AFA of PA ACTION ALERT
May 27, 2023
Memorial Day – Not Just the “Official Start of Summer”
From a May 2017 Federalist article, “For many Americans, Memorial Day has become a nonchalant occasion to take Monday off work and gather with family and friends at a park or a backyard cookout. There’s nothing wrong with that as far as it goes, but it’s not what Memorial Day is really about.
Memorial Day is of course about honoring our war dead. It was first instituted in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, when there were countless war dead to honor, Union and Confederate. Back then it was called Decoration Day, as the point was to decorate the graves of the fallen with flowers.
There’s a lot we can learn today from understanding those early Memorial Days. After four years of a war that took the lives of some 620,000 Americans, Memorial Day was about remembering and honoring all who gave their lives, regardless of which uniform they wore. Recall that this was a time, much like our own, of deep divisions and rancor in America. Yet Americans then were able to honor the fallen of both sides, recognizing that each died valiantly fighting for a cause in which they believed.”
A little history: On April 25, 1866, a group of women in Columbus, Mississippi, laid flowers on the graves of Confederate and Union soldiers in the city cemetery. Indeed, such practices were common in the South both during and immediately after the war, in part because most of the dead, on both sides, were buried in South, where most of them died.
The first large-scale observance of Memorial Day came just three years after the war’s end, in 1868. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and his wife presided over a ceremony organized by the Grand Army of the Republic, a Union veterans’ organization, at Arlington National Cemetery, the former home of General Robert E. Lee. After speeches, Union veterans and the orphaned children of veterans walked through Arlington scattering flowers on both Union and Confederate graves.
As you know, today the woke crowd is successfully demanding the removal of monuments and memorials commemorating Confederate generals. Earlier this year an independent commission recommended dismantling the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. A congressional commission has recommended the renaming of nine military bases to remove their Confederate names. My guess is very few Americans know who these bases were named after! Earlier this month Georgia’s Fort Benning was renamed Fort Moore and Fort Hood in Texas was renamed Fort Cavazos.
Thankfully the ones leading our country now were not the ones leading the country after the Civil War. There was great effort taken in trying to unite the country after that war, but the renaming of bases does nothing to unite the country. It is simply an effort to rewrite history, rather than learn from it.
This Memorial Day remember those who have given their all to keep our nation free. Also, pray for America as we see a greatly divided country and no real efforts being taken to unite us.