Our nation will commemorate Memorial Day later this month, and our friends from James A. Garfield National Historic Site offer a timely reminder on the holiday’s origin.

Memorial Day began as Decoration Day, a way to celebrate and commemorate soldiers  who perished during the Civil War.

And the keynote speaker during the first national Decoration Day ceremony was Congressman and Union veteran James A. Garfield.

Todd Arrington, site manager at Garfield National Historic Site, discusses the history of Decoration Day and Garfield’s still pertinent speech.


By the way, if you’re interested in Civil War history, some other previous talks in our Civil War series can be viewed online in their entirety: