Memorial Day History and Remembrance

Sales, Barbeque, the unofficial start of summer, graduation party weekend, modern society associates all of these things with Memorial Day Weekend.  In our rush to enjoy the first warm weather extended weekend, most Americans completely forget the origins and the purpose of this sacred holiday.

Following the brutal and costly Civil War, the United States was forced to come to grips with a conflict that claimed more lives than any other in the country’s history.  Part of this reckoning came in springtime gatherings designed to remember the Civil War dead.  Among the communities that established these “decoration days,” was Waterloo, New York in May 1866.  The Federal Government eventually recognized Waterloo as the birthplace of Memorial Day.

According to, “On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. ‘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,’ he proclaimed.  The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.” (Memorial Day 2024: Facts, Meaning & Traditions.” Edited by Editors, History.Com, A&E Television Networks, Accessed 23 May 2024.)  In 1968, Congress made Memorial Day permanently the last Monday in May.  Thus, Decoration Day found its spot as one of the official federal holidays. 

Remarkably, since Dodds was established in 1864, this company has existed through every Decoration and Memorial Day.  Obviously, the products we create will forever link us to the holiday and its remembrance as families go to cemeteries and decorate generations of memorials created by Dodds. Dodds is also proud to have created more Veterans’ Memorials in Southwest Ohio than any other company.  Our Veterans’ Memorials date as far back as the late 1800s and stand to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

This holiday weekend, before cracking open your favorite beverage; firing up the grill, and jumping into the pool, take time to remember those who have died so that we all have the freedom to enjoy a three-day weekend.  God Bless our fallen heroes, their families, and the country they died to defend.

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