Three years after the Civil War ended, on March 5, 1868, John A. Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.
He declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
|This poster from 1917 shows the name change and honors the memory of the dead from the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War.|
It’s also a time to remember our present veterans and those in service now. To them all, we owe an unplayable debt. Here’s Bill, my favorite veteran, my husband:
|Home from Basic Training, 1965, Private|
|Bamberg, Germany, early 1967, Sergeant|
|Machine Gun Instructor|
1st Engineer Training Brigade
Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo
* Red poppies are known as a symbol of remembrance, and it’s a tradition to wear them to honor those who died in war.
* President Bill Clinton signed the National Moment of Remembrance Act on Dec. 28, 2000, designating 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day as a National Moment of Remembrance. Television and radio stations play the “Taps” to give Americans pause during their busy Memorial Day.
* The crowd that attended the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery was about the same size as those that attend today’s observance: about 5,000 people.
* It has been often reported that “Taps,” the most famous bugle song came from a Civil War captain who discovered his long lost son in a field of Confederate bodies, but this is nothing more than an urban legend. In fact, the bugle song comes from Union Brig. Get Daniel Butterfield during the Civil War. He didn’t care for the “customary firing of three rifle volleys at the conclusion of burials during battle” and wanted a softer and more somber bugle song to honor his fallen soldiers.
* More than 150 years later, the Civil War remains the United States’ deadliest conflict. More than 620,000 people died during the war. Many of the casualties occurred as a result of disease, rather than as a direct result of injuries. The second deadliest conflict was World War II, in which more than 400,000 American soldiers lost their lives.
* Memorial Day is now the second-most popular holiday (after the Fourth of July) for a sun-baked barbecue: 53% of people grill on the holiday, according to Hearth, Patio and & Barbecue Association.
* And, to wrap it up: The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council notes that on Memorial Day, Americans will consume a stomach-busting 818 dawgs per second. That’s just a few wieners short of 71 million in a day. They’re not sure how many packages that equals, but they’re betting the equivalent number of bun packs would fall short by, oh, 1.3 million or so.
It’s also the beginning of strawberry season. And what better way to give a nod to it than classic strawberry shortcake!
Here you won’t find any of those little sponge discs that look like sofa casters that you see displayed by the strawberries at the grocery store. I always pass on them as they taste like I suppose foam rubber would.
This is all about serving the juicy strawberries over rich, flaky buttery homemade biscuits made with cream and a touch of sugar, topping it all off with whipped cream, of course!
1½ pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced, tossed with 2-4 tablespoons sugar; set aside.
For the shortcake:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1½ cups heavy cream
Whipped Cream, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar and salt.
Add cream, mix until just combined.
Place mixture in an ungreased 8-inch pan.
Bake until golden, about 18 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, while shortcake is baking, place a metal bowl and beaters in the freezer.
When shortcake is baked, remove from pan and place to a rack to cool slightly.
Cut into 6 pieces and split shortcake in half horizontally.
Beat all whipped cream ingredients in the metal bowl with chilled beaters about 1½ to 2 minutes, until peaks form.
Spoon some strawberries with their juice onto each shortcake bottom.
Top with a spoonful of whipped cream and the shortcake top.
Place a couple of strawberries over all and an additional dollop of whipped cream for garnish.
For the Whipped Cream
1½ cups heavy cream, chilled
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Makes 6 servings