Saturday, May 24, 2014

In Remembrance

American Flag

The final Monday of the month of May is nearly upon us and once again we pay honor to those who have fallen in the fields of battle preserving this wonderful country of ours. It is the day that Americans acknowledge all the brave military personnel who, without hesitation laid down their lives to ensure the rest of us non-military types have the freedom and liberty in which we hold so dear to our hearts.

The holiday once known as Decoration Day, was later changed formaly to Memorial Day in 1967 and has a long and distinguished history.

Throughout human history people have often decorated graves of those killed in battle with flowers, wreaths, personal items, and much more. But it wasn't until the Civil War that the practice of decorating a soldier's grave became so prominent. That war, the one between the North and the South, which left approximately 750,000 soldiers dead (according to the latest research conducted by historian J. David Hacker) resulted in citizens openly decorating the graves of both the Union and Confederate soldiers.

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President Johnson
There is contention of whom or what section of this country first displayed decorated graves or cemeteries but in 1865, due to the large loss of life during the Civil War, the Federal government began creating national military cemeteries. Boalsburg, Pennsylvania claims that women took to the task of decorating graves on July 4, 1864 but there is a cry of foul from Warrenton, Virginia which claims the practice started there on June 3, 1861. And yet on May 26, 1966 President Johnson signed a presidential proclamation saying Waterloo, New York was the birthplace for Memorial Day. But the first truly prominent celebration of Memorial Day was on May 1, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina by the town's freed slaves. At least 257 Union soldiers died at the Charleston Race Course, which was being used as a prisoner of war camp by the South, and the freed men and women decided to honor those soldiers who had died while putting an end to slavery. Ten thousand people (men, women and children) showed up for the remembrance of those soldiers who died horrible deaths while imprisoned at the race course.
Cemetery at Charleston Race Course

A bit confusing claiming to be the first but then again does it really matter who gets the shot at infamy when in reality the only thing that matters is for all of us to give thanks to those brave men and women who are no longer with us because of their selflessness?

So, fire up the barbeques and enjoy your time with friends and family but sometime during the day shoot a prayer up for those fallen heroes who are no longer with us.

At J and L we will.
J's father (George), grandfather (John), and uncle (Jack) are all buried here and served their country proud

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