Sunday, May 27, 2018

A preview of Memorial Day


Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a federal holiday in the United States.  We celebrate it tomorrow, Monday May 28 this year.  It appears we in the U.S. are the only country to honor our dead on this day.  It is always celebrated on the last Monday of May.

Many countries celebrate Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, or Veterans Day, which is celebrated on November 11, regardless of the day of the week on which it falls.  We in the states call it Veterans Day after a bill in Congress in June, 1954 replaced "Armistice" with "Veterans," and it has been known as Veterans Day ever since.  Remember, it is Veterans, not Veteran's or Veterans'.

The difference is, Memorial Day celebrates and honors those brave men and women who died for our country, especially those who died in battle or the result of wounds resulting from a battle, while Veterans Day celebrates all men and women who have served our/their country, whether living or dead, and whether they served in battle or not.

The practice of celebrating Memorial Day can be traced to the end of the Civil War, but after World War I, the day expanded to honor those who died in all American wars.  In the drawing above, two men, depicting survivors of America's Civil War, one from the south and one from the north, join together to see a baseball game.

Celebrating Memorial Day in 1923, after WWI.

Another print taken at the same time as above (1923).

A third shot taken from the stands at the same location (no location specified) on Memorial Day, 1923.

Memorial Day, 1918 from an unknown location.

Memorial Day poster for May 30, 1937.

Gloucester, Massachusetts on Memorial Day, 1943.

Memorial Day in Morrill County, Nebraska in 1908.

All images, photos, and drawings above are from the Library of Congress web site.

I created this piece awhile back after I read the poem In Flanders Field by Canadian poet John McCrae.
In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
In the States, the poppy is traditionally worn on Memorial Day, not Veterans Day to honor the dead.  According to The Farmer's Almanac:
The origin of the red poppy as a modern-day symbol of this day was actually the idea of an American woman, Miss Moina Michael.  
Also per The Farmer's Almanac:
In war-torn battlefields, the red field poppy (papaver rhoeas) was one of the first plants to grow. Its seeds scattered in the wind and sat dormant in the ground, only germinating when the ground is disturbed—as it was by the very brutal fighting during World War 1.
If you live in the United States, I wish you a happy Memorial Day tomorrow.  If you live in the U.K., I wish you a lovely Bank Holiday.  If you live outside the U.S. or U.K., I wish you a wonderful Monday.

14 thoughtful remarks:

Valerie-Jael said...

Interesting post and photo. Have a great day, Valerie

aussie aNNie said...

Brilliant post and the photos are so interesting. You don't have any dies?? gosh they are very addictive and one can have way too many as well as the stamps.xx
Have a lovely weekend.






[aussie aNNie blog]

aussie aNNie said...

Back again, a new way of receiving emails...
My friend Alice noticed that the box where you comment has changed at the bottom where you "choose an identity." Instead of choices now, there is just one and under that it says "Email follow-up comments to ... (your name)." So when you do a post, immediately leave yourself a comment and check the box and then every comment you get will appear in your gmail inbox! Thank you so much Alice!

I also noticed that after you leave a comment, the top of the comment box changes where it says "your comment has been saved." You'll notice that it now also has the word "unsubscribe" which was never there before.

Now why couldn't Blogger have sent us an email explaining these changes?

craftytrog said...

Interesting to read about your Memorial Day Elizabeth! That's a lovely page that you created.
Wishing you a happy Sunday.
Alison xxx

Tracey@Hotchpotchcreations said...

Another lovely Sunday morning read Elizabeth, where ever we are in the world we should all give thanks to the braveness and sacrifice of those that have helped keep us all safe.
Enjoy your day creative wishes Tracey xx

CJ Kennedy said...

Wonderful old photos, posters, and magazine covers. I almost thought the image from 1918 on the ship, was a bridal photograph. If anything could heal the country it would be baseball. Unless it is a game between the Boston Red Sox and the NY Yankees, and then it's North and South all over again. =^,.^= Happy Memorial Day

RO said...

Another great post! As a kid, I just remember it was another day to be off from school and to visit the beach. Now that I'm older and a veteran myself, I realize the significance of the day. I have to be honest and say that I don't get all the cookouts that happen on that day though. Hope your Sunday is great! Hugs...RO

froebelsternchen said...

So interesting to read about your Memorial Day and the photos are great Elizabeth! That's a beautiful page that you created - I love those vibrat pink and the abstract style to it! Super!.
Wishing you a ver happy Sunday, all is o.k.
******ajj scheduled already.
Hugs, Susi

kathyinozarks said...

good post Elizabeth-thank you for the research.
It still surprises me how many think that Memorial Day is for all veterans and it's not as you described
Happy Sunday

Meggymay said...

I'm having a catch up while the lads are out in the mud.
A good post Elizabeth and super photos as well as being an informative read.
I loved your tribute page and the poem you used. it is a favourite of mine.
Have a good Sunday.
Yvonne xx

My name is Erika. said...

Nice page today. AND nice explanation of this holiday. When I was a kid wwe used to also visit our family tombstones in different cemeteries. It might not have been the definition of the day but many people did this so in my mind I also think of this holiday as that. I think you did make a good page to celebrate and nice tombstones. Happy rest of your weekend. Hugs-Erika

Jeanie said...

Very interesting and I thank you for explaining that because I was going to write something about how I understand thanking vets for their service and remembering them because they deserve it but they already have a holiday and I think of Memorial Day as recognizing anyone who has died. But I see there's a deeper meaning behind it. But I'll still recognize anyone who has died anyway because they served too, even if it wasn't "for the country".

Let's Art Journal said...

Such an interesting post and a wonderful trubute! Your page is so beautiful 😁. Thanks for sharing and wishing you a Happy Memorial Day! J 😊 x

Eileen The Artful Crafter said...

Brilliant post and clarification, Elizabeth. Thank you for gathering all those historic photos/images to share. I'm reading this on Memorial Day, but since I'm in another country, it's easy to let the day pass me by. I owe you a debt of gratitude, but most especially I owe one to those who have given their lives to defend and protect the USA.