Former slave and Grand Army of the Republic
Member Charles H. Anderson, age 92,
Photo about 1936-38.
The Other Greatest Generation
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces.
The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers.
By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.
The first widely publicized observance of a Memorial Day-type observance after the Civil War was in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 1, 1865. During the war, Union soldiers who were prisoners of war had been held at the Hampton Park Race Course in Charleston; at least 257 Union prisoners died there and were hastily buried in unmarked graves.
Together with teachers and missionaries, black residents of Charleston organized a May Day ceremony in 1865, which was covered by the New York Tribune and other national papers. The freedmen cleaned up and landscaped the burial ground, building an enclosure and an arch labeled "Martyrs of the Race Course". Nearly 10,000 people, mostly freedmen, gathered on May 1 to commemorate the war dead. Involved were about 3,000 school children, newly enrolled in freedmen's schools, as well as mutual aid societies, Union troops, black ministers and white northern missionaries. Most brought flowers to lay on the burial field.
David W. Blight described the day:
|Custer and his men|
We'll Fight for Uncle Sam
|1st Nebraska Volunteer Infantry|
The First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry was mustered into service on May 9 and 10, 1898 at Lincoln, Nebraska. At the time of muster-in, the unit consisted of fifty-one officers and 983 enlisted men.
On May 16, the regiment left Lincoln for San Francisco, where it arrived three days later. The 1st Nebraska was assigned to the Third Independent Brigade of the Philippine Expeditionary Force.
|20th Kansas Volunteers lining up for dinner at San Fernando, Philippines. |
PHOTO was taken in May 1899.
Filipino American War.com
|“Lafayette, we are here!”|
|United States Marines in Helmand Province, Afghanistan|
|General John Logan|
General Logan proclaimed the first "Decoration Day" to honor the fallen soldiers of the American Civil War. He served the state of Illinois as a State Senator, a Congressman, a U.S. Senator and was an unsuccessful candidate for Vice President of the United States with James G. Blaine in the election of 1884.