Memorial Day ceremony Thursday at Veterans Cemetery
BOSCAWEN — While Memorial Day may be recognized by most on the last Monday of May, the true spirit of the holiday will be marked today during a ceremony at the state's Veterans Cemetery.
The Marine Corps League and the staff of the cemetery will host the annual Memorial Day Ceremony at 11 a.m. The cemetery is located at 110 Daniel Webster Highway, Rt. 3, in Boscawen.
Frank J. Saglime, Jr., commandant of the state's Marine Corps League, will serve as master of ceremonies. U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte is expected to give remarks during the ceremony, joining New Hampshire Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster, Gov. Maggie Hassan and Maj. Gen. Bill Reddel, adjutant general of the New Hampshire National Guard.
The scheduled guest speaker is Rep. John Cebrowski, R-Bedford.
In 1881, New Hampshire Gov. Natt Head issued the first proclamation of Decoration Day, writing "Let us tenderly and lovingly lay the flowers of early spring upon the graves of our sons, and place above their ashes the flag, which, living, they covered with imperishable luster...."
That was the beginning of what would come to be known as Memorial Day to future generations.
The idea of Decoration Day had its origins in the South, but slowly spread to the northern states in the aftermath of the Civil War. In 1868, John Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued General Orders No. 11, designating May 30th as a day for veterans organizations to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers.
"If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us," Logan wrote.
In the years since, Decoration Day became Memorial Day , honoring soldiers from all wars who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Congress voted in 1968 to move the holiday from May 30 to the last Monday in May, creating an annual three-day weekend where many celebrate the unofficial start of summer. New Hampshire's Marine Corps League continues to hold its ceremony of May 30, to remind people of the somber history of the day.
Seating at the cemetery is limited. Those attending today's ceremony are asked to bring a lawn chair for their comfort.
The ceremony typically lasts one hour, and refreshments will be served in the cemetery's maintenance building following its conclusion.