In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Maine Memory Network

A Day for Remembering

Text by Candace Kanes

Images from the Maine Historical Society, Patten Free Library, Monson Historical Society, and Waterford Historical Society.

America's Memorial Day holiday has its roots in the post-Civil War era when survivors decorated the graves of those who had died in the war, but the holiday has expanded since its official beginnings in 1868.

Now, Memorial Day often involves public parades honoring veterans and private observances by family and friends who visit cemeteries and decorate grave sites as part of the holiday.

Images of parades suggest the ways in which Maine communities have remembered veterans. Images of gravestones in various communities are reminders of the deceased's contributions to life. Some stones also feature carved symbols that speak not only of the person's life, but were intended to aid their passage into the afterlife.

The holiday is one that requires looking back to reflect on the ways in which past events and particular people have brought us to the present.