The First Memorial Day

The image and story is provided by a Facebook citizen by the name of  Jon S. Randal.  It is but one of many stories of “Decoration Day” or what we now call Memorial Day:

The Civil War had just ended. There were more than 1,100,000 casualties and the loss of more than 620,000 lives. On a Monday morning in May, 1865, nearly 10,000 former slaves marched onto the grounds of an old Charleston Race Course. The area was used by the Confederate Army as a prison, and 257 Union soldiers had died there, left in shallow graves, without coffins. The former slaves had spent two weeks giving each and every soldier a proper burial. Now, they would give them a proper funeral. Nearly 3,000 children of former slaves joined the procession, strew flowers on the graves and sang “John Brown’s Body,” “The Star Spangled Banner,” and “America.” By the end, the graves looked like a massive mound of rose petals. It was the first Memorial Day.

Our hearts go out to the families of our fallen soldiers.  Our respect and honor goes with you and also with those who have returned home after fighting to secure us all.  We salute you!

-J.C. Brooks

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