The summer solstice is on June 21 — and that’s considered the beginning of summer. But to me the real start of summer is Memorial Day, also known as Decoration Day, a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States.
A little history: the first official Memorial Day was May 30, 1868. General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, declared, “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 (aka the Civil War), and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
Other nuggets: Memorial Day was not the anniversary of any particular battle. More than two dozen cities and towns insist they are the birthplace of Memorial Day. And on the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield spoke at Arlington National Cemetery with 5000 participants decorating the graves of the 20,000 Confederate and Union soldiers buried there.
Memorial Day is when I can plant my Victory Garden with no worries. The wicker furniture on the deck and porch gets plumped with pillows. The storm windows go up, screens go in, and a brisk breeze rattles the newspapers on the coffee table.
One other thing. Here in Kennebunkport, we celebrate with one of the sweetest parades. Folk gather in Dock Square to enjoy the marching bands and the magic of the day.
Several years ago, Mr. Wonderful wrote a song that captures the spirit of the day here along the Maine coast. I’m sharing it again, as I am also doing with this blog, because it’s what I want to say about this great early summer weekend!
Just go to the link below!