The History of Memorial Day// Forever We’ll Remember

Today I am excited to welcome Ryana Peterson to our Countdown!

But before we get started, let’s chat about Memorial Day, and what it means to you! What are some of your favorite ways to commemorate Memorial Day? Please share it down in the comments. I would love to hear!

I’ve already said that my family and I always go to our local ceremony in honor of our fallen. But it has also become a tradition for my sisters and I that we go and walk a special walkway in our area that is lined with large flags. There is one flag for each of our local soldiers who have been killed serving our nation.

The walk always ends at our war memorial.

For whatever reason, Memorial Day almost always seems to be slightly cold and dreary where I’m at, which is fine with me. (It’s as if everything is weeping with us—with our flag as it flies half-mast, with the bugles that mournfully play taps, with us as we remember our heroes.) And the walk is such a solemn reminder that liberty is so costly.

Okay, there’s my answer to the question. I can’t wait to hear all of yours!

Now onto our guest post for today!

There are a lot of claims to the exact dates of when Memorial Day became a big deal and who
was responsible for it. Sadly, most of them are untrue, and today I will be giving you the general
story of how it got started, who started it, and when it became a national holiday, which is the
only date we know for sure.

No one knows for sure when, but some time in the decade following the War Between the States,
southern widows, daughters, sweethearts and mothers would decorate the graves of their fallen
with fresh spring flowers. Year after year, they went to honor the dead, and the southern women
noticed no one ever left flowers on the graves of the Union soldiers.

As much as they disagreed with the ideals and motive of the Federal soldiers buried on their soil, the ladies decided to bring extra flowers. After all, the men buried there were someone’s son, possibly a husband, brother or father.

As the years passed, a tourist (no one knows his name and they can’t agree on what state he came
from), noticed the ladies’ kind deed and their quiet devotion. He carried their idea home with
him, where he told others, propagating the popularity of laying flowers on the graves of the
fallen every spring.

By 1890, “Decoration Day,” became a holiday many recognized, but not an official holiday. It
was a day people would come together, not only to honor their dead from the War Between the
States, but any war fought on American soil.

In 1971, Congress passed a bill, making Memorial Day an official holiday, honoring all our
fallen soldiers.

In 1971, Congress passed a bill, making Memorial Day an official holiday, honoring all our
fallen soldiers.

It is interesting to note that while the majority of Americans do not recognize Confederate
soldiers as American soldiers, Congress did, and declared their graves protected and sacred, just
like every other US veteran grave. Therefore, it is a crime to vandalize them, or any monument
dedicated to them! Southerners (including myself!) are quite grateful for this provision, as it
gives us the right to prosecute those who have defaced and dishonored our dead over the years.

Regardless of what side you align yourself with, never forget that we are all Americans, we all
bleed red and we all should love our nation and thank God for the men and women who have
given their lives that we might be free!

About Ryana Peterson

In 2020, Ryana Lynn changed her last name from Miller to Peterson when she married the love of her life, Jacob. They welcomed Dixie Cross Burke into their lives in April of 2022. While she doesn’t have as much leisure time to write these days, Ryana Lynn is still bursting with stories she can’t wait to tell. She still enjoys reading historical fiction and contemporary YA, but baby books are finding their way into her stacks these days.

You can find her blogging at

The history of Memorial Day is so incredibly beautiful. Ryana did a wonderful job, as usual, with her research on this topic. Be sure to check out her blog, and subscribe! She always has wonderful posts that are so worth reading (of course, you could probably guess that I love the history posts 😉).

What do you think? Don’t forget to share a favorite thing you do for Memorial Day!

A. M. Watson

Hebrews 13:8

4 thoughts on “The History of Memorial Day// Forever We’ll Remember

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