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Intersection of Life and Faith

The Origin of Memorial Day - May 30

  • 2016 30 May
The Origin of Memorial Day - May 30


Southern women scattered spring flowers on the graves of both the Northern and Southern soldiers who died during the Civil War. This was the origin of Memorial Day, which in 1868 was set on MAY 30. In 1968 it was moved to the last Monday in May. From the Spanish-American War, to World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, up through the present, all who gave their lives to preserve America's freedom are honored. Beginning in 1921, every President placed a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The number 21 being the highest salute, the sentry takes 21 steps, faces the tomb for 21 seconds, turns and pauses 21 seconds, then retraces his steps. Inscribed on the Tomb is the phrase: "HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOW BUT TO GOD." In his 1923 Memorial Address, President Calvin Coolidge stated: "There can be no peace with the forces of evil. Peace comes only through the establishment of the supremacy of the forces of good. That way lies through sacrifice...'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'"