May 27, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon. Today's PM is 495 words. (< 2 minutes!)

Situational awareness: While in Japan, Trump said the U.S. isn't ready for a China deal, Bloomberg reports.

  • “I think they probably wish they made the deal that they had on the table before they tried to renegotiate it... They would like to make a deal. We’re not ready to make a deal.”
1 big thing: Memorial Day intrigue

Photo: Library of Congress, LC-BH825-40

The history of Memorial Day is the subject of a longstanding academic smackdown, with dozens of cities and towns claiming to be the holiday’s birthplace, Axios' Jennifer Kingson reports.

The backstory: Scholars agree that in 1868, three years after the Civil War’s end, Union Army General John A. Logan established a national holiday “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.” What’s disputed is where he got the idea.

Among the contenders:

  • Columbus, Ga., where a Confederate widow who regularly decorated her husband’s grave wrote a widely published letter to the editor in 1866 calling for “a day to be set apart annually” for Southerners to observe this “sad but pleasant duty.”
  • Columbus, Miss., where a small group of women gathered in 1866 to place flowers on the graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers, a gesture of reconciliation.
  • Charleston, S.C., where African-American residents honored slain Union soldiers in a May Day ceremony in 1865.
  • Waterloo, N.Y., where villagers marched “to the strains of martial music” in an 1866 parade to decorate soldiers’ graves.

There are even dueling Memorial Day research centers.

  • One, at the University of Mississippi, supports the view that “so widespread was the impulse to honor the war dead that observances occurred spontaneously in several locations.”
  • The other, at Columbus State University in Georgia, makes a persuasive case that the Confederate widow’s letter to the editor got the ball rolling.

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Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

A man installs a candle at the "Arlington West" display of war memorial crosses organized by Veterans for Peace (VFP) on Santa Monica Beach in Santa Monica.

  • Each white cross represents one U.S. military member killed in combat in the U.S. global war on terror. Red crosses represent ten military personnel killed.
2. What you missed
  1. Trump publicly intervened in the domestic political crisis in Israel 48 hours before the deadline for putting together a new government. Go deeper.
  2. Maine and New Mexico reported their first measles patients and New York continues to have the highest number of new infections. By the numbers.
  3. "IKEA is launching a new app to allow customers to shop remotely for products they can visualize in the context of their own homes..." [Reuters]
3. 1 pup thing

"The four-year program in 'canine training and management' officially launches this fall at the State University of New York at Cobleskill," the AP reports.

  • Why it matters: “'I do believe this is the first of its kind of this caliber of degree' at a major university, said Nick Hof, chairman of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers."

The big picture: "The need for service dogs trained to assist those with post-traumatic stress disorder or reduced mobility has also expanded as veterans started returning from multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan."

  • "There’s also a growing demand for dogs trained to assist people with autism, seizure disorders, diabetes, impaired vision or hearing."
Mike Allen