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Memorial Day 2022
Happy Memorial Day from the JMC! While many of us are enjoying a long weekend, let us remember the purpose of this national holiday – to remember and honor those that have fallen while in service to our country.
The holiday has origins in the aftermath of the Civil War – “Decoration Day” was celebrated with local ceremonies (in both the North and South) to honor the Civil War dead with the laying of flowers at their gravesides. 💐💐💐
Did you know? One of the earliest Memorial Day ceremonies was held by freed African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina. When the Confederacy surrendered in 1865, Confederate soldiers evacuated from the city, leaving behind a mass grave of hastily buried Union soldiers near the local racetrack. The race facility had been used as a makeshift war prison where roughly 260 prisoners had died from disease and exposure.
A group of recently freed Black people were quick to care for the dead, exhuming and properly burying the perished prisoners of war and erecting a sign: “Martyrs of the Race Course.” Soon after, a crowd of 10,000 (nearly all former slaves) gathered to hold a parade and memorial service to honor the fallen. 💐🪦🇺🇸🪦💐🪦🇺🇸
A Bit of War History: The War Veteran, Thomas Waterman Wood, 1866