Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day...A Time For Remembrance

Friendship Cemetery, Columbus, Ms.
 While Memorial Day is a holiday often associated with the beginning of summer fun, it is meant to be a day of remembrance. (Originally called Decoration Day because the graves of the fallen were decorated with flowers.) It is a day to stop and remember all of those men and women who gave everything for their country and beliefs. Sometimes fighting by choice and sometimes fighting because it was someone else's choice. Young and old. All races. Lives lost for a cause. For freedom.

Antique Victorian Mourning Locket From The 1860s
 April 25, 1866, in my hometown, Columbus, Ms., the women of the town gathered on the front porch or a neighbor's home. Friendship Cemetery was full of fresh graves, all a sad reminder of the Civil war. These woman made it their duty to honor these men and boys. (Yes, boys. Sadly you hear of teenagers who fought.) Confederate soldiers and Union soldiers. Many of them buried as "Unknown", but they were not always unknown. They were everyday people. Men and boys with families...wives, children, mothers, fathers...Men who fought for a cause. Right or wrong no longer mattered. Their families would never know the fate of their loved ones or where they were laid to rest. 

Unknown Soldiers Grave At Friendship Cemetery, Columbus, Ms.
The women of Columbus started a yearly tradition of laying flowers at the graves of all of these soldiers. There are hundreds of these "Unknown" graves at Friendship Cemetery. Whenever my sister and I go back home, we always make a trip to this cemetery. It is very sobering when you see so many of these graves in one place. You cannot help but think of the families who never knew what happened to their loved ones. Sad, but for every war...their is the "Unknown" soldier grave site.

My Nephew, Ben Schaffer
Ben is a reenactor. He actually reenacts as a Confederate and a Union soldier. (Oh and as a Revolutionary War soldier.) History should be remembered so that does not repeat itself. I just pray that he never has to see a real battle. That war will one day be a thing of the past. But until war is no more. Whether you are for or against it. Let us remember those who lost everything while serving for their country.

Have a safe Memorial Day.

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