First it was Called Decoration Day

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After the Civil War soldiers and other family members would go to their local cemetery and decorate the graves of their fallen comrades and relatives with flowers. After the First World War, all war dead were honored in what came to be called Memorial Day.

 

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Decoration Day Parade 1870, St. Paul, Minnesota

 

On this day we remember the fallen who gave their lives for the ideals of an America they believed in. May their ultimate sacrifice not be in vain.

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National Monument for Military Working Dogs. They are honored as fallen soldiers, too.

 

We must never forget the goals and aims of what our Founders envisioned for this ‘great experiment,’ no matter how dark the days may seem.

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Decoration Day
Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry’s shot alarms!
Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon’s sudden roar,
Or the drum’s redoubling beat.
But in this camp of Death
No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
No wound that bleeds and aches.
All is repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
It is the Truce of God!
Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.
Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.
                              — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

2 thoughts on “First it was Called Decoration Day

  1. Thanks for this post, Laurie. I, too, had no idea it was called Decoration Day. In Canada, we don’t have this holiday (Victoria Day, which celebrates Queen Victoria’s birthday was last Monday) but we do have Remembrance Day in November which I think you call Veteran’s Day.

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  2. Thanks for this. I did not know that it was called decoration day.

    I agree that things might be a bit dark now, but those who sacrificed for what the Founders believed as well as many ideals that were developed later did not do so in vain. Not just America, but all of humanity is better of because of the advancement of democratic ideals. In the long run, these ideals will overcome the regressive forces that seem to be running rampant these days.

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