Posts Tagged ‘civil war’

By R.C. Seely

WHY DO WE CELEBRATE MEMORIAL DAY? IS it more than simply a Monday holiday? Yes, actually and it’s a tradition that goes a long ways back. 

    Despite being an American holiday the traditions go further back–before America–or even before Christianity. One of the earliest known accounts of honoring the fallen soldier was in 431 B.C., when the Athenian General Pericles delivered a speech that marked the dead of the Pellonesian War. The ancient Greeks and Romans performed similiar observations for their fallen warriors; with festivals, feasts and adorning the markers. 

    Even in the US, those who died in battle were honored with unofficial days of rememberance. The first organizers were the recently freed slaves. The particapants sang hymns, distributed flowers on the graves, and performed readings, dedicated to the “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

    The founder of the holiday–originally called “Deorations Day”–was the commander-in-cheif of the Union, John A. Logan, who issued a decree on May 30, 1868 that a nationwide day of rememberance should be observed for the 620,000 dead of the Civil War. On this “Decoration Day” flowers were to be placed on the graves of the war dead, same as today. 

    It’s speculated that Logan got the idea from the women’s groups who were already adorning the stones of Confederate soldiers. Even with all this, it was not marked as an official holiday until 1971 and at this time period it was somewhat controversial of a move because of the antimosity of the Vietnam War.

    No matter how you may feel about the cause, or the politicians promises that they will stay out of a war or the lie of it being “the war to end war”, it’s important to show respect for those offer the greatest sacrifice–their very lives. They put themselves in harm’s way because they view it as what is right. They do it for honor and they do it for freedom. The war or police action, might not be right, but the solider is as long as he conducts himself to protect others and deserves our respect. If you want to learn more check out, history.com “8 Things You May Not Know About Memorial Day”.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He has also written books about pop culture, his most recent, Victims of Wnite Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society is available at Amazon.