was killed in an accident before he was supposed to leave. I have my Dad’s medals.

  • Reply
    May 29, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    War is an awful thing, but sometimes necessary. My oldest brother, Bud, served in the Army and was in the Korean War. One morning he was in an outpost and cooking breakfast and a North Korean surprised him. He had a gun and my brother couldn’t reach his, but the North Korean had no bullets and wanted to surrender. They hugged as the North Korean turned over his rifle and my brother saw that he was treated with dignity and respect. Bud got to come home to loving arms but so many didn’t.
    The Lord looked after him. …Ken

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    May 29, 2017 at 11:48 am

    TWICE, on this memorable DAY I have walked along the beaches on the coast of France and tried to listen to the details of the sad lectures, regarding the details which our BRAVE military soldiers were facing. I don’t believe I will ever return!
    Eva Nell Mull Wike

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 29, 2017 at 9:06 am

    Yes, I remember. Thanks Tip!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 29, 2017 at 8:37 am

    I don’t know who said it, but someone said, about war and soldiering I believe, ” For those who were there, no explanation is needed. For those who were not, no explanation is possible.” And so, having at best only a ‘glass darkly’ understanding, I am grateful for all the sacrifices made for us all, though I cannot measure them. Perhaps it is fair to say that one of them was the sacrifice of ever being understood except by comrades in arms.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    May 29, 2017 at 8:30 am

    My family like many in Appalachia has lost members and/or friends in every war the United States has fought in, WWi, WWII AND Vietnam. I fear that the younger generations have lost the responsibility of showing our appreciation for their sacrifice they made and the price they paid. Sadly so many have forgotten or never realized that our freedom isn’t free but was bought by the blood and lives of so many.

  • Reply
    Cheryl W.
    May 29, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Thank you for this moving tribute. I am in tears.

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