Illinois History Minutes

May 30 Illinois History Minute


Today is Memorial Day, a day for mourning those who were killed while serving in the U. S. armed forces.

There are many claims on the holiday’s origins. But in Illinois, Memorial Day is traced back tothe General Order issued in 1868 by John A. Logan, commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Civil War veterans group founded in Decatur. Logan, an Illinois Congressman and former Civil War General, called for a Decoration Day, quote, “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.” Logan was inspired by similar decoration days on the state level, including those begun in southern states while the Civil War was still being fought.