First, I’d like to honor my friends and family who are and were in the services, and others; that being said….
Everyone celebrates “holidays” or “observances” at one point or another, yet we do not always know the history of where these observances came from. Many of us do not question, but follow blindly. But, that is what The Truth Speaker is….a place where those of us who DO question place our thoughts and challenge the reader to do the same: QUESTION AND INVESTIGATE. But, back to my focus here;
I thought since it is Memorial Day and Memorial “Week” for many that this post was relevant and appropriate.
Does anyone know how “Memorial Day” got started?
I did some research, cross-referencing , and came up with this short, but precise and eye-opening information:
After the Civil War, on May 1, 1865, the first widely publicized “celebration” of a Memorial Day-type observance was in Charleston, South Carolina. Union soldier Prisoners of War had been held at the Charleston Race Course, and approximately 260 of those prisoners died there and were quickly buried in unmarked graves. Teachers, missionaries, and Black residents of Charleston organized a May Day ceremony in 1865; the New York Tribune and other national papers covered the story. The “Freedmen” cleaned and landscaped the burial grounds and built an enclosure. They also built an arch and placed the words”Martyrs of the Race Course” on it.
On May 1st, over ten thousand people, mostly Black (Freedmen) gathered to commemorate the ones who crossed over. There were also approximately 3,000 Black school children newly enrolled in Freedmen schools and mutual aid societies. Also present were Union troops, Black ministers, and White northern missionaries, who brought flowers to lay on the burial field. The site is now Hampton Park. This “memorializing” day would later be known in the North as the “First Decoration Day”, which became “Memorial Day”.
David W. Blight, Professor of American History at Yale University and Director of the Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition described the day:
“This was the first Memorial Day. African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina. What you have there is black Americans recently freed from slavery announcing to the world with their flowers, their feet, and their songs what the war had been about. What they basically were creating was the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.”
So there it is…short…sweet…some more HIDDEN history to enlighten. May you all be blessed and, once again, I honor those fallen and those living who have tried their best to serve in the name of what is supposed to be for “freedom” and “justice”.
(I have my opinion about that too, but I will reserve for a later post.)