Showing posts with label Memorial Day Poppies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Memorial Day Poppies. Show all posts

May 27, 2011

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who died in our nation's service. The preferred name for the holiday gradually changed from "Decoration Day" to "Memorial Day", which was first used in 1882.
Decoration Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 to honor Union and Confederate soldiers by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic (an organization for Northern Civil War veterans), in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of a battle.

The holiday changed after World War 1 from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war.

In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a federal national holiday by an act of Congress, and its observance was set on the last Monday in May.

Memorial Day Poppies

Moina Michael conceived of an idea in 1918 after reading a poem, to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later, Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom. When she returned to France, she made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries.

In 1921, the practice of selling poppies was taken up by the American Legion Auxiliary and in1922 by the VFW. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. The practice continues today. 

Several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3, Jefferson Davis' birthday, in Louisiana and Tennessee.