Memorial Day celebrates “a national act of enthusiasm and faith”

Oliver Wendell Holmes said so in an 1884 Memorial Day speech.

Memorial Day is a celebration of enthusiasm and faith. So said Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in a speech on Memorial Day, 1884—two decades after his service in the Civil War and two decades before his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court:

“So to the indifferent inquirer who asks why Memorial Day is still kept up we may answer, it celebrates and solemnly reaffirms from year to year a national act of enthusiasm and faith. It embodies in the most impressive form our belief that to act with enthusiasm and faith is the condition of acting greatly.”

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