Memorial Day

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on May 26, 2008

Today is the observance of Memorial Day. According the invaluable Wikipedia, this holiday began as Decoration Day. It was intended to honor the soldiers who died in the Union Army during the War Between the States. It was expanded after World War I to honor casualties of any war or military action. As the story unfolds:

The official birthplace of Memorial Day is Boalsburg, Pennsylvania. The village was credited with being the birthplace because it observed the day on May 5, 1866, and each year thereafter, and because it is likely that the friendship of General John Murray, a distinguished citizen of Waterloo, and General John A. Logan, who led the call for the day to be observed each year and helped spread the event nationwide, was a key factor in its growth.
General Logan had been impressed by the way the South honored their dead with a special day and decided the Union needed a similar day.”

In the South, Confederate Memorial Day was observed. The day chosen was April 26. On April 26, 1865, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to Union General William T. Sherman.
Of course, in the intervening years, Memorial Day has become the start of summer, and a time of great merriment. The question arises, does this day honor the Confederate soldiers who did not come home?

Before we get too far along, I should say out loud that slavery was not a good idea. It was terrible for the African Americans. It was backwards economically, and dragged the South into a war which damaged it for many years post bellum.
The War Between the States had several causes, slavery being one of the important ones. Once the Union won the war, this is the cause that the history books mentioned.
Many of the men who fought for the Confederacy did not own slaves. The slaveowners were a dirty bunch. Not only did they brutally enslave the Black people, they got the poor whites to fight in the war.
There is this problem in history of the soldiers who died fighting for the losing side. We do owe our freedoms and way of life to the soldiers who sacrificed in battle. But what to make of these Confederate soldiers who died so their rich neighbors could keep their slaves? They are just as brave as the Union troops, often fighting with less food, weapons and clothing.
The modern side to this dilemma is the Vietnam Vet. Often drafted, sent to fight a war which few wanted, these brave soldiers have been dumped on. While the war did not end well, they are every bit as valiant as those who fought in other conflicts.
When (and if) the current conflicts in Iraq and Afganistan are over, it is hoped that the troops who served there will be treated with honor.

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  1. Memorial Day « Chamblee54 said, on May 28, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    […] over, it is hoped that the troops who served there will be treated with honor. The text today is a repost. Confederate Memorial Day was remembered in a post last month. Pictures today are from The […]

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