On May 30, 1868, a crowd of 5,000 gathered at Arlington National Cemetery for the first Decoration Day exercises. Before scattering flowers over the graves of the dead, the crowd listened to an address by Major General James A. Garfield, a Civil War veteran who would later become the 20th President.
Garfield wanted to honor those who died “in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” The Civil War claimed 617,528 American lives, more than any other military action in which the United States has taken part.
After World War I, Memorial Day, as Decoration Day would later be called, was broadened to pay tribute to all men and women who have lost their lives in any war or military action.
Join us on Memorial Day as Port Hueneme remembers all those who made the ultimate sacrifice.