Happy Memorial Day!

May 28, 2012

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I took this pic last night as the sun was setting over the East Deck Motel in Ditch Plains, Montauk, and we were grilling dinner. It summed up the calm and sated feeling that has been this spectacular Memorial Day weekend over here on the east coast. Below is another shot of the front hall of our friend's house during their lunch and pool party yesterday. The profusion of shoes sums up the happy chaos of that event, and you just have to imagine the shouts and yelps of over a dozen children jumping in and out of the pool in the backyard all afternoon.

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From all of us here at Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, we wish you all a happy Memorial Day. We now have one more day to rest up, recreate, remember and clean up the house. Below is our annual origin story of Memorial Day. Enjoy.

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The Holiday of Flowers

This is the holiday of flowers: flowers that were called to be strewn upon the ground in honor of the dead from both sides who gave their lives to defend their country during the Civil War...

After the bloodiest and most divisive war in American history, Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic instituted the holiday at Arlington Cemetery in 1868 "For the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land."

Though many states in the south refused to observe Memorial Day fully and continued to honor their Confederate dead on a separate day, the entire country adopted the day after World War I as a day to honor soldiers fallen in any war. Since a Congressional act in 1971 the last Monday in May has been observed as a national holiday in nearly every state, ensuring a three day weekend.

For us now it a much appreciated holiday after a long spring of busy weeks and preparations for the summer ahead. It affords us a little extra time and the opportunity to reflect on what has been gained and lost in war, as well as to smell the flowers which have come back to visit us after a long winter.

Memorial Day is, at its root, a beautiful holiday that takes us past politics and history to a more universal place.

It is about reconciliation.

It is about overcoming division, honoring those that gave their all, and renewing our own commitment to the "great work" of living right here, right now on the earth in community.

Have a great Memorial Day.

Sources:

www.writersalmanac.publicradio.org
www.usmemorialday.org
Memorial Day via Wikipedia

(old picture: US Army Corps of Engineers)

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.

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