We mark Memorial Day with Open Conversation with America’s veterans about the meaning of the day and the memories, feelings, and thoughts it stirs. Please join us for this evening of reflection and storytelling about those who served and never returned home.
We’ll also cover for the history of what began as Decoration Day, a uniquely American holiday with shadowy origins. We know it began immediately after the Civil War when women came out all over the country to decorate the graves of fallen service men. There was nothing like Memorial Day until the Civil War.
That’s because the Civil War was the first American war with mass armies, large battles, and huge casualties. Over the course of eight years, the American Revolution, for example, saw about 25,000 killed, wounded, and dead from disease. The Battle of Gettysburg caused twice that number in three days. Perhaps as many as 750,000 Americans died in the Civil War, more than all our other wars combined. Nothing had prepared Americans for this kind of catastrophe.