Little Johnnys March: The First Memorial Day

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Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. Some people wear a red poppy in remembrance of those fallen in war—a tradition that began with a World War I poem. On a less somber note, many people take weekend trips or throw parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because it unofficially marks the beginning of summer. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present. Veterans Day is a U. In , on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied Congress passed a resolution in for an annual observance, and Nov.

Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to Most Americans eagerly look forward to Memorial Day as the official Originally established in in recognition of President George Washington, the holiday became popularly known as Presidents Day after it was Memorial Day and its traditions may have ancient roots.

The ancient Greeks and May Day is a May 1 celebration with a long and varied history, dating back millennia. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well. These famous, heart-rending words, attributed to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who was a commander of Ottoman forces at the Dardenelles during the first world war and later the founder of modern Turkey, grace memorials on three continents, including at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli. A procession of Australian prime ministers, from Bob Hawke to Kevin Rudd to Tony Abbott , have spoken them to invoke a supposedly special bond between Australia and Turkey forged amid the slaughter of the Gallipoli campaign in which some 8, Australian and more than 80, Ottoman troops died.

As Australia prepares to commemorate the centenary of the British invasion of Gallipoli on 25 April, the authenticity of these emotive words, supposedly uttered in and interpreted in Australia as a heartfelt consolation to grieving Anzac mothers, are being challenged with assertions that there is no credible definitive evidence Ataturk ever wrote or spoke them. Meanwhile the Australian organisation, Honest History , has undertaken its own detailed research. It detracts from the dignity of commemoration, whether it is in speeches or memorials, if we keep quoting these words and putting his name under them without proper evidence.

Doing it again and again, as we have done in Australia and Turkey , just sets in stone what may well be a myth. Sentimentality, decades of Anzac mythologisation, sloppy Turkish-English interpretation, and diplomatic convenience appear to have manifested in a historical miscarriage that attributes to Ataturk, who died in , words and sentiments for which there is little but unreliable hearsay evidence that he composed or spoke. A British conference speaker observed that the words have become the single most frequently quoted piece of writing about Gallipoli and were mentioned at least four times on one day alone at the conference.

Generations of journalists have referred to the words. They have made it into the Guardian as well.

Johnny Appleseed

They laid wreaths at numerous sites. Journalists and writers covered the pilgrimage. But he made no mention of Kaya in any contemporary article. I send warmest wishes to all of you during your devout pilgrimage. They showed to the world the heroism of all those who shed their blood there. How heartrending for their nations were the losses that this struggle caused.

These are, undoubtedly, laudatory sentiments about the Anzacs. But they are not the same. Ataturk died in Australian obituaries followed. It is curious the famous Johnnies and Mehmets speech received no mention here with his passing, given it was supposedly delivered in In November , the Turkish newspaper Dunya published an interview with Kaya in which he says he delivered a speech at Gallipoli in drafted by, and on behalf of, Ataturk, praising the Turkish and enemy troops.

You are in the soil of a friendly country. Rest in peace. Historian Stuart McConnell reports:. Finally came a simple and subdued graveyard service involving prayers, short patriotic speeches, and music In , some Southern public figures began adding the label "Confederate" to their commemorations, claiming Northerners had appropriated the holiday. Across the South, associations were founded, many by women, to establish and care for permanent cemeteries for the Confederate dead, organize commemorative ceremonies, and sponsor appropriate monuments as a permanent way of remembering the Confederate dead.

The most important of these was the United Daughters of the Confederacy , which grew from 17, members in to nearly , women by World War I. They were "strikingly successful at raising money to build Confederate monuments, lobbying legislatures and Congress for the reburial of Confederate dead, and working to shape the content of history textbooks. By , there was a shift from the emphasis on honoring specific soldiers to a public commemoration of the Confederate South.

By , David Blight argues, the theme of American nationalism shared equal time with the Confederate.

Memorial Day and its traditions may have ancient roots.

By the 20th century, various Union memorial traditions, celebrated on different days, merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the U. Calendar" in terms of mobilizing public support for pensions. It advised family members to "exercise great care" in keeping the veterans sober. Memorial Day speeches became an occasion for veterans, politicians, and ministers to commemorate the Civil War and, at first, to rehash the "atrocities" of the enemy. They mixed religion and celebratory nationalism for the people to make sense of their history in terms of sacrifice for a better nation.

People of all religious beliefs joined together and the point was often made that German and Irish soldiers -- ethnic minorities which faced discrimination in the United States -- had become true Americans in the "baptism of blood" on the battlefield. In the national capital in the four-day "Blue-Gray Reunion" featured parades, re-enactments, and speeches from a host of dignitaries, including President Woodrow Wilson , the first Southerner elected to the White House since the War.

