This is my Memorial Day column with a coronavirus pandemic component, which we’ll get to in a minute.
Reasonable people disagree on the exact origins of what is now called Memorial Day. But most accept that the practice of decorating the graves of Americans who died defending their country began in earnest by women of the South during and following the Civil War.
On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, National Commander of the Army of the Republic, was the first to make Memorial Day official. With General Order No. 11, he stated in part that “the 30th day of May 1868 is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.”