Today, we remember and honor America’s fallen heroes, who made the ultimate sacrifice to secure the blessings of liberty for us and the peoples of many other lands.
Memorial Day originated in the aftermath of the bloody Civil War:
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. . . .
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.
For more on the origins of Memorial Day, see the full essay “Celebrating America’s Freedom.”
For those who wish, donating to the many worthy charities that help veterans, active-duty military, and their families is always a good choice. While CRC does not endorse any specific organization, Charity Navigator maintains a list of highly rated, trustworthy military and veterans organizations that provide “a variety of services from lifting troops’ morale to offering financial assistance for food, rent, utilities, and medical expenses.”