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Local officials plan for Memorial Day

Sun Advocate reporter

Price city residents wishing to decorate for Memorial Day will need to be in the Price city Cemetery before 2 p.m. on Friday May 25. According to City official BreAna Welch, city employees will begin closing the gates at 3 p.m. and will remain to let people out but no one will be allowed to drive in after 3 p.m. Welch recommends that residents get to the cemetery before 2 p.m. so that citizens will have an hour to decorate.

The cemetery gates will then be closed to motor traffic until 8 a.m. May 29. After that time families may leave their decoration on the grave sites until June 5 when Price cemetery crews will conduct a cleanup effort.

Memorial Day has a very colorful history within the United States, according to Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nations service. The day is also used to decorate for and remember family members who have passed in any circumstance.

The site stipulates that there are many stories dealing with the creation of the holiday including claims by over two dozen cities and towns claiming to be the birthplace of Memorial Day.

While Waterloo, N.Y was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966. The site reports that it is likely that the holiday received it's beginnings in many places and arose from the need and want of individuals to honor the dead.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic and was observed for the first time on May 30, 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington Cemetery.

The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The site reports that the south refused to acknowledge the day honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).

The holiday is now celebrated in almost every state on the last Monday in May in order to ensure a three day holiday. Several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead.

In 1915 Moina Michael conceived the idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. Michael sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms. Micheal and upon returning to France she began selling artificial poppies nationally to benefit orphans and widows. This tradition spread to other countries and in 1921 the Franco-American Children's League sold poppies to benefit war orphans in France and Belgium.

The league disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the Veterans of Foreign Wars for help. Shortly before Memorial Day 1922 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their "Buddy" poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the U.S. Post Office honored Ms. Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red three cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

The site reports that while Memorial Day has lost its luster in many cities around the United States there are still those who honor the day. Since the late 50's on the Thursday before Memorial Day the 1,200 soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery.

In Price city the American Legion conducts a flag ceremony at several locations including the Price Cemetery on Memorial Day.

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