Cemetery, The Presidio, San Francisco, California. Photo © Jim Doty, Jr.
Memorial Day began unofficially in a variety of places as people felt the need to recognize those who gave their lives in the Civil War. Memorial Day was officially declared on May 5, 1868, when General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic ordered a day of observance when all Union and Confederate Graves at Arlington National Cemetery would be decorated with flowers on May 30, 1868. One state after another adopted May 30 as a Memorial Day observance until all of the Northern states had adopted May 30 by 1890. Many Southern states had picked different days to honor the Confederate dead.