Before there were baseball trading cards, there were cards that came packed in cigarette packs and tins of tobacco. And before there was Memorial Day, we instead had a holiday called Decoration Day, which originated at the end of the Civil War. Originally, both veterans and civilians would go to the graves of fallen soldiers as well as to the statues of military heroes and decorate them with garlands of flowers.
Below, the statue of Abraham Lincoln in Union Square is honored on Decoration Day in 1876.
Once the holiday transformed to Memorial Day, the practice of decorating statues fell into disuse, though the graves of fallen military personnel are generally spruced up this weekend.
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SAVE THE DATE: we'll be hosting a public tour on Sunday, June 25, so save the date. Details coming soon!