‘Black Jack’ Logan and Memorial Day
As noted in last week’s column, the custom of decorating the graves of soldiers most likely began in the South during the Civil War. Following the war, the practice spread to the North.
War hero and Illinois native Gen. John “Black Jack” Logan took command of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1868. The G.A.R. was a fraternal organization made up of Union Civil war veterans.
On May 5, 1868, Logan issued an order that May 30, 1868, be set aside as a day “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.”