General John A. Logan's
Memorial Day Order
Washington, D.C., May 5, 1868
I.The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewingwith flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died indefense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodiesnow lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in theland. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but postsand comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services andtestimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
Weare organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose,among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind andfraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, andmarines who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid moreto assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of ourheroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country andits foe? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race inchains, and their death a tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. Weshould guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that theconsecrated wealth and taste of the Nation can add to their adornmentand security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slaindefenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds.Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors andfound mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages oftime, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we haveforgotten, as a people, the cost of free and undivided republic.
If other eyes grow dull andother hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, oursshall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us.
Let us, then, at the timeappointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland thepassionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; letus raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let usin this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whomthey have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation'sgratitude,--the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.
II. It is the purpose ofthe Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope itwill be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remainsto honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires thepublic press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aidin bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country intime for simultaneous compliance therewith.
III. Department commanders will use every effort to make this order effective.
By command of:
JOHN A. LOGAN,
N. P. CHIPMAN,