Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Memorial Day


Although Memorial Day is officially the start of the summer season here in the U.S. it's about more than barbeques and department store sales. Whatever you're doing today, take time to remember those who served and the sacrifices they made for all of us.

The holiday got its official start on May 30, 1868, when Union General John A. Logan declared the day an occasion to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers. But, it's seldom noted that three years earlier, on May 1, 1865, former slaves gathered in Charleston, SC to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers, who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. They dug up the bodies and worked for two weeks to give them a proper burial as gratitude for fighting for their freedom. They then held a parade of 10,000 people led by 2,800 Black children where they marched, sang and celebrated. Gathering in the graveyard, the crowd watched five black preachers recite scripture and a children's choir sing spirituals and "The Star-Spangled Banner."  

While the story is largely forgotten today, some historians consider the gathering the first Memorial Day.  There is also evidence that women's groups in both the North and South gathered informally to decorate the graves of the war dead even before that.  


                     




Sometime today, before our company comes over for our annual Memorial Day barbeque to kick off the summer, I'm going to pull some fabrics and make a red, white and blue block and include it in my Dear Jane quilt. And say a prayer of gratitude.













12 comments:

Kris B said...

Thank you for this interesting piece of history! I was not aware of this. And your little quilts are fantastic!

Vic in NH said...

A wonderful post of history and respect for our fallen soldiers, thank you!

Ann in PA said...

Thank you for passing along the very touching Memorial Day history of how former slaves honored the Union Soldiers. I had not heard that before today. Your red, white & blue quilts are beautiful!

Jennifer M said...

Kathy this is new, interesting news to me as well. I love your posts because I almost always learn something new, I thank you for that. Your quilts are wonderful as always and you really touched my heart with your plan for making a red, white and blue block for your Dear Jane quilt, along with your prayer of gratitude. I would love to "copy this idea of yours", I think this is a wonderful act of gratitude and honor, your the best: ))

Sue Bennett said...

Kathy, very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Love all the red white and blue quilts,

TheLakeshore said...

Really nice. Thank you for the interesting and valuable sharing of history this day. And thank you, too, for all your lovely little quilts. -Jeanne in Michigan

Wendy Caton Reed said...

Thank you for sharing such wonderful sentiment!

Sheri in Iowa said...

Wonderful red, white and blue quilts and the story behind our freedoms today! So thankful!

Anonymous said...

Kathleen, thank you so much for sharing such an important story for Memorial Day. Have never heard this before and am very touched by it.

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

Thank you for sharing the story about the former slaves. It's good to know this.

I love seeing a new post on your blog.

Karen said...

I always enjoy your history lessons, Kathleen! Your quilts are adorable.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I like the idea of red, white, and blue quilts and like some of them very much. But there are others that I don't like at all. I wonder if anyone else experiences this. I don't mean I just do not like them, I mean that I dislike them and find them disturbing. I've been trying to figure out why. It may be that such a quilt needs dark blue in it and then I'm ok. But I'm still not sure...You have an excellent eye for color and I like some of your little patriotic quilts very much indeed.

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