|Veterans Memorial at Tillman County Courthouse in Frederick|
The first Memorial Day was observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
New York was the first state to recognize the holiday, in 1873.
By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states, but for many years the South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days.
After World War I, the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to those Americans who died fighting in any war.
It is now celebrated in all states on the last Monday in May.
|Tillman County Veterans War Memorial|
Tillman County Observance
In Tillman County, a Memorial Day program was held on Friday, May 25, at the Veterans War Memorial that is located on the lawn of the county courthouse in Frederick. A monument listing the county’s war casualties was dedicated there in 1991.
For Memorial Day wooden crosses, arranged in star formation, represent the county’s war dead.
In 1921, when Memorial Day had been celebrated in Oklahoma for only a few years, a June 2, 1921, article in The Frederick Press describes the holiday’s observance in Frederick.
From The Frederick Press, June 21, 1921
LEGION PAY HONOR TO ITS OWN HEROIC DEAD
Beautiful and impressive ceremonies were held at the graveside of John Schumpert, Frederick hero who gave his life for his country on the battlefields of France, Monday morning by John S. Kerr Post, American Legion, following a parade of the members of the post through the business section of the city headed by the Commercial Band and a long procession of cars to the city cemetery, where the ceremonies were conducted.
The Rev. B.J. Kimber delivered the memorial address in which he paid eloquent tribute to the dead of the World War, and Earl Hall, commander of Kerr Post conducted the ritualistic ceremonies, while the firing squad of the post fired three volleys and bugler Alma Steed, of Company H. Oklahoma National Guard sounded taps.
Nearly every business house in this city was closed from 10 o’clock in the morning until 1 o’clock in the afternoon and banks and most offices remained closed all day in observance of the national holiday, Memorial Day.
NOTE: See update to this story in June 3, 2012 Chronicles post.