Today is memorial day in the US, which is celebrated every year to “honor veterans of all wars, but its roots are in America’s deadliest conflict, the Civil War. Approximately 620,000 soldiers died, about two-thirds from disease“.
The work of honoring the dead began right away all over the country, and several American towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. Researchers have traced the earliest annual commemoration to women who laid flowers on soldiers’ graves in the Civil War hospital town of Columbus, Miss., in April 1866. But historians like the Pulitzer Prize winner David Blight have tried to raise awareness of freed slaves who decorated soldiers’ graves a year earlier, to make sure their story gets told too.– From TIME Magazine
For a refresher, this USA Today article describes why we celebrate memorial day and its history of the holiday in the US.