Monday, May 30, 2011


Lady Liberty in a Red Robe

Did you know that Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day? It is a day set aside as a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. (It eventually became a day to honor all our dead.)  It was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868. The true date of Memorial Day is May 30, but it came to be observed on the last Monday of May instead. Memorial Day 2011 is actually being celebrated on the correct date!

The Decoration Day name comes from the habit of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths, crosses and flags. And that is my childhood memory of it - taking artificial flower wreaths to the cemetery for our deceased relatives, and then going to a Memorial Day Parade.

There are many stories as to the day's actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Decoration Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South
were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War.

When the Golden Age of the Penny Postcard began, the cards portrayed Civil War veterans - at least of the blue-clad veterans of the GAR - the Grand Old Republic, or Army of the North. I only found one postcard with a gray-clad Confederate soldier on it, and that was of General Lee surrendering to General Grant.

But by the time the golden age of postcards was over, cards were featuring a different type of soldier - the American dough boy who sacrificed his life fighting against the evil Huns in France.

Some of the cards featured here are from my collection. There are many fewer Memorial/Decoration Day postcards than Christmas, Easter, or even Halloween cards, but they are gorgeous, with many featuring the red, white and blue of the American flag.

Many also feature a Lady Liberty in various styles of dress. Although it was a day of remembering, these vintage postcards show us it was also a day for everyone to dress in their best finery and celebrate our great country with parades and patriotic speeches.

Off to the Cemetery with Flowers

Honoring a Civil War Vet in Her Own Way

A Widow?

Honoring Vets From Two Wars

Raising the Flag

Placing Flowers and Flags

Another Girl Honors a Vet

Lady Liberty in a Green Robe

Another Ellen Clapsaddle Postcard

A World War I Officer

A Girl Guide? (a rare & valuable
R. Tuck & Sons of London card)

A Female Soldier of the GAR!

A Lady Liberty in Red, White and Blue

A rare card celebrating the Navy Veteran

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