With permission, The Beacon is archiving past issues of Matthews Record (also called The Matthews News & Record and The Matthews News) articles online. Throwback Thursday articles will include relevant content still facing Matthews today. This article was originally published May 25, 2006 and was written by Jessica Otto and Janet Denk.
Remembering Fallen Heroes
Memorial Day: Movement began nearly one hundred years ago as a tribute to those who died in battle
The yellow “Live Strong” bracelet and pink breast cancer awareness ribbon both owe a debt of gratitude for their marketing genius to a movement that began nearly one hundred years ago as a Memorial Day tribute to fallen heroes.
In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
Then, the idea came to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during the war. She sold poppies to her friends and coworkers, with the money going to benefit the servicemen in need. The movement spread, and soon real and artificial poppies were being worn all over the world.
“Decoration Day” was officially proclaimed on May 5th, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Twenty years later, the name was changed to Memorial day.
President Richard Nixon declared it a federal holiday in 1971, and Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday in May. Over time it has become an occasion to honor the men and women who died in all wars.
To see the monument built to honor those who served in WWII, the only 20th century event commemorated on the Washington, DC National Mall’s central axis, visit www.wwiimemorial.com.