Remembrance and Celebration: Memorial Day in Brooklyn

Windsor Terrace. Photo by Susan De Vries


    While Memorial Day for many is a way to kick off the summer season, it’s also meant to be a day of remembrance. With its origins as Decoration Day following the Civil War, it’s long been a chance to remember and honor soldiers who have died in war.

    Brooklyn has a rich history related to Memorial Day and we’ve gathered a few of our stories about it below.

    Remembering the Origins of Memorial Day in Brooklyn

    What today is known as Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. In 1868, General John A. Logan, commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union Army’s Veteran’s Association, instituted the first Decoration Day, calling for it to be celebrated in cities and towns across the country. May 30 was chosen at random, coinciding with the optimal time of year for flowers to be in bloom.

    brooklyn history tallyho disaster memorial day

    Victims of the disaster. Image via The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

    On Memorial Day, 1897, a Tally-Ho Ride from Stuyvesant Heights to Long Island Went Horribly Wrong
    On Memorial Day 1897, a group of young adults from Stuyvesant Heights’ Green Avenue Baptist Church was involved in a horrible collision between an open horse-drawn coach and a Long Island Railroad train. The crash took place on May 31, 1897.

    memorial day war memorial

    Photo by Susan De Vries

    Brooklyn’s War Memorial

    This huge monument honors Brooklyn’s war dead from World War II, and is a somber reminder of the sacrifices ordinary people have made for our country. Unfortunately, for something as large as it is, this is the most lost memorial in Brooklyn.

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