9:30 - Flag raised to half-staff, Rangers to give special talk on the origin of Memorial Day.
Noon - Flag ceremony in Fort. Flag changed from half-staff to full-mast. Large 30 x 42-foot flag to be hoisted (weather permitting) talk on origin of Memorial Day followed by wreath-laying.
11:00 Join the staff for a special reading of popular Memorial Day poems such as "Bivouac of the Dead" and "Flanders' Fields" at The reading will be followed by a brief discussion of Memorial Day traditions.
2:30 - Recreation of historic 1880 Memorial Day observance including speech delivered at Fort McHenry cemetery, Oliver Wendell Holmes' historic Memorial Day speech and talk on origin of the holiday. Bugler to play "Taps "at 3:00 p.m. and wreath-laying as part of National Moment of Remembrance.
Decoration Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans, and was first observed on May 30, 1868. Late May was chosen because Civil War ended that month and flowers were plentiful at that time of year. During the first year over 200 cities and towns held parades to the cemetery and other ceremonies, a year later, 1869 nearly 350 towns had celebrations. By the 1880s the holiday was commemorated in nearly every city and small town throughout the north. In 1882 the name Decoration Day was changed to Memorial Day as commemorations expanded beyond the laying of flowers over soldiers' graves.
The National Moment of Remembrance was established by Congress on December 28, 2000, to honor Americans who died in service to the nation. Through partnerships with local communities, private businesses, and government at all levels, the National Moment of Remembrance Commission is working to encourage all Americans to celebrate Memorial Day as a sacred and noble holiday that honors fellow Americans who paid the ultimate price for freedom.