of veterans so united by feelings of loyalty and duty that it would be a powerful factor against treason to our government.
On the fifth of May, 1868, Commander-in-Chief John A. Logan
of the Grand Army
issued a general order
designating the thirtieth of May, 1868, ‘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.’
He did this with the hope that it would be kept up from year to year.
Already in some of the southern states the women had laid their flowers on the graves of the Confederate
dead to show their devotion to the ‘Lost Cause,’ but in the north there was no fixed date till 1868.
In 1882 the Grand Army
urged that May thirtieth be ‘Memorial Day,’ not ‘Decoration Day,’ as it had commonly been called.
Since 1910 it has been a legal holiday in most of the states and territories.
‘Memorial Day’ is something more than a decoration day. Every national day is a memorial day. Such days should teach us to feel more strongly our duty to our country.
They should fill us with enthusiasm and love for our native land; they should bring home to us more vividly the sacrifices of our fathers, and should make us realize that upon us devolves the task of carrying on the work which they began.
It has been said that the declaiming of Webster
's patriotic sentiments by the school boys of the north prepared them to take up arms to defend the Union
May we not with equal truth say that the splendid patriotic work of the Grand Army of the Republic prepared our boys for ‘98, and for the late World War?
But fifty years is a long period in a man's life, and comparatively few of those who marched with the ‘Boys of 1861’ are with us today.
There is no recruiting office in the Grand Army
, and when the last member joins his comrades in the Grand Reunion
will ‘Memorial Day’ become obsolete?
No, the ‘Spanish War Veterans,’ the