On a Mission Spring 2018

by SKI SCHANHER Thoughts on Memorial Day Patriotism What filters through your heart and mind when you think of Memorial Day? Do you simply look forward to a three-day weekend so that you can “sleep in,” prepare for a family gathering, or play golf with friends? Or do you recognize the sig- nificance of Memorial Day and set aside time to reflect upon the sacrifices that brave men and women endured so that we can live in the “land of the free and the home of the brave?” General John Alexander Logan from Illinois is considered by historians to be the originator of Memorial Day, which at the time of its creation was known as Decoration Day. Logan was a Civil War veteran who led men under General Ulyss- es S. Grant at Ft. Donelson, Tennessee; in the Vicksburg campaign under Grant; the Atlanta campaign under General William T. Sherman; and finally, the Carolina campaign again under Sherman. By issuing General Order No. 11, Lo- gan organized and led first observation of Decora- tion Day on May 30, 1868, in Arlington National Cemetery. Following the conclusion of the Civil War, Gen- eral Logan developed a strong interest in veteran affairs and became the commander-in-chief of a veterans group named the Grand Army of the Republic. General Logan knew the grave impact that war had on soldiers as he “saw the elephant,” meaning he had experienced combat and quick- ly understood the supreme sacrifices that many willingly gave for the sake of the Union’s objec- tive of abolishing slavery. The American Civil War claimed more lives than any conflict in our nation’s history, resulting in the establishment of our first national cemeteries. In an effort to commemorate the brave soldiers who lost their lives in the war, Logan called for a national day of remembrance to commence on May 5, 1868. His proclamation read as follows: “The 30th of May 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.” By 1890, every northern state in the Union made Decoration Day an official holiday. Howev- er, southern states honored their dead on sepa- rate days until after World War I. During World 10 | SPRING 2018 ON A MISSION women-on-a-mission.com

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