Written By: Camille Hord
Memorial Day is the Holiday to remember the brave soldiers who died while serving our country. It was originally called Decoration Day because of the tradition of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags. Decoration Day was first observed on May 30th, 1868 to commemorate the Civil War soldiers and was by proclamation of General John A Logan. In 1873 New York was the first state to proclaim Memorial Day as a National Holiday. After WWI, it was widely established as a National Holiday throughout the United States. Memorial Day is celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each and every grave. Traditionally, the President or the Vice President of the United States places a wreath of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Now that you have a little background, I’ll tell you why this was one of my favorite Holidays, as a kid. First of all, I loved the parade with the marching bands and baton Twirlers. As a girl scout, I would march in the parade and felt so important. By the time Memorial Day came, we knew we only had a few weeks of school left and our summer fun would begin.
The “Spa Pool” (now Victoria Pool) would open on Memorial Day, no matter what the weather and we would be there. We would “cook out” that night with hot dogs, hamburgers and then toast marshmallows. We would look forward to the fun to come for the summer such as riding our bikes all over town and to the Yaddo, playing kickball, soft ball and hide and seek, and going to Kaydeross Park. After Memorial Day we knew we would start seeing the Good Humor Man and Grasso’s Italian Ice trucks. We would have all our spare change ready to be spent.
Of course as I got older, I realized the true meaning of Memorial Day especially after visiting the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington DC and finding a friend’s name there. But as a kid it was a day of dreaming of the fun things to come for the Summer.
This Memorial Day I will give thanks to those who served our country so we might have the freedom we so enjoy, but in the back of my head I will think of the old days.
Enjoy your long week end and barbecues!