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Recalling the Fallen with Memorial Day Coin Tributes

In honor of Memorial Day, I’d like to pay tribute to all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.

On May 30, 1868, the first Decoration Day (now more commonly known as Memorial Day) was observed. In the United States, at that time the Civil War stood as an unparalleled conflict. This original holiday was a way for those from both the north and the south to decorate – mostly with flowers – the graves of those who had been lost during the conflict. It’s thought that the May 30th date was chosen because at that time, flowers would be in bloom across the nation.

The origins of this movement have been traced to Major General John A. Logan. At the time, Logan was serving as the head of the Grand Army of the Republic. This patriotic group consisted of Union veterans and was dedicated to the goals of fraternity, charity and loyalty.

Where it all began

Though this was the first widely observed celebration, more localized commemorations had been held since 1866. A century later, in 1966, Waterloo, NY was declared as the birthplace of Memorial Day.

Initially, Memorial Day celebrations were isolated to honoring those who had fallen during the Civil War. Following World War I, the observance was extended to cover all American wars.

Making it official

It was over 100 years after the first widespread Decoration Day celebration that Memorial Day was officially designated as a national holiday. This was established under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which was passed in 1968 and went into effect in 1971. Another milestone was established in 2000, when Congress passed The National Moment of Remembrance Act. The goal is to observe a dedicated moment of remembrance at 3 p.m. each year on Memorial Day.

It’s a fitting way to honor those who departed in service to our country.

Purple Heart commemorative - Littleton Coin Blog

Special tributes

Over the years, we’ve seen several coinage tributes honoring those who have served. One of the most fitting Memorial Day coin tributes is the 2022 silver dollar tribute to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. This organization is dedicated to keeping a record of all service men and women who have received the Purple Heart, which is awarded to anyone killed or wounded in action. If you’ve read our earlier blog article discussing the tradition of leaving coins at gravesites, you know the importance behind leaving coins for fallen comrades. Have you participated in this tradition, or do you know someone who has? Please join with me in honoring those valiant individuals this Memorial Day.

This article was written by Kierstin S.

Since 2000, Kierstin has enjoyed sharing her love of collecting with folks like you.

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