Friends of Padre Steve’s World
This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend and I will be publishing a number of old and possibly new articles reflecting on it.
To me it is a very important holiday as it calls us to reflect on those who have given the last full measure of devotion for this country. It is not about guys like me who are currently serving or even about veternas who are still alive. It is about those who died, either in war or from the wounds of war.
It is a day that we should reflect on in a serious and sober manner for so few serve even now. Memorial Day is usually somewhat melancholy for me because it have known, served with or been friends with too many who never made it home or who died later, sometimes at their own hand, from the physical, psychological and spiritual wounds of war. I think of them often.
The men and women that we hay homage to this weekend still matter, and what they did and suffered needs to be remembered. Today’s article is about the first Memorial Day, a when the recently freed formers slaves of Charleston, South Carolina honored the Union soldiers who had died of abuse, malnutrition, neglect and disease at the hands of their Confederate captors.
I do hope that you will enjoy it and that the story will inspire you, if nothing else, to take a moment to reflect.
“Dark and sad will be the hour to this nation when it forgets to pay grateful homage to its greatest benefactors. The offering we bring to-day is due alike to the patriot soldiers dead and their noble comrades who still live; for, whether living or dead, whether in time or eternity, the loyal soldiers who imperiled all for country and freedom are one and inseparable.” From Frederick Douglass’ Memorial Day Speech 1884
Memorial Day, at one time known as Decoration Day is one of our most sacred civil holidays that we celebrate in the United States, or at least it should be. It was a holiday born out of the shedding of the blood of about 600,000 American soldiers, from the North and the South in the Civil War, a singular event that still echoes in our history and in some sense defines who we are. The sad thing is…
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