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Memorial Day: History behind the holiday

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WASHINGTON--As we head to the Memorial Day weekend--with U.S. troops involved in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya--let's remember the holiday marks a time to honor our nation's soldiers.

Carl Cannon, the Washington editor of RealClearPolitics in his daily note about stories on the site briefs us on the history of Memorial Day.

From Carl Cannon: "Good morning. It's Friday, the beginning of a long weekend - but not just any holiday. Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a time we pay homage to Americans who died while serving in the U.S. military.

It was first proclaimed officially in 1868, three years after the end of the Civil War, by Army Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, who ordered that on May 30 "the choicest flowers of springtime" be placed at the gravesites on the posts he commanded. "Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners," Logan decreed. "Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic."

below, from Arlington National Cemetery....

Memorial Day Media Events at Arlington National Cemetery

WHAT: 144th Memorial Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery

WHEN: Monday, May 30 at 11 a.m.

WHERE: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington Va.

7:30 a.m. - Media Center in the visitors' center basement opens. Free parking is available in the visitors' center parking lot until 1:00 p.m.
8:00 a.m. - Media shuttle will begin transporting media to the ceremony site. The cemetery gates open and a free shuttle service will begin transporting people from the visitors' center to the amphitheater.
9:30 a.m. - Media Center closes and last shuttle transport media to ceremony site.
10:30 a.m. - United States Marine Band begins the prelude concert inside Memorial Amphitheater.
11:00 a.m. - Presidential Wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns followed by a remembrance ceremony at Memorial Amphitheater.
12:15 p.m. (approx.) Grand Army of the Republic, Veterans Service Organization Mass Wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns
1:00 p.m. - Free parking ends at the visitors' center parking garage.
2:55 p.m. - National moment of silence, No Greater Love Organization at the Tomb of the Unknowns
5:00 p.m. - Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Memorial Service at the Tomb of the Unknowns
All ceremonies are free and open to the military community and general public. No tickets are needed to attend these events

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 27, 2011 9:10 AM.

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