Lilacs are blooming on the patio of Bonnie’s Parsonage

Sip coffee or lemonade on the patio of Bonnie's Parsonage, Holland's historic bed and breakfast

It’s fitting the lilacs are in bloom in Holland, Michigan this Memorial Day weekend. Decoration Day, its original name, was declared an official state holiday in Michigan in 1871 to honor all who died serving in the Armed Forces. Late May was chosen because spring flowers were in full bloom at that time.

By 1890, all of the northern states followed our Michigan’s lead. The 600,000 Civil War casualties touched the lives of most American families so the holiday became a time when the nation could gather to pay tribute to them. Walt Whitman wrote “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” in 1865 as a memorial tribute to Abraham Lincoln following his death. While his poem wasn’t directly related to the holiday, when lilacs bloom here in Michigan, it reminds us it’s a time to honor all who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

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