The first known observance of Memorial Day was in 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina. Originally known as Decoration Day, it became better known as Memorial Day, but did not become a national holiday until 1967 by an act of Congress, and then officially as one of the four three-day national holiday weekends in 1968.
Traditionally, Memorial Day is an observance of those who have given their lives in military service for the country. But, its usage has evolved into memorial for all who have passed on with individuals and families visiting the graves of family members.
After all the Memorial Day parades and ceremonies, I ventured forth to look for graves of veterans. I started in Lebanon, Ohio, at the oldest cemetery in town. It is about the size of one small city block.
I expected to find graves of Civil War soldiers, but was quite surprised to find soldiers who served in wars 50 years before the Civil War—soldiers from the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War, 1846-48.
As this cemetery began to fill, the city obtained ground to the north that expanded the cemetery well into the future. As cemeteries go, it is more modern looking and well kept. Clearly, it has been well visited on Memorial Day weekend.
From Lebanon, I motorcycled through the countryside, first north and then east towards Waynesville and the village of Corwin, where my ride would turn south towards home. In Corwin, I decided to ride through Miami Cemetery, which is deceivingly large and very park like. At the northern entrance, I found the cemetery memorial and gravesites of soldiers, all veterans of all wars.
Thank you, brothers in arms. You served well and are not forgotten.
For my readers, see you on the highway.