Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans — established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.
By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.
The first widely-publicized observance of a Memorial Day-type observance after the Civil War was in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 1, 1865.
Copying an idea that began in the Southern states, on May 5, 1868, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the veterans' organization for Union Civil War veterans, General John A. Logan issued a proclamation calling for "Decoration Day" to be observed annually and nationwide.
Memorial events were held in 183 cemeteries in 27 states in 1868, and 336 in 1869. The northern states quickly adopted the holiday.
General Logan proclaimed the first "Decoration Day" to honor the fallen soldiers of the American Civil War. He served the state of Illinois as a State Senator, a Congressman, a U.S. Senator and was an unsuccessful candidate for Vice President of the United States with James G. Blaine in the election of 1884.
Ballad of the Green Mountain Boys
The Star Spangled Banner at Fort McHenry
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
- - - The Star Spangled Banner (1814)
We'll Fight for Uncle Sam
The First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry was mustered into service on May 9 and 10, 1898 at Lincoln, Nebraska. At the time of muster-in, the unit consisted of fifty-one officers and 983 enlisted men.
On May 16, the regiment left Lincoln for San Francisco, where it arrived three days later. The 1st Nebraska was assigned to the Third Independent Brigade of the Philippine Expeditionary Force.