Sunday, May 27, 2018

Memorial Day or Decoration Day

Excerpts taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" originally published in The Collinsville News, May 27, 1948. 

"I have often wondered when and by whom Memorial Day was originated and when I read that it was started in the South, I began to investigate, for I had always supposed it was originally a northern custom. 
I find that it was declared a national holiday on May 5, 1868, by General John A. Logan, Commander of the G.A.R. May 30 was for the greater part of the nation, to become the 'Day of Remembrance,' a day to honor the dead, not the living nor the conquerors."
There are many legends, disputes, and a few facts as to the origin of the custom, and Carbondale, Ill., home of John A. Logan, rightly claims the first honor. Strange as it may seem, this story, too, is accepted as authentic.
The southern women of Charleston, South Carolina, a confederate state, were inspired by the deaths of northern men, union men to observe the first Memorial Day on the same day that Lincoln's body lay in state in Chicago.
The tragic death of Lincoln, culminating four years of grief, death, and burials in both north and south, the slow progress of his funeral train from \Washington to the prairies of Illinois so crystalized the hysteria of a nation that when the proclamation to honor the dead came, Memorial
Day burst from the people, spontaneously.
Decoration Day brings to me more and more each year, that the graveyard is a great leveler. 
We are all brought there (to the graveyard) by the same impulse loyalty of the living to the dead, but somehow it makes us more gentle and understanding and appreciative of the living too, regardless of station in life, riches or poverty, book learning or ignorance, or former mistakes, for we all made our mistakes and hope for lenient judgment and we all have our problems, heartaches, and sorrows which become a bond of sympathy." 

And, taken from June 2, 1960, Morrow continues: 
"And, since we easily forget that wars cost not only money but pain, suffering and lives, we decorate the graves of those who gave their lives that their country might live. Some call it Decoration Day; some call it Memorial Day, but, whatever we call it, it is hallowed 'and sacred." 

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