Memorial Day honors all service members who lost their lives while in service to the United States, during peace and war. It is a time to reflect on those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
"Soldiers Memorial Day"
When flow’ry Summer is at hand,
And Spring has gemm’d the earth with bloom,
We hither bring, with loving hand,
Bright flow’rs to deck our soldier’s tomb.
Gentle birds above are sweetly singing
O’er the graves of heroes brave and true;
While the sweetest flow’rs we are bringing,
Wreath’d in garlands of red, white and blue.
They died our country to redeem,
And from the loving earth we bring
The wealth of hill, and vale, and stream,
Our grateful land’s best offering
With snowy hawthorn, clusters white,
Fair violets of heav’nly blue,
And early roses, fresh and bright,
We wreathe the red, and white, and blue.
But purer than the fairest flowers,
We strew above the honored dead,
The tender changeless love of ours,
That decks the soldier’s lowly bed.
We bend and kiss the precious sod,
Swift fall our tears the graves above
Oh! Brothers! from the hills of God,
Look down and see our changeless love.
Written by Mary B. C. Slade in 1870, two years after Gen. John A. Logan first declared May 30th a Memorial Day for decorating the graves of fallen soldiers. Music to her words was written by Perkins, W. O. (William Oscar). In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May. The change went into effect in 1971. Read about the Origins of Memorial Day