We should reflect on the true purpose of Memorial Day

To the editor:

As we approach Memorial Day 2019, we should reflect on its purpose and how it began.

Back on May 5, 1868, after the Civil War, General John A. Logan, Commander In Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, set his General Order No. 11. General Logan’s Order began: “The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.”

He continued, “Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation’s gratitude, — the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.”

Thus, “Decoration Day” began in the United States. In 1967, the official name of the holiday was changed to “Memorial Day”, and on June 28, 1968, Congress passed the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act” moving it to the last Monday of May every year.

Here in Fort Dodge and Webster County, the Fort Dodge Veterans Council will conduct our Memorial Day Ceremony Monday, May 27th, at our beautiful Veterans Memorial Park at 10 a.m. I urge you to attend this “fitting service and testimonial of respect” for our fallen veterans. I am certain that you will leave renewed and ready to begin a great summer.

Sam Hartman

Fort Dodge

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