Remembering Memorial Day

Remembering Memorial Day

May 27, 2019 Albion, MI (AMN) – Memorial Day as we all know it is a day to remember the fallen. On this day, the last Monday in May every year we honor and remember those who died serving in the United States Military. Originally known as Decoration Day after the Civil War, Memorial Day is recognized Nationally at 3:00 p.m. by a National moment of remembrance. The “holiday” evolved into becoming a day in which we commemorate all military personnel who died in all wars. Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968 which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May. This created a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday. Some people wear a red poppy in remembrance of those fallen in war. You may have noticed them outside Family Fare, Albion over the last week. If you are familiar with the poem “In Flanders Field” then you are familiar with the reason for the poppies being worn. A discovery in the mid 1990’s in a Harvard University archive led historians to learn about a Memorial Day commemoration organized by a group of freed black slaves in Charleston, SC less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865. The file was labeled “First Decoration Day”. On May 1, 1865 a crowd of approximately 10,000 freed slaves along with white missionaries gathered for a parade around the Washington Race Course and Jockey Club in Charleston, SC. This location also served as a prison camp where Union soldiers died. Members of the 54th Massachusetts and other black Union regiments were also in attendance. The slaves also reinterred the bodies of Union prisoners-of-war and decorated their graves. This effort took two weeks.

The clubhouse at the Charleston racetrack where the 1865 Memorial Day events took place. Library of Congress

There are more than two dozen cities that claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. This by itself shows that the idea of Memorial Day is more important than its specific origin. It was an idea by by Americans free and enslaved across this nation. No one celebration after the Civil War gives credence to another.

This April 1865 photo shows the graves of Union soldiers who died at the Race Course prison camp in Charleston, which would later become Hampton Park. On May 1 of that year, former slaves gave the fallen a daylong funeral.

We remember those loss before the cease fire of November 11, 1918. We remember those lose before the German surrender of May 7, 1945 and the Japanese surrender on September 2 that same year. We remember those that have sacrificed their lives in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq And here at home. We remember, honor, and cherish all. As we progress to the present we now know the gravesites of both Union and Confederate soldiers were decorated in a rite of reconciliation. We not only honor the service of those that gave their lives but the sacrifices made by their loved ones. We remember as we should each and every day what our service members fight for. For those that find a reason to serve we Thank You for your sacrifice. Whether it’s selflessness, citizenship, family tradition, gain new experiences or to defend the country you love – We Salute You.

Memorial Day Parade (Received from the City Of Albion)

May 27, 2019 Albion, MI – Albion

Albion remembered those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country today, Monday May 27, 2019 with a parade at 10:00 AM that led to a Ceremony at Riverside Cemetery.