Memorial Day Beginnings

The start of a day of remembrance

Henry Carter Welles

of Waterloo, New York was credited for suggesting a national memorial day. Although Henry was a well known druggist at the time, he would probably be forgotten today by all but descendants except for a comment that he made to townspeople in the summer of 1865. At a social gathering, Henry suggested that a day should be set aside to honor the dead of the Civil War. The next year, he repeated his suggestion toGeneral John B. Murray. The two men and a group formed of local citizens gained the support of the village, and on May 5, 1866, the first complete observance ofMemorial Day took place in Waterloo, NY.

Origin of Memorial Day