Origins of Memorial Day

Harry Truman famously observed that the only thing new is history you don’t know. Yale history professor David Blight delivers the news about the origins of Memorial Day in the excellent New York Times op-ed column “Forgetting why we remember.” It’s a story that Professor Blight has been telling for nearly ten years, dating back nearly a decade to his column “The first Decoration Day.” According to Professor Blight, “For the earliest and most remarkable Memorial Day, we must return to where the [Civil War] began.”