Today is Memorial Day and it is marked by ceremonies throughout the land. Due to the need to supervise our painters our involvement was restricted to flying the flag. Celebrating the contribution of those who have fallen in war for the freedoms which we enjoy is taken very seriously. The Raleigh News & Observer in an editorial wrote:
Memorial Day began as Decoration Day, recognizing the family tradition of placing flowers on graves to honor the soldiers, sailors and Marines of the Civil War. John A. Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union soldiers, made these celebrations official in 1868, establishing May 30 as the day for veterans to honor their dead comrades.
Many in the South regarded the holiday as a Northern commemoration and chose dates other than May 30 to remember their Civil War dead. After World War I, there was further debate over whether the country should honor its war dead with a single holiday or whether World War I dead would have their own holiday on Armistice Day in November.
The debate continued until after World War II, when the current purpose of the holidays became established: Memorial Day for honoring the dead, and Armistice Day, renamed Veterans Day, for honoring and thanking the living.
It wasn’t until 1971 that Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday, to be celebrated the last Monday in May.
In Raleigh there was a wreath-laying ceremony at the War Memorial on the north lawn of the State Capitol with music by the St. Francis Brass Quintet followed by bagpiper Robert White. The invocation, advancement of colours and the “Star-Spangled Banner” took place at 11:30 a.m. The speaker was retired Marine Maj. Gen. Cornell A. Wilson Jr. Sponsored by The Tar Heel Detachment No. 733 of the Marine Corps League.