Memorial Day. The official national day to remember the dead and pay tribute to their lives.
In Yiddish, Yahrzeit means “Time (of) year,” usually on the anniversary of a death, a day to light candles and remember the passing of a loved one.
In Canada, November 11 is Remembrance Day for those who died in WWI & II.
Every nation, culture, religion and ethnic group has its own ritual.
America’s Memorial Day began in 1864 when women from Boalsburg, PA put flowers on the graves of their dead from the recently-fought Battle of Gettysburg. In April of 1866 Columbus, Mississippi women laid flowers on both Union and Confederate soldiers’ graves in an effort to heal regional wounds. Memorial Day became the official name in 1967; prior to that date, it was known as Decoration Day. Yale Scholar David W. Blight says the first Memorial Day-style celebration includes African-Americans, mostly former slaves, paying tribute at a mass burial site for Union soldiers in Charleston. S.C.
Quiet moments, prayers, candles, flowers. Stories told of bravery, kindness, goodness and gentle humor. How we remember those who have gone before us indicates our respect, gratitude, love and hope…and reminds us that cause of death is less important than quality of life and treasured memories.
(photography by Marylin Warner)