Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend ...Remembrance...and its history!

Re-enactors at the Eaton Museum

Well what a holiday weekend…the weather was unbelievable.. .Snow…Rain…Hail…wind…Frost!

Monday turned out to be a celebration for some to just get out of the house.  To those who turned out for the different parades and celebrations you are to be congratulated.  Memorial Day definitely has its sad and happy moments. In Eaton we celebrated and remembered our Revolutionary War Veteran's.

Dick Leland with Col. Joshua
 Leland's Revolutionary War
The stories on the original start of Memorial Day are numerous but in New York State we think it is Waterloo.

Many younger people do not realize that May 30th was the original Decoration Day, which became today’s Memorial Day. Now set on the 4th Monday in May, its history is forever linked to Waterloo, New York, a village that on May 5th, 1866, closed its doors to business to allow its citizens to put flowers and flags on the graves of its Civil War dead.

The town’s local druggist Henry C. Wells put the idea forth originally and Civil War General John B. Murray, who picked up the idea a year later, joined with him to make the original celebration a reality. The village held ceremonies with a somber march to the cemetery while martial music played and in Waterloo, it became a yearly tradition.

By 1868 the observance was recognized by General Logan the Commander-and-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic and was moved to May 30th.

This tradition perpetuated itself until the day was officially made a National Day of Remembrance for all those that fought and died for the United States, and today more than ever before it has become a community day that brings people together to watch parades, attend official cemetery ceremonies to remember our soldiers, and to reflect on all that is good in America.

For Waterloo, the history of the day is enshrined in the Memorial Day Museum on Waterloo’s Main Street. The museum contains information on the first Memorial Day and much information on the men who worked tirelessly to make it a National Holiday of importance and a yearly reminder of the great price we have paid through the years to not only keep our nation as one, but to keep it FREE!

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