Posted by: Jack Henry | May 27, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Memorial Day

I was just sitting here thinking about the holiday on Monday and I thought that maybe I should look into Memorial Day. I found this brief explanation on Wikipedia, which I found interesting:

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.

From there, I looked up the etymology for memorial on the Etymology Online site, and I thought the collection of words they had grouped together was more interesting than their etymologies. Here are a few of the words and definitions that came up:

· memorial (noun): “fame, renown, reputation,” also “commemorative gesture, monument, or rite,” in general, “something by which the memory of a person, thing, or event is preserved.”

· memorial (adjective): “memorable, excellent; remembered, committed to memory.”

· immemorial (adjective): “old beyond memory,” or “ancient beyond memory.”

· immemorable (adjective): “something not worth remembering.”

· festschrift (noun): "volume of writings by various scholars presented as a tribute or memorial to a veteran scholar," 1898, from German Festschrift, literally "festival writing."

Whether you put flowers on a memorial or read a festschrift, I hope you have a memorable weekend.

Kara Church

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