Waverly, NY cremations

The History of Memorial Day

With more military veterans opting for Waverly, NY cremations after they die, it’s important to continue to remember their service to the country, as well as the service of every other military who has died, either on the battlefield or years removed from their active duty.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday that originated from Decoration Day (and some parts of rural America, it is still called by this name). Decoration Day was established in 1868, by the Grand Army of the Republic (an organization of Union military veterans), as a day for the entire country to decorate the graves of Civil War dead with flowers. The first Decoration Day was held on May 30, 1868. The date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom around the country and there was no specific battle whose anniversary felt on that day.

The first large-scale observance of Decoration Day occurred that year at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. Flowers were laid on both Union and Confederate graves, followed by prayers and hymns.

The name “Memorial Day” first appeared in 1882, but it would not replace Decoration Day as the official name of the commemorative day until after World War II. In 1967, the federal government officially declared that the last Monday in May would be Memorial Day. Memorial Day did not become a federal holiday until 1971.

After World War I, Decoration Day was expanded beyond just putting flowers on Civil War military veterans‘ graves to placing flowers on all United States military veterans’ graves. In 1915, after reading “In Flanders Field,” by poet John McCrae, Moina Michael was inspired to write “We Shall Keep Faith,” which encouraged people to wear red poppies on Memorial Day (they are also traditionally worn on Veterans Day).

Moina followed up her poem with action. She sold red poppies in her community on Memorial Day and used the money to help military veterans in need. Red poppies are still a popular flower on Memorial Day. However, instead of seeing people wearing them, as was traditional until about 30 years ago, you will see them placed on the graves of military veterans.

It’s important to take time each Memorial Day to remember the sacrifice that many men and women have made to each one of us as citizens of the United States. Many of them were barely adults and never got to have full, long, and happy lives. But they were willing to put their lives on the lines for ours. Do something active to commemorate their lives.

One suggestion would be to go out to the cemetery – may be one you’re familiar or one you’re not familiar with – and lay flowers on every grave with a military gravestone. If you have family members who were military veterans, lay flowers at their graves.

Another suggestion is to plant red poppies in your flower garden or plant a tree in memory of a deceased veteran.

You can also fly the United States flag at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day (the flag should be raised to full height for a second and then dropped to the half-staff position; afternoon, the flag should be raised to the top position again).

If you’d like more ideas for commemorating Memorial Day after Waverly, NY cremations, talk with our knowledgeable and compassionate team at Roberts Funeral Home for ideas. You can visit our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.