Being a Inclusionist requires that a commitment to our continuous learning and willingness to analyze, expand, and fact check the history we were taught. We need to fill in what was left out as often those missing pieces and those hidden figures represent the contributions of marginalized people that helped shaped and create our nation.
National holiday observations provide us that opportunity. Our reexamination need not be a thesis project, but every look at history through a lens of diversity creates an opportunity for inclusion.
Memorial Day honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.
The practice of honoring those who have fallen in battle dates back to the ancient Romans and Greeks.
1865: Civil War ends int eh spring. The USA’s first national cemeteries are established to bury all those who were killed. One of the earliest observances was held group of formerly enslaved people in Charleston, South Carolina. Approximately a month after the Confederacy surrendered, this group gathered and buried the fallen Union soldiers. They sang hymns, gave readings, and distributed flowers.
May 5, 1866: the Community of Warerloo, NY closed businesses and there was community wide observation of those who died in service for this country.
May 5, 1868: General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. On May 30, 1868, the nation observed this day of remembrance and it was “Declaration Day”. General Garfield spoke at Arlington Cemetery.
Southern states observed Confederate soldiers on different dates associated with events such as the birth of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. After World War I, all states observed Declaration Day. Today this day, 9 southern states still observe Confederate Memorial Days as well.
1966: the federal government declared Waterloo, NY the official birthplace of Declaration Day.
1971: Declaration Day is changed to Memorial Day, becomes a federal holiday, and shall be recognized on an uniformed date across the nations.
Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.
Take a moment of silence and take a moment to learn more about the history of Memorial Day.