On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan issued a proclamation calling for "Decoration Day" to be observed annually and nationwide; he was commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), an organization of and for Union Civil War veterans. His proclamation, Logan adopted the Memorial Day practice that had begun in the Southern states three years earlier.
The first Northern Memorial Day was observed on May 30, 1868. The northern states quickly adopted the holiday. In 1868, memorial events were held in 183 cemeteries in 27 states, and 336 in 1869. In 1871, Michigan made "Decoration Day" an official state holiday and by 1890, every northern state had followed suit. By 1870, the remains of nearly 300,000 Union dead had been reinterred in 73 national cemeteries, located near major battlefields and thus mainly in the South. The most famous are Gettysburg National Cemetery in Pennsylvania and Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.
Since 1868 Doylestown, the county seat of Bucks County, in Pennsylvania, has held annual Memorial Day parades which it claims to be the nation's oldest continuously running.
Here is a clip from a movie about the famous 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the “bravest of the brave” preparing for the storming of the Confederate Fort Wagner, in 1863.
Sussex County boosts one current and one former infantryman serving or having recently served in elected office. Sheriff Mike Strada was a platoon leader (SGT) in Iraq during Desert Storm. Former Freeholder Rich Vohden served in the Korean War in the U.S. Army Infantry.