Observing in remembrance

The Pleasant Grove Cemetary near Sigourney was decorated with the Avenue of Flags for the holiday.

SIGOURNEY- When many of us think about Memorial Day, we think of a day long set out to remember all of our veterans. If you did think that, you are, at least in-part, correct about what we now celebrate Memorial Day as. However, that is not what it was originally started as.

In April 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia in a brief and somber ceremony, marking the end of bloodiest conflict involving American forces: the American Civil War. Hundreds of thousands of young and older men were killed in conflict, resulting the need and ultimate establishment of a number of national cemeteries. Within the year, communities throughout the US were holding “springtime tributes” to recognize those who had fallen in the war, including the decoration of solider graves. The US Government would later designate Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day because of the fact that the community’s ceremony involved decorating solider graves with flags. Within a couple of years, the movement for a national holiday had gained steam.

For more on this story and others, catch the May 29 edition of the News-Review.