Friday, May 26, 2006

Memorial Day Salebration!

As we head into the holiday set aside to honor our nation's retailers, theme parks, beaches and anyone who has a "salebration," it is worthwhile to remember that Memorial day, originally called "Decoration Day" was originally set aside to remember those who died fighting for the United States during the Civil War; and then later expanded to include all of America's war dead. Bill Kauffman (who else?) denounced the standardization of most of our holidays into Three Day Weekends a few years ago:

The traditionalists had a monopoly on wit. Fletcher Thompson (R-Ga.) offered an amendment to rename our holidays "Uniform Holiday No. 1, Uniform Holiday No. 2," etc. The immortal skinflint H.R. Gross (R-Ia.), who had opposed spending government money to keep the eternal flame over jfk's grave, proposed to move Christmas and New Year's Day to Monday. The Mondaynes were not amused.

The Uniform Holiday Act of 1968 passed the House, 212-83, and the Senate by voice vote, without debate. "This is the greatest thing that has happened to the travel industry since the invention of the automobile," rejoiced the president of the National Association of Travel Organizations.

Rep. Dan Kuykendall (R-Tenn.) saw it differently: "If we do this, 10 years from now our schoolchildren will not know what February 22 means. They will not know or care when George Washington was born. They will know that in the middle of February they will have a three-day weekend for some reason. This will come."

This has come.

Former Confederate states also established Memorial days on several dates ranging from Robert E. Lee's birthday on Jan. 19 to Jefferson Davis' birthday of June 3. Myrta Lockett Avary wrote of the first Memorial Day in Richmond, Virginia in her Reconstruction chronicle,Dixie After the War:

The young men of Richmond, the flower of the city, marched to Hollywood [cemetery], armed with picks and spades and numbering in their long line, . . . remnants of famous companies, whose gallantry hand made them shining marks on many a desperate battlefield . . .

Thousands visited the green hillside where General Jeb Stuart lay, a simple wooden board marking the spot; his grave was a mound of flowers. . . No Hero, great or lowly, was forgotten, What a tale of broken hearts and desolate homes far away the many graves told! Here had the Texas Ranger ended his march; here had brave lads from the Land of Flowers and all the states intervening bivouacked for a long, long night, from whose slumbers no bugle might wake them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I live in the United State of America. The attempt of those who fought and died for The Confederacy no matter how bravely did so to destroy our nation. They did not succeed. Hitler did not succeed.
Maybe you still wish your cause had been successful. I, for one would no more honor a confederate than I would bin laden. Glorify traitors if you will but you are the lowest of hypocrates to link it to the memory of those of us who served in the military of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and survived and especially those who served and did not.
So proclaim your devotion to the memory of the CSA..wave that flag that tred to destroy our can do that because of the Constitution that the CSA disavowed is still here to allow you to do so.