Monday, May 29, 2023

The origin and history of Memorial Day

I wish my readers a somber Memorial Day. For this year's observance, I'm doing something I've done for other holidays, like Labor Day and Cinco De Mayo, but not for Memorial Day, the history of the holiday. I begin with CBS Morning's The origin of Memorial Day from 2014.

Memorial Day has become the "summer is here" holiday, but of course there's more to it. Historian Kenneth C. Davis, author of the popular "Don't Know Much" history series, joins "CBS This Morning: Saturday" with a history lesson on the most solemn of the 11 federal holidays.
When the segment aired nine years ago, there were only ten federal holidays, but it looks like the number was corrected after Juneteenth became a national holiday two years ago. I'm glad someone is keeping the description current.

Kenneth C. Davis made two points that connect to the next video, a veterans organization, the Grand Army of the Republic, established the original Decoration Day and the holiday took on much of its current character during and after World War I. Watch and listen to The history of Memorial Day in the U.S. from CBS News, in which Retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral and USAA senior vice president John Bird describes how another veterans organization, the American Legion, promoted the red poppy as a symbol of remembrance after World War I.

As the country remembers all the lives lost during times of war, the Poppy Wall of Honor becomes available online for the first time. Retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral and USAA senior vice president John Bird joins CBSN's Tanya Rivero to explain the history of Memorial Day and how Americans can use the digital wall to learn more.
As my readers could probably tell, the second video is from 2020. Media made during the pandemic has a very distinctive style.

I hope my readers enjoyed the history lessons and remember that this isn't just a day for grilling to kick off what I'm calling "American cultural summer."

I leave my readers with FOX 17 WXMI Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek U.S. Air Force Band: 'Taps' to end today's observance.

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