Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day beginnings

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.

To ensure the sacrifices of America ’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”

~~The above information was found at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Please always remember that freedom is never FREE. God bless our troops. And for those who missed the kids' rendition of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" that I previously posted, check it out. It sends shivers up your spine, it is so fantastic! You may want to press the "F11" key or your maximize icon after the performance starts, to get a full-screen effect. When the display is complete, simply press the key again to return to your normal display. Don't forget to turn on your sound! Now, click below, and enjoy!


Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

oboy, going to go hear it again! have a great day honey and say hey to dick!

smiles, bee

Sarge Charlie said...

Great post Ms Bell, Have a happy memorial day.

Joy said...

Wow! I didn't have time to play that until today, and I'm glad I saved it. I LOVE that arrangement. Many years ago, I used to play it for the civic chorale I accompanied (on the piano). It was one of the most challenging - and most rewarding - pieces I ever played. Octaves all over the place - and I love the 4 part men's verse in the middle. Whoever did the video did a good job, too. I'm going to send it to my brother (the elem. school music teacher) for inspiration.
Happy Memorial Day everyone. Hey, Sarge, I like that quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, and will probably borrow it.

Sandy B & Dick said...

Joy, of course Gene needs that for inspiration. I especially love that this piece includes the little kids...get'em started young to get hooked on music!...hugzzzz