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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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Honoring our Heroes

Honoring our Heroes

Attendees stand at attention as Kenneth Cheramie plays taps at the Veterans Memorial Wall on Hwy. 3235 in Galliano Monday. The Memorial Wall in Galliano was the last stop for the Memorial Day Freedom Ride motorcade that began in Thibodaux and made stops

Memorial Day began in 1865 in Waterloo, N.Y. as a way to honor the memory of those who died in the Civil War. Henry Welles and a Union Army Brig. Gen. John Murray led Waterloo in the first annual observance of a day honoring fallen soldiers by requesting flags to be lowered to half-mast and locals to join in a parade to three local cemeteries to pay their respects.

In 1868, May 30 was designated as the day to honor dead comrades by scattering flower petals at their gravesites. It became known as Decoration Day and the ceremony was presided over by President Ulysses S. Grant at the Arlington National Cemetery.

After World War I, Decoration Day began to include all fallen American soldiers and in 1954 Congress renamed the holiday to Memorial Day. In 1971 Memorial Day was declared an official holiday and altered its observance to the last Monday in May so that workers would receive a day off to participate in commemorative events.

Much to the delight of deluged American workers, the change of dates allowed for an extended weekend that meant going out of town or relaxing with friends and family. The change in dates has caused concern for many Veterans since less people participate in remembrance events and take time to actually honor fallen soldiers.