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Memorial Day

Memorial Day

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Published by glennpease

Compiled by EDWARD M. DEEMS, A.M., PH.D.


Compiled by EDWARD M. DEEMS, A.M., PH.D.


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Published by: glennpease on Jul 20, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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MEMORIAL DAYCompiled by EDWARD M. DEEMS, A.M., PH.D. SUGGESTIVE THOUGHTS AD ILLUSTRATIOS (May 30) TRADITIO has it that about the time the Civil War broke out, a soldier of 1 the German army came to this country, and, enlisting in our army, served through the war. About the time the war closed he casually remarked one day that it was the custom in Germany for the people to scatter flowers on the graves of soldiers once a year. othing more was said at the time, but it is supposed that this was the origin of " Memorial Day." Be this as it may, early in May, 1868, Adjutant-General . P. Chipman con ferred with ational Commander John A. Logan, of the Grand Army of the Republic (an organization then in its infancy) concerning the matter of having that organization inaugurate the custom of spreading flowers on the graves of the Union soldiers all over the Union at some uniform time or day. The idea seemed to strike General Logan as being a most proper thing to do, and he immediately issued an order in which he named the 3Oth day of May, 1868, " for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion,
and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, or hamlet churchyard in the land." After speaking to the Grand Army comrades of their duties he closed with these words, " It is the purpose of the commander-in-chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of the departed." As time went on the name of " Decoration " was changed to " Memorial," the former word failing to express the feelings of the comrades, inasmuch as it has too much shallowness for such a grand service as has been inaugurated. It is well that this day should be kept a high and holy festival. Think of the character of the men who responded thirty-seven years ago to the call of the country! The army was drawn from the average American citizen, and it was constituted from the very best stock in the land. Then think of the high and sacred cause in which they were enlisted. The men whose graves shall be decorated on Memorial Day were men who ventured their lives, and in multitudes of instances lost them for the sake of great ideas and principles, and for these they counted it honor to deny themselves and endure all things, even death itself. We cannot do a wiser thing than to honor the memories of the departed defenders of the flag, and in so doing show, not only that we are grateful for what they did, but that we love the ation whose banner they followed
and wish to do something that will prove that we are worthy of the name of Americans. But the patriot dead are not only those who wore the blue and marched under the flag; not alone their graves do we honor. There were patriots who at home upheld the soldier s heart and inspired him to duty. There were the wo men, who gave their loved ones, who breathed up prayers for their safety and return, whose needles stitched for them, whose hands wrought for them, whose * For date of observance of Memorial Day in the South, see table of holidays on p. 465. MEMORIAL DAY 567 letters cheered them, whose love forever embodied itself in something that should comfort and relieve them. The memory of those patriot women we too would honor, and did we know where their bodies sleep, their graves we would decorate. . T. A. (1898.) ADDRESSES

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