Today we commemorate, honor and express gratitude to those Americans who died in service to our country. In the period immediately following the American Civil War (and, some argue, even before that), states and local jurisdictions celebrated the holiday in various and individual ways. These days became known as Decoration Day—a day reserved for cleaning and decorating the graves of fallen soldiers. On 30 May 1868, the first national Memorial Day was celebrated; the national commemoration was observed on every 30 May for the next century. In 1971, Congress moved the national holiday to the last Monday of May (to regularize the celebration with a three day weekend).
Other countries—throughout history—have honored the selfless service of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, both living and dead. The French established La Croix de Guerre in 1915 during World War One (1914-1918). It was given to those individuals (or groups) which displayed heroism in combat with an enemy. La Croix de Guerre is also presented to foreign fighters who demonstrate heroism as allies of France. The award was re-instituted during World War Two and in subsequent conflicts.
The French World War One "sweetheart bracelet," shown above, consists of five Croix de Guerre, interspersed with five copper medallions—each of which commemorates a different battle during the war. It would have been given to a wife or girlfriend by her love as he was sent-off to The Great War. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248