Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a time to remember that there are some people out there who are a lot braver than many of us (especially me) and are willing to face danger on behalf of us all both within and outside of our country’s borders. What better way to remember them than with a very special tea time?
On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic (an organization of former sailors and soldiers) issued General Order No. 11, declaring May 30th as Decoration Day. Originally, this was to remember those fallen during the War Between the States (commonly called the Civil War). About 103 years later, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to honor those who had died in military service to their country and was set to be celebrated on the last Monday in May. The official observance is at Arlington National Cemetery where a small American flag is placed on each grave and the president or vice-president gives a speech honoring the contributions of the dead and lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
So, how can you set up a suitable tea time that will help you be a part of this? Start with the appropriate guest list. Friends, family, and anyone you may know who is serving or has served in our military are good ones to start with. Next is décor, with red, white, and blue figuring prominently in your color scheme. You can have balloons, a tablecloth, napkins, paper plates and cups all sporting those colors.
Is there such a thing as a memorial tea blend? I’m not sure. You could select just about any tea you really like and build a suitable menu to go with it. Most locations in the U.S. should have fairly warm weather (no guarantees, since I’m not a meteorologist and predicting the weather that far ahead is quite unreliable), so you could plan on a picnic-style tea time and serve chilled or iced tea.
Enhance your typical picnic fare with some more unusual items like those sushi-style rolls from the grocery store (I love them, and they come with the fresh ginger and wasabi), some homemade scones or tea cakes, maybe some chutneys and Walkers crisps.
Don’t forget to dig out the John Phillip Sousa marches, movies like The Best Years of Our Lives (I just adore Myrna Loy!), and set a bunch of flags around. Don’t forget to say “Thanks!” to any military members in attendance!
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