According to legend, Memorial Day-type remembrances began a year after the end of America’s Civil War. Shops in Waterloo, N.Y. closed for a day in 1866 to honor soldiers killed in that four-year war. The day of remembrance eventually spread to places such as Richmond, Virginia, where flowers were put on the graves of soldiers and, by 1868, a ceremony was added in which the dead were honored with songs and flowers. The annual ceremony began to be called Decoration Day. In 1882, the name was changed to Memorial Day. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May. Memorial Day celebrations include flags and bunting, eagles and other symbols of America’s hard-fought wars and fallen soldiers.

Postcards were one way to express the emotions of Memorial Day and to honor those who had died for their country. They are great collectibles, with their bright colors and sentimental pictures and words. This 1911 postcard with the words “Lest We Forget” was published by LR Conwell and is selling for $12 on Amazon.