The first known observance of Memorial Day was in Charleston, South Carolina in 1865; freedmen (freed enslaved Africans) celebrated at the Washington Race Course, today the location of Hampton Park, and each year thereafter. African Americans founded Decoration Day, now referred to as Memorial Day, at the graveyard of 257 Union soldiers and labeled the gravesite “Martyrs of the Race Course” on May 1, 1865. Black Charlestonians created this American tradition.
In the North in Waterloo, New York on May 5, 1866. The friendship between General John Murray, a distinguished citizen of Waterloo, and General John A. Logan, who helped bring attention to the event nationwide, was likely a factor in the holiday’s growth. On May 5, 1868, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic – the organization for Northern Civil War veterans – Logan issued a proclamation that “Decoration Day” should be observed nationwide. It was observed for the first time on May 30 of the same year; the date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of a battle.
There were events in 183 cemeteries in 27 states in 1868, and 336 in 1869. The northern states quickly adopted the holiday; Michigan made “Decoration Day” an official state holiday in 1871 and by 1890 every northern state followed suit. The ceremonies were sponsored by the Women’s Relief Corps, which had 100,000 members. By 1870, the remains of nearly 300,000 Union dead had been buried in 73 national cemeteries, located mostly in the South, near the battlefields. The most famous are Gettysburg National Cemetery in Pennsylvania and Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington.
The Memorial Day speech became an occasion for veterans, politicians and ministers to commemorate the war – and at first to rehash the atrocities of the enemy. They mixed religion and celebratory nationalism and provided a means for the people to make sense of their history in terms of sacrifice for a better nation, one closer to God. People of all religious beliefs joined together, and the point was often made that the German and Irish soldiers had become true Americans in the “baptism of blood” on the battlefield. By the end of the 1870s the rancor was gone and the speeches praised the brave soldiers both Blue and Gray. By the 1950s, the theme was American exceptionalism and duty to uphold freedom in the world.
Ironton, Ohio lays claim to the nation’s oldest continuously running Memorial Day parade, it has been a tradition since 1868. The first parade was held May 5, 1868.
I ran across this article while researching something and wanted to share it…
By Bruce Linder
1) You believe George W. Bush’s redistribution of middle-class tax cuts to the top
1% of tax-payers was good for America, but Obama’s plan to return it to the
middle class is ‘socialism.’
2) You believe stem cells are living human beings, but thousands of Iraqi children
are ‘expendable collateral damage.’
3) You believe tax cuts for billionaires is a great idea, yet you wonder why the
economy has stalled, your job just got outsourced to India, and oil company
executives receive $400,000,000.00 retirement packages.
4) You believe the surge worked because the violence in Iraq is back to 2006 levels,
which is only horrible, compared to what it was in 2007; intolerable. Besides, Brit
Hume said so.
5) You think trial lawyers are harmful to America, yet you support prosecuting some
guy in Muncie Indiana who burned his 99¢ American flag that was made in China
by forced child labor.
6) You’re all for the ‘rule of law’ when it’s applied to Bill Clinton for lying about his
infidelity, but not for prosecuting Karl Rove and Scooter Libby for committing
7) You think George W. Bush is actually a really smart guy, but his folksy manner
just makes him seem dumber than he really is.
8 ) You believe that those privileged from birth achieve success all on their own, and
that those who are born to poverty and never have opportunities for
advancement, got what they deserved.
9) You believe Ronald Reagan was a great president who had complete control of
all aspects of government, but the Iran-Contra Affair was an insignificant scandal
that went on without his knowledge.
10) You believe Democrats tax and spend, but George W. Bush was a fiscal
11) You believe Oliver North, who was CONVICTED of perjury, obstruction of justice,
destroying evidence and accepting bribes, is a patriot. But John Kerry, who saved
a man’s life while under enemy fire in Vietnam is a coward.
12) You believe George W. Bush kept us safe from terror, and the failure to prevent
the 9/11 attacks were Clinton’s fault.
13) You actually believe Fox News is fair & balanced.
14) You still believe Saddam had truckloads of WMDs, and that he somehow
managed to sneak them into Syria, right under our noses.
15) You believe Terri Schiavo was sentient all along, and Bill Frist had the ability to
diagnose her condition by watching a 5 second video of her sleeping.
16) You’re in favor of stronger prison sentences for drug users, yet your favorite radio
personality is Rush Limbaugh.
17) You complain about having to press 1 for English, yet you hire undocumented
workers to mow your lawn because they’re cheaper than hiring the kid next door.
18) Homosexuality is abhorrent to you, except when a Republican senator, the
president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and a planted White House
journalist get caught having sexual affairs with gay men. Then you suddenly feel
sorry for them.
19) The war in Iraq makes perfect sense to you, but any suggestion by Barack
Obama that we target al Qaeda specifically is ‘dangerous and reckless.’
20) You don’t mind that president Bush tortured men who were never charged with a
crime, yet you’re horrified by the wrath of al Qaeda when they capture one of our
21) You believe the 1/10 of 1% of scientists who claim global warming is a hoax, and
reject the 99.9% who say it’s real, because Sean Hannity and his friends in the oil
industry have convinced you that science is a part of a greater liberal conspiracy.
22) You believe patriotism means you should support your government right or wrong
… unless a Democrat’s in power, then it’s your patriotic duty to call him a closet
Muslim, challenge his birth certificate, expose his sex life and impeach him.
23) You’re proud of your party’s ‘culture of life.’ Yet you support the death penalty for
minors, you believe 600,000 dead Iraqis is justified because one of them was
Saddam Hussein, and you oppose confronting the genocide in Darfur because
they don’t have oil.
24) You support prayer in school, as long as your kids aren’t subjected to Muslim
25) You think Darwin’s theory of evolution is a loony fairy tale, and mankind actually
began with two naked teenagers, a magic apple and a talking snake.
After a long trip overseas, President Obama wasted no time meeting his obligation as “comforter-in-chief” visiting the people and the city of Joplin, MO after a series of devastating tornadoes hit the area last week…
Face to face with the legions of homeless and the bereaved, President Barack Obama on Sunday toured the apocalyptic landscape left by Missouri’s killer tornado, consoled the community and committed the government to helping rebuild shattered lives.
Obama said survivors of the disaster in Joplin are showing the world how to come together, and he pledged that the nation, as he put it, “will be with you every step of the way.”
Obama spoke at a memorial service for victims on Sunday. He said it’s impossible to know when or why such devastation strikes. But he praised neighbors for helping each other at great risk to themselves. He said there are heroes “around us all the time.”
“This is not just your tragedy. This is a national tragedy, and that means there will be a national response,” Obama said.
Air Force One flew over a massive swath of brown as far as the eye could see – a landscape of flattened houses and stripped trees – on its approach to Joplin. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and others greeted him on the tarmac before they set out for their first stop, a walking tour of a destroyed neighborhood. A memorial service punctuated a day of remembrance one week after the disaster.