Today is Memorial Day, where we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of this country. Originally it was known as Decoration Day, but as to the birthplace of Memorial Day, we cannot say for sure as there are many cities/towns that lay claim to this holiday. It's likely that there were many separate beginnings that came about after the Civil War.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5th, 1868, by General John A. Logan who was National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic which was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army, US Navy, Marines, and Revenue Cutter Service who served in the American Civil War. This day was first observed on May 30th, 1868, when flowers were placed on graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. On this day people traditionally wear the poppy to signify their remembrance and honor of the fallen. The origin of the use of the poppy comes from the poem "In Flanders Field" by LTC John McCrae:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields
In honor of the fallen, I am linking a video that will play Taps. Taps is a bugle call that is used to remember the dead and is used to conclude funerary services. Taps were created during the Civil War when in July of 1862, Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield, Commander of the 1st Division in the V Army Corps of the Army of the Potomac, and assistance from his bugler, Private Oliver Wilcox Norton, composed the notes to be played. Prior to Taps, "Extinguished Lights" was used as a bugle call, but Butterfield found it "colorless" and did not render the proper memorial of those fallen. It spread in use and in 1874 it was officially recognized as a bugle call by the United States Army.
"To our honored dead!"