Nothing like it in history: Memorial Day May 25, 2020


Wicker Park's Pierce Avenue flock shows their celebration

Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, 2020 is like no other. Chicago beaches, lake shore, restaurants and bars...closed. There were no in person big venue marches or concerts.

The streets of Chicago look fairly deserted as do the city's shorelines. Fortunately Mother Nature gave everyone a break and held off the storms for a while so backyard barbecuing gatherings were in tact, though those attending were fewer and further apart.

More caps appear to be visible atop residents heads. There is an increase sense of desperation regarding their hair. The shaggy look and "root exposure" is really not "acceptable."

White clothing is, however, a staple part of the summer season... just like in the "good old days of summer" last year and many for that.

Illinois residents, possibly including your neighbors, who flocked to Indiana beaches this weekend, may have you hoping that those actions don't produce an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

Two positive things you can do right now to feel as though things are more normal are to learn some historic facts about the holiday and then enjoy, virtually the the annual Memorial Day concert in Washington, D. C..

How it all began
This day is when Americans honor those in the military and those who have sacrificed their lives so that we may be an independent democratic country. 

This year those who have died in the military services are being honored in many virtual events. 

Like so many traditions, the original start of Memorial Day celebrations is not known. General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic proclaimed Memorial Day on May 5, 1868, as being May 30th. Wild flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery in that first official celebration.


Fields of poppies

In 1915, John McCrae wrote In "Flanders Fields," referring to the carnage of World War I (1914-1918) and fields of war in Belgium, which inspired Moina Michael, in the same year, to write:

Oh! You who sleep in "Flanders Fields,"

Sleep sweet -- to rise anew!

We caught the torch you threw

And, holding high, we keep the Faith

With all who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led;

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies,

But lends a lustre to the red

Of the flower that blooms above the dead

In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy red

We wear in honor of our dead.

Fear not that ye have died for naught;

We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought

In Flanders Fields. 

Those words led to Poppy Day. An artificial poppy was given to each person who  donated money to benefit service people in need. The program expanded into Europe when Madam Guerin took the idea to France and collected monies for orphaned children and widows.

Union soldiers, killed during the Civil War, were the first to be honored on this day. As World War I and II occurred more soldiers were added to the list of Decoration Day honorees. 

In 1971 the observance was changed from May 30 to the last day in May.  

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) organization became the first veterans' organization to sell poppies nationally in 1922. Disabled vets were employed two years later to make the symbolic flowers. Moina Michael was honored in 1948 when the US Post Office issued the red stamp with her likeness on it. 


Issued in 1948

Enjoy the concert 2020 Concert
To skip the wait time, slide the time bar on the bottom of the image to about 4 minutes 38 seconds. Then sit back and enjoy!


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