“The 30th of May 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.” ~ General John A. Logan

General Logan, the leader of the “Grand Army of the Republic,” an organization made up of Northern Civil War veterans, thus called for a nationwide day of remembrance that came to be known as Decoration Day. On the first Decoration Day in 1868, General James Garfield (later the 20th president) spoke to 5,000 attendees at Arlington National Cemetery who decorated the graves of the 20,000 Civil War soldiers buried there. For many years, Decoration Day honored only those who had lost their lives in the Civil War. More lives were lost in that war than any other conflict in U.S. history (620,000). It required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries, where families started placing flowers on graves. But once the U.S. became involved in World War I, it was decided that the day was meant to honor all those who’d given the ultimate sacrifice.

Now, at three o’clock in the afternoon on the last Monday in May every year, Americans across the country observe a moment of silence in honor of the more than 1.3 million Americans who have lost their lives in service to the country in every conflict since the Revolutionary War. Another little-known tradition is that the American flag should be hung at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, then raised to the top of the staff.

Your Health Idaho will be closed on Monday, May 30 in observance of Memorial Day. We will reopen with normal business hours on Tuesday, May 31. Enjoy Your holiday!