I Wuz Just Thinking: Memories and Memorial Day

U.S. Veterans Monument of Kilgore, Texas
Memorial Day was declared a national holiday through an act of Congress in 1971, and its roots date back to the Civil War era.
Walking for exercise recently at the Kilgore Veteran park, I wuz just thinking of the names that are listed on the Wall. These are men and women who have served in our United States military.  Some listed are still living and some have passed.
I began thinking of those wo lost their lives while serving in the military.  Memorial Day, formerly called Decoration’s Day, comes on the last Monday of May each year. It is a time of honoring the men and women who died while in service in the U.S. military.
All Americans who’ve served are remembered.  Prior to World War I only the Civil War soldiers were honored.
Memorial Day was declared a national holiday through an act of Congress in 1971, and its roots date back to the Civil War era, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
This year, Memorial day will be observed Monday, May 29.
Betty Mahurin Baker

Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day (formerly known as Armistice Day) is observed on November 11, honoring all military veterans of the United States Armed Forces.

Researching the origins of Memorial Day brought some interesting facts.

The origins were traced back to the neglected grave sites of soldiers during the Civil War.

“The first observance of what would become Memorial Day, some historians believe, took place in Charleston, South Carolina., at the site of a horse racing track that Confederates had turned into a prison holding Union prisoners. Blacks in the city organized a burial of deceased Union prisoners and built a fence around the site,” Yale historian David Blight wrote in The New York Times in 2011.”

“Then on May 1, 1865, they held an event there including a parade – Blacks who fought in the Civil War participated – spiritual readings and songs, and picnicking. A commemorative marker was erected there in 2010.”

Women decorated grave sites of Confederate soldiers that gave their lives in the Battle of Shiloh.

The ceremony, decorating graves with flowers, was one of the first Decoration Days in Columbus, Mississippi in 1866 on April 25.

A crowd of five thousand people gathered at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1873 with General Ulysses S. Grant presiding.

Flowers and small American flags were placed on graves by the orphaned children of soldiers and sailors, both Union and Confederate, who had been killed during the war.

This tradition continues to thrive in cemeteries of all sizes across the country.

It is thought the date in May was best as many flowers are in bloom at this time of year and can be used in decorating the cemeteries.  Also, after this date in May, one tends to think of the beginnings of summer.

In 2000 The National Moment of Remembrance Act – which created the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance and encourages all to pause at three o’clock in the afternoon. local time, on Memorial Day for a minute of silence – was signed into law by Congress and the President.

Many Americans will be enjoying a day off from work, having picnics at family reunions, and many will be gathering for special services such as scripture readings, bagpipe music, Taps played on bugles or trumpets,and some may have 21 gun salute.
Many, while visiting the cemeteries, will walk the grounds with memories of their loved ones, as I wuz jus thinking.

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