It is uncertain who for sure began the long standing tradition which later becoming a day of national observance. After the Civil War, In the early spring families would decorate the graves of the sons and husbands who had died in the Civil War. It wasn't formal, unified or spoken, it was personal. Perhaps families were able to make it to the place where their loved one lay following the winter and bringing flowers to place at their graves.
On May 5, 1868 General John A. Logan made the proclamation:
“The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
It is said he chose this day because it wasn't a significant day of a specific battle. It didn't represent North or South, it was unifying. America as one nation could join together with sorrow and blood shed. On the first Decoration Day, General Garfield (late to become the 20th President), spoke at Arlington National Cemetery, the bloodiest place in America history, where around 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were buried.
Following World War One, Decoration Day became a day of remembrance for not just the soldiers who had died in the Civil War, but all of American Soldiers. So today, as has been done since 1868, we take a day of mourning for those who have sacrificed their lives for ours. Not only is it a day of mourning for the loss of military lives, but for military families.
At 3:00 pm this evening around the nation moments of silence will be taken to honor the fallen. Whether you're home alone or with family and friends take time to reflect and thank God for the soldiers who died and pray for the soldiers who continue to keep us safe every day.