May. 28, 2021 / Newspaper Columns

By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne)

Monday, May 31, is Memorial Day – a day set aside to honor the more than 1.1 million Americans who have died in wars which the United States has fought over the last 245 years.

Please take a moment this weekend to remember these men and women who sacrificed their lives for our nation and consider participating in Memorial Day events in your community.

The holiday has a patriotic history of which you may be unaware.

Just after the Civil War ended in 1865, a group of southern women visited a cemetery in Columbus, Mississippi. Their purpose was to decorate the graves of those who died defending the Confederacy. When the women finished, they noticed that nearby Union graves were unattended and forgotten. These ladies could not bring themselves to ignore the graves of the fallen soldiers and carefully decorated the Union graves as well.

This story inspired Major General John Logan, national commander of the Union Army’s veterans organization, who in 1868 proclaimed May 30 as Decoration Day, “a day for decorating the graves of the comrades who died in defense of their country and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, or hamlet churchyard in the land.”

In 1882, this annual observance became what we now know as Memorial Day – a national day of remembrance for those who have died serving our nation.

Today we continue the tradition of decorating the gravesites of brave American servicemen and servicewomen of all military wars and conflicts who unselfishly gave their lives in defense of our country, our flag and the freedom that all of us enjoy.

So, on Memorial Day 2021, as we celebrate their lives and honor the commitment they made to the preservation of freedom and our American way of life, we offer our heartfelt thanks, understanding that it will never be enough. May God bless them all.

Representative Tarah Toohil
116th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office
717-260-6136 /