Memorial Day

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

American Minute with Bill Federer

Southern women scattered spring flowers on the graves of both the Northern and Southern soldiers who died during the Civil War.

This was the origin of Memorial Day, which in 1868 was set on MAY 30.

President James Garfield’s only executive order was in 1881 to give government workers MAY 30th off in order to decorate the graves of those who died in the Civil War.

In 1968, it was moved to the last Monday in May.

From the Spanish-American War, to World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, War against Islamic

Terror, up through the present, all who gave their lives to preserve America’s freedom are honored on Memorial Day.

Beginning in 1921, the tradition has been for Presidents to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The number 21 being the highest salute, the sentry takes 21 steps, faces the tomb for 21 seconds, turns and pauses 21 seconds, then retraces his steps.

Inscribed on the Tomb is the phrase:

“HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD.”

In his 1923 Memorial Address, President Calvin Coolidge stated:

“There can be no peace with the forces of evil. Peace comes only through the establishment of the supremacy of the forces of good.

That way lies through sacrifice…’Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'”


Bill FedererSelf-Educated American contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.


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