Despite unseasonably hot weather, a large crowd turned out Monday at Memorial Park for Lansdale’s annual Memorial Day Service. The speaker was historian Tom Kimmell, who looked back at the first Memorial Day in 1868 and quoted General John Logan’s order on that day. He commanded the Grand Army of the Republic, and he started the tradition of marking the holiday by placing flags on veterans’ graves.
“Let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor. Let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow, widower and orphan.”
Kimmell said all of the northern states were observing Memorial Day by 1890, honoring their Civil War dead, but the southern states did not observe it until after World War One, when it was changed to honor Americans who died in any war.