Fog shrouds the grave of Revolutionary War soldier Obed Aaron in a grave yard in Hilltown, Pa., Sunday, May 26, 2002. (AP/Chris Gardner)
This 136th Memorial Day weekend brings the dedication of the National World War II Memorial on the Mall in Washington. The Center for American Progress recognizes the sacrifice of the men and women who, throughout our country’s history, have served and given their lives for the good of this country. We also ask that you join us in honoring those who are overseas right now, and who have died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (http://www.lunaville.org/warcasualties/Details.aspx).
Memorial Day, previously called Decoration Day, was first observed in May of 1868 to recognize and remember all those who had fought for the Union in the Civil War. Retired Major General John Logan declared that:
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 and during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
Starting in 1882 Americans began to recognize soldiers from all of America’s wars, not just the Civil War, on Memorial Day. In 1971 President Richard Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday on the last Monday in May.
Below are several web sites pertaining to World War II, to the Memorial, and to helping organizations and families of men and women serving today.