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Memorial Day history

History lesson and proposal today, Memorial Day.   




Memorial Day used to be a day for us to honor veterans in the U. S. Lately it seems that the federal holidays, Mondays as a day off for many of us, are weekends for sales. This holiday is an unofficial start to our summer. Amusement parks, neighborhood pools, beach and boating holidays gear up this weekend.



Memorial Day is only observed in the United States. It started after the Civil War as Decoration Day. This day was to honor only those who fought in the Civil War. It expanded to commemorate all military personnel who fought in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, the Vietnam War, and conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was always celebrated on May 30. That’s the date the originator of the holiday, General Logan, chose. In 1968, Congress passed a law to make federal holidays celebrated on the Monday closest to the holiday’s actual date. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act gave federal workers a three-day holiday at different times through out the year. This was the first time Memorial Day was recognized as a federal holiday and it’s to honor all military personnel who fought during any of our conflicts. (FYI: Veterans Day is always observed on it’s actual date – Nov. 11) Memorial Day now is always the last Monday of May.
To learn more, click here for the History Channel articles.


Eight Things About Memorial Day that Most People May Not Know


  1. The first commemorative events weren’t held in the United Stated until the late 19th Century. Honoring those who have fallen in battle dates to the ancient Greeks and Romans.
  2. The first commemoration in the U.S. was organized by formerly enslaved African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina three weeks after the surrender of the Confederacy at Appomattox.
  3. The founder, Gen. John Logan had a long military career. He was the commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Union veteran’s group, when he started the holiday.
  4. Logan probably adapted the idea from the group that had earlier held events in the south.
  5. Memorial Day didn’t become a federal holiday until 1971. Many states made Memorial Day a state holiday before 1971.
  6. It took a long time and lots of controversy for Decoration Day to become Memorial Day and to be celebrated on the last Monday. Many Veterans groups want it on May 30 still.
  7. Waterloo, N. Y. is recognized as the first city to celebrate the holiday. However, many more cities claim to be the birthplace of Decoration Day.
  8. Wearing a red poppy on Memorial Day began in World War I because of a poem. The poem “In Flanders Field” was written by Canadian Lt. Colonel John McCrae, a brigade surgeon for an artillery unit. The poem gave a voice to the soldiers who were killed and buried under poppies in the field. A teacher in Georgia read the poem in a magazine (Ladies Home Journal), wrote her own poem and campaigned for the poppy to be the symbol of remembrance for Memorial Day.
To learn more about these tid-bits - go to the History Channel.


Here’s the proposal – Help me start a Quilt’s of Valor (QOV) Group at QA.


I can set aside a day a month for sewing quilts in the classroom. People can cut, iron, sew, chat, etc. You don’t have to be a sewist to help. There are several longarmers who have offered to quilt for QOV, but we need tops for them to quilt. We will also need people to bind the quilts. If you have fabric that is patriotic, the colors of the branches of service you would like to donate; we will take it. There are many simple, free patterns available too. All of the quilts we make will go to someone local. There is a long list of people who have been nominated to receive quilts in the Richmond area.



I have 5 kits for a flag panel with a bargello surround and a border. I will teach a class at no charge if you promise to return the quilt top for QOV. The pattern you may keep and use with other panels. We can do the class on a weekend or weekday – just let me know what works best.


Email me with two things at


  1.        What day of the month would you like to sew quilts?
  2.        What day do you want to do the kit class? Saturday, June 29th or a weekday?


We received a delivery of Paintbrush Studio solids this week. Our solids section is looking really filled in. Curves class and new beginner classes start this week. A few spaces are still available. Go online to sign up or give us a call.


Happy sewing everyone

Phyllis and the QA staff

Quilting Adventures                                                                     Hours: 
6943 Lakeside Avenue                                                                  Tues thru Sat  10 - 4 
Richmond VA  23228                                                                     Sun - Mon  Closed
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Quilting Adventures
6943 Lakeside Ave
Richmond, VA 23228
(804) 262-0005
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    Thursday 10 am-7 pm 
    Saturday 10 am-5 pm
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