As we prepare to observe Memorial Day this Monday, we thought it would be fitting to shed some light on how this national holiday is inextricably linked to Arlington National Cemetery (ANC). Burial at ANC, which is just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., is considered by many today to be a great honor. However, it took decades for the Virginia cemetery to become America’s nation’s premiere military cemetery.
When ANC opened in 1864, it was one of dozens of national cemeteries that were established to bury soldiers who died fighting in the Civil War. At the time, interment in a national cemetery was a last resort – they were potters’ fields for soldiers whose families were unable to afford a private burial. ANC’s rise to prominence began in 1868 when Major General John Logan declared May 30 “Decoration Day” and had the graves of soldiers decorated with flowers.
As the link between Decoration Day and ANC solidified in the late 19th century, more veterans opted for burial at ANC helping to shift public perception. In the 20th century Decoration Day became Memorial Day, and it is now tradition for the President to address the nation and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at ANC each year.
We invite you to catch up with this week’s headlines today, and join us in honoring those who have served this Monday:
FDA butts in on tobacco regulation
Democrats on the attack
Questioning COVID’s origins
Public request issued for public option
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