How Memorial Day Got Its Start

As you would expect, there was much healing for our nation to do at the end of the war between the Confederate States and United States. In fact, Confederate soldiers' grave plaques were inscribed in Latin, with Deo Vindice or God Will Vindicate. Clearly, there would be deep wounds for generations to come. Design Mart's Mike Fernandez is shown here explaining one of the plaques to a recent Elberton Granite Association class.

Originally know as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated in the years following the war when families gathered to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. During the first celebration of Decoration Day more than 5,000 people decorated the graves of more than 20,000 Union and Confederate dead at Arlington cemetery. This even, in 1868, was inspired by many local celebrations in communities during the three years following the end of the way.

After World War I our nation began to remember those who had perished in all wars. In 1966 President Johnson named Waterloo, New York, as the official birthplace of the celebration since they had made an annual event of it. In 1971 Congress declared the last Monday in May to be Memorial Day.

The monument industry also works with families who have set Memorial Day as a goal for memorializing loved ones. Many granite suppliers and retailers alike begin to get ready in Spring for the deadlines associated with Memorial Day deliveries.

We hope everyone has a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. Take time to remember those who served our country as well as our loved ones who have gone before us.


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