In the town squares and commons and historic cemeteries of New Hampshire, the statue of a Civil War soldier is a sight often taken for granted. But a vestige of that war remains part of our lives today, as we mark the occasion of Memorial Day this coming Monday.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed and observed in 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, as a time when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Evidence of an even earlier day of remembrance comes from records of the decoration of Confederate soldiers’ graves by women’s groups in the South before the end of the Civil War. By 1890, the day, originally called Decoration Day, was recognized by all northern states, while the South honored its dead on a separate date.