Monday, May 30, 2016

Decoration Day

     That's what day this is -- or was.  They call it "Memorial Day" now, a name already adopted as the last vestiges of the armies whose fallen once had their graves decorated and the sacrifices marked on this day: the Grand Army of the Republic and the United Confederate Veterans held their last gatherings in 1949 and 1951, respectively.

     Remembrances for the dead of each side had evolved separate Decoration Days -- pragmatically in the spring, when the first large growth of flowers were available.  The commemorations gradually merged, though you'll find remnants of Confederate Memorial Day still on the calendars of some southern States.  One of the earliest such days was in the South, in May 1865 -- but marked Union dead, as African-American residents cleaned up and landscaped the graves of prisoners of war who had died in the prison at Washington Race Course (now Hampton Park) in Charleston, South Carolina.

     By 1868, the day had attained a degree of official recognition which continued to grow in North and South alike, even as the veterans of the war that inspired it faded away.

     It is a day for remembering the fallen, for remembering the price of war's prizes, a day not for arguing why or how but honoring those who went, did their duty -- and never returned.  Spare them a thought.  Tend their graves this one day, at least.


Guffaw in AZ said...



Raz Raxxaffian said...

I was raised when today was universally referred to as Decoration Day. Each spring my grandparents and I would go and clean out weeds, place flowers and tidy up the graves of forebears as well as the veterans buried in our local cemetery. This was small-town Oklahoma in the early fifties, eons ago in most folks' minds.

It was always a somber occasion, even though we always took a picnic lunch and chatted with other people out doing the same activities. Many chats, and some tears over 'so and so's' son, especially on that particular day. Remembering good times as well as bad, sharing stories of loved ones no longer present.

I contrast this with our Beloved Leader's lackluster and bored presence at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I have witnessed the changing of the guard and it can be a tearful experience. Some people seem to equate it as just another attraction in the theme park known as DC.

We have lost much of what made America what it used to be. In my seventy years I've seen many changes, many of them not for the good. It seems to come home to me every Decoration Day. Just wanted to pass this along.


David Schmidbauer said...

Lets us also remember the Military Animals, throughout time, that also paid the ultimate price during Service. As is inscribed on the "Animals in War" Memorial, London - "They had no choice."

David Schmidbauer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Old NFO said...

Amen. Well said.