In Honor of Memorial Day

By Allison Satterwhite

What we know as Memorial Day began as Decoration Day shortly after the end of the Civil War. No one is certain of the origin of Decoration Day: it may have been groups of southern ladies who banded together to decorate the graves of their Confederate loved ones; or maybe similar remembrances for fallen Union troops in several northern cities: historians differ on the facts. The fact that so many towns want to lay claim to originating Decoration Day speaks to the need we all have to pause and pay tribute to those who gave their most precious resource; their lives, in honor of a principle in which they believed.

Decoration Day officially became a national holiday in 1868, when the commander of the General Army of the Republic ordered flowers be placed on 20 thousand graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery: a fitting, solemn tribute to honor the unity both sides had in the horror of war and the hope of peace.

Once Memorial Day was set aside as an official federal holiday in 1971, the significance and weight of Decoration Day began to wane in the eyes of the general public. It is fitting to put a bright light on the true origin and meaning of Memorial Day: to stop and remember friends, family members, and comrades who died in defense of our country; young men and women who didn't have the chance to grow older, and fully experience the breadth and depth of life because they chose the road of honor instead of ease.

At Check-6, we honor those who have fallen in the true spirit of Memorial Day.