Memorial/Decoration Day

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Squire Robertsson, May 26, 2004.

  1. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
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    A few Novembers ago at Remembrance/Veteran's Day, a small snit developed between myself and some of my Canadian comrades on another list. They took umbrage when I pointed out that down here 11 November is the day we honor our living veterans. Memorial Day being the day (at least in my home town) we honor our war dead and fallen comrades and recite "Flanders' Field". A remark was made about you (war loving)Yanks needing two days (for your war memorials).

    Memorial Day was started in the Spring of 1866. In researching the matter, I found memorial ceremonies and the decoration of the graves of the war dead sprang up in diverse places in both the North and the South that year. Mind you this would be just year after Appomattox Courthouse and the South’s surrender. For many years it was called Decoration Day and until 1971 celebrated on 30 May. Our returning 1918 veterans celebrated 11 November as a day of rejoicing that they survived the War. They came home to a nation which for 52 years had memorialized her war dead every Spring. In fact, we honored our
    fallen in May, 1919 six months before the first anniversary of the Armistice.

    The following are some facts I gleaned from Encarta online. “The North placed roughly 2.2 million men in uniform (180,000 of them blacks), of whom 640,000 were killed, wounded in battle, or died of disease. Of the 360,000 Northern soldiers who died, two-thirds perished from illnesses such as dysentery, diarrhea, measles, malaria, and typhoid.” “Casualties in Confederate forces are more difficult to estimate, but they probably approached 450,000 out of approximately 750,000 to 850,000 Confederate soldiers. Of these it is estimated that more than 250,000 died. The proportion of battlefield deaths to deaths by disease was probably the same as in the Northern Armies.” “Total deaths thus exceeded 600,000, and the dead and wounded combined to total about 1.1 million. More Americans were killed in the Civil War than in all other American wars combined from the colonial period through the later phase of the Vietnam War (1959-1979).”
     
  2. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Confederate Memorial Day is a day set aside in the South to pay tribute to those who served with the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The founder of the Federal Memorial Day, Gen. John A. Logan (Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic), was so impressed with the way the South honored their dead with a special day, he became convinced that such a day must be created to honor Union dead.

    The battlefield graves all around Richmond could be seen "marked with little white flags, faded wreaths of laurel" where family and friends of Confederate soldiers had placed them. Logan is reported to have been "deeply touched" and said "it was most fittting; that the ancients, especially the Greeks, had honored their dead, particularly their heroes, by chaplets of laurel and flowers, and that he intended to issue an order designating a day for decorating the grave of every soldier in this land, and if he could he would have made it a holiday." This of course was done at a later date, thus our National Memorial Day.

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    The Confederate Memorial Day is observed on April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; on May 10 in North Carolina and South Carolina; on May 30 in Virginia; and on June 3 in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Tennessee.
     
  3. LadyEagle

    LadyEagle
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