Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day, 2015

Some years after the American Civil War, some women went to the local cemetery, bringing flowers with which to adorn the graves of the war dead.  Over in a corner they saw graves of the soldiers who fought for the other side, all unadorned.  Almost with one accord they went over there and placed flowers on the graves.

"There are others, back at their homes, who mourn them and loved them," someone said.  And the tradition of Memorial Day began.

Where did it start?  I've heard several accounts, all believable, and I have concluded that it was something spontaneous in its truth and its generosity.

          By the flow of the inland river,
          Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
          Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver,
          Asleep are the ranks of the dead:
          Under the sod and the dew,
          Waiting the judgment-day;
          Under the one, the Blue,
          Under the other, the Gray

          No more shall the war cry sever,
          Or the winding rivers be red;
          They banish our anger forever
          When they laurel the graves of our dead!
          Under the sod and the dew,
          Waiting the judgment-day,
          Love and tears for the Blue,
          Tears and love for the Gray.
 
Lincoln's second inaugural address, given in 1865, the year he died, closes with this sentiment:
 
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
 
 


4 comments:

  1. What a sweet lovely post! Here in NZ, we just had Anzac Day, which celebrates and honours all the Kiwi and Australian soldiers who found at Gallipoli. We wear a red poppy, a little similar to yours. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. So sweet, the forgiveness and generosity of those women. It was people like them that led the country to heal.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Memorial Day is one holiday that is sorely needed. We need more Memorial Days, in fact. Too many sacrifices.

    ReplyDelete