What is Memorial Day?
Memorial Day traces its origin to the end of the Civil War. In 1866, the year following the conclusion of that war, many towns and villages throughout the United States, north and south, had community efforts to honor the fallen of both sides by decorating the Graves with Flags and Flowers.
With these efforts spreading to other towns and villages in the following years, and effort was made to coordinate these efforts at a national level. General John A. Logan, then commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, a predecessor to the American Legion, issued General Order No. 11 which stated:
“The 30th 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 and during the late rebellion. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.”
Following World War I, Memorial Day, as the day was becoming more popularly known, was expanded to include those who died in any war or military action. The alternative name of “Memorial Day” was first used in 1882, but did not become more common until after World War I, and was not declared the official name by Federal Law until 1967.
The Millerton / Post 178 Memorial Day Program
The history of Memorial Day being commemorated in Millerton goes back over a hundred years when the Millerton chapter of the Civil War Veterans Organization "Grand Army of the Republic" took charge of honoring the fallen from the Civil War. Since the late 1920's the responsibility however has been Post 178's to ensure that our fallen service men and women are honored each year.
The Millerton Memorial Day program begins the Sunday evening prior with a small Memorial Sunday Service where the clergy from each of the local denominations are represented and share their thoughts about Memorial Days significance.
The following morning starting at 6am at the Legion home, the post fires a rifle salute starting at the Legion Home and then to each of the six cemeteries in the Town of North East / Village of Millerton where there are known veterans / service members laid to rest.
The Parade starts off promptly from the Millerton Fire House at 10am and proceeds to Irondale Cemetary where a brief service is held. Following the parade moves to Veterans Park where the parade ends and the main Memorial Day service, along with the Key Note speaker address takes place. As part of this program each year the Post Historian also recognizes one of our communities fallen service members with the Killed in Action Tribute.
Following the programs conclusion the community is invited to the Legion home for lunch, refreshments and games.