Memorial Day began in the 1860s as Decoration Day when local communities around the country visited the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who had died during the Civil War to leave flowers and remember lost friends and family. By the 20th century, the holiday became an occasion to recognize veterans and memorialize the dead from more than just the Civil War – including WWI, WWII and military conflicts up through the present.
Baltimore seems like the perfect place to continue the tradition of visiting monuments and memorials to reflect on our nation’s history of military service and conflict at home and abroad. In 1827, with the city celebrating the recently completed Battle Monument and the Washington Monument still under construction, President John Quincy Adams honored the city with a toast: “Baltimore, the Monumental City: may the days of her safety be as prosperous and happy as the days of her danger have been trying and triumphant!”
The city’s reputation as the Monumental City has only grown as residents have erected scores (if not hundreds!) of memorials around the city. Take this Memorial Day weekend as a chance to reflect on our history of peace and war, trying and triumphant, with our Baltimore by Bike tour of monuments big and small in Baltimore. Special note registration is free on this tour for veterans and currently enlisted military personnel – just select the $0 ticket option and pay by cash or check.