Across our nation this Memorial Day, people will gather to pay homage to America’s finest men and women who gave their lives in defense of freedom.
Honored will be those who gave what Abraham Lincoln called the “last full measure of devotion” in the fight for our liberty.
Three years after the Civil War ended the head of an organization of Union veterans – the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) – established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers, according to a news release from the Grundy County Veterans Assistance Commission. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies.
It was not until after World War I that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars, according to the VAC release. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by Congress. It was then placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.
To ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in 2000 Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States on Memorial Day.
The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.
In Grundy County we will again gather to honor those that gave the “last full measure of devotion.”
Mazon: Mazon American Legion Post 352 will host two observances in Mazon and Verona on Monday. At 10:30 a.m. in the Brookside Cemetery in Mazon and at 11:30 a.m. at the Ward Cemetery in Verona. In case of inclement weather, 11 a.m. at the legion in Mazon.
Morris: John Martin Steele VFW Post 6049 will sponsor a parade and Memorial Day observance Monday. The parade is open to the public and will start at Chapin Park about 10:30 a.m. and go down Liberty Street to the Grundy County Courthouse. After the parade the VFW will host the annual observance at the courthouse. The VFW will host a luncheon afterward at the Post at 309 McKinley St.
Minooka: The American Legion Post 1188 observance will be at 10 a.m. Monday Parade line up is at 9:30 a.m. at Minooka Bible Church with the parade starting at 10 a.m. The parade will proceed through downtown Minooka to Veterans’ Park at the corner of Mondamin and Wabena streets. The parade will be followed by a ceremony including prayers, songs, speakers, laying of wreaths, and gun salute. For more information call Dave Corbin at 815-693-9162.
Channahon: Village observance at 9 a.m. Monday at Village Hall, 24555 S. Navajo Dr., Channahon. The event will be held rain or shine.
Coal City, Diamond and Carbon Hill: American Legion Post 796 and St. Juvin VFW will host an observance at the Veteran’s Monument at Coal City Intermediate School, 305 E. Division St. in Coal City. The event starts at 11 a.m.
Seneca: American Legion Kasal Post 457 observance will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the Seneca Memorial Wall. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own seating.
Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery: The annual observance at the cemetery, 20953 W. Hoff Road in Elwood, will be at 11:30 a.m. Monday.
There are many other local events in honor of Memorial Day, contact your local veteran’s organization for details.