James Heflin of Alabama gave the main address. Heflin was a noted orator; his choice as Memorial Day speaker was criticized, as he was opposed for his support of segregation; however, his speech was moderate in tone and stressed national unity and goodwill, gaining him praise from newspapers.


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The name "Memorial Day", which was first attested in , gradually became more common than "Decoration Day" after World War II [55] but was not declared the official name by federal law until The law took effect at the federal level in By the early 20th century, the GAR complained more and more about the younger generation.

The state legislature in rejected holding the race on the holiday. But the new American Legion and local officials wanted the big race to continue, so Governor Warren McCray vetoed the bill and the race went on. Memorial Day endures as a holiday which most businesses observe because it marks the unofficial beginning of summer. The VFW stated in Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed a lot to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.

In , Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act, asking people to stop and remember at pm. On Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. Music is performed, and respect is paid to the people who gave their lives for their country. Across the United States, the central event is attending one of the thousands of parades held on Memorial Day in large and small cities.

Most of these feature marching bands and an overall military theme with the Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard and Veteran service members participating along with military vehicles from various wars. Scholars, [65] [66] [67] [68] following the lead of sociologist Robert Bellah , often make the argument that the United States has a secular " civil religion " — one with no association with any religious denomination or viewpoint — that has incorporated Memorial Day as a sacred event. With the Civil War, a new theme of death, sacrifice and rebirth enters the civil religion.

Memorial Day gave ritual expression to these themes, integrating the local community into a sense of nationalism. The American civil religion, in contrast to that of France, was never anticlerical or militantly secular; in contrast to Britain, it was not tied to a specific denomination, such as the Church of England. The Americans borrowed from different religious traditions so that the average American saw no conflict between the two, and deep levels of personal motivation were aligned with attaining national goals. Since Doylestown, Pennsylvania , has held annual Memorial Day parades which it claims to be the nation's oldest continuously running.

Grafton, WV has also had an ongoing parade since Its opening lines refer to the fields of poppies that grew among the soldiers' graves in Flanders.

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In , the National American Legion adopted it as their official symbol of remembrance. According to the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English , a Decoration or Decoration Day in Appalachia is "an occasion on which a family or church congregation gathers on a Sunday to place flowers on the graves of loved ones and to hold a memorial service for them.

Traditionally this involved singing and dinner on the ground as well as a religious service.

There often is a religious service and a picnic-like "dinner on the grounds", the traditional term for a potluck meal at a church. Decoration Day practices are often specific to individual families and can incorporate ritualistic elements. The cemetery, seen as an integrated whole on or after Decoration Day in the Appalachians, is a compelling panoramic canvas — a strikingly beautiful folk art created by communities together over time. We hope that the words and photographs of our book will convey to others what we experienced attending decorations and visiting Appalachian cemeteries — a sense of the decorated cemetery as a folk art capable of breathtaking beauty and expressing powerfully the deepest values of Appalachian culture.

Appalachian Decoration Day customs spread and became localized along the routes of nineteenth-century migration pattern westward from the Appalachians. While these customs may have inspired in part rituals to honor military dead like Memorial Day, numerous differences exist between Decoration Day customs and Memorial Day, including that the date is set differently by each family or church for each cemetery to coordinate the maintenance, social, and spiritual aspects of decoration. Decoration Day is a national holiday in Liberia, a nation which was settled starting in by free and formerly enslaved African Americans.

Decoration Day was designated a national holiday and set as the second Wednesday in March by an Act approved on October 24, So important are Decoration Day traditions that during the Ebola virus epidemic in Liberia it became essential for the Liberian government, the World Health Organization and other medical aid agencies to adapt Ebola protocols to fit within this cultural context: "The prospect of not having a location to visit or a grave to 'clean' by cutting the grass and laying wreaths on the national holiday of 'Decoration Day' was deeply disturbing, as was the idea that unfulfilled obligations to the dead could result in a lifetime of misfortune for the living.

Starting in , the ceremonies and Memorial Day address at Gettysburg National Park became nationally known. In July , veterans of the United States and Confederate armies gathered in Gettysburg to commemorate the fifty-year anniversary of the Civil War's bloodiest and most famous battle. Since the cemetery dedication at Gettysburg occurred on November 19, that day or the closest weekend has been designated as a local memorial day referred to as Remembrance Day.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. United States federal holiday remembering those who died in military service. For other uses, see Memorial Day disambiguation. For other uses, see Decoration Day disambiguation. The gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery are decorated by U. Main article: Confederate Memorial Day. Main article: Remembrance poppy. See also: Public holidays in Liberia. Main article: Remembrance Day at the Gettysburg Battlefield.

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United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Archived from the original on May 27, Retrieved May 28, Retrieved May 31, Veterans Day".