John Alexander Logan died this day, Dec. 26, 1886. He was a major-general during the Civil War, serving with Gen. Grant at Vicksburg, Miss., and Gen. Sherman on his march to the sea. He was shot three times, but recovered. He became a U.S. congressman, senator, and vice-presidential candidate. A peak in the Rocky Mountains and a college in Illinois are named for him. But John Alexander Logan is best known for founding Memorial Day, where the graves of America’s soldiers are honored. He stated: “The beautiful ceremonies of love and remembrance, now so universally performed with flowers, came … through … the Christian religion. Branches of palms were thrown in the path of our Savior as He entered Jerusalem. The crucified Christ received a crown of thorns from His executioners, but flowers strewn by unseen hands exhaled their fragrance around the cave where His body was laid.”

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