Memorial Day 2019


Memorial Day began in the wake of the Civil War when newly freed slaves in South Carolina held a parade celebrating their hard-won freedom and then afterward spontaneously cleaned the grounds of a Union cemetery in Charleston. Within a generation this sincere communal expression of gratitude became an annual gathering for the families of former slaves known as Decoration Day.

At its heart, Decoration Day was focused on honoring those who, in the immortal words of President Lincoln, gave “...the last full measure of devotion” in the cause of liberty and in preserving the Union but it also took on a celebratory air as families picnicked at the cemetery as they cleaned and decorated the graves.

After World War II it became informally but popularly known as Memorial Day and was eventually formalized as such the last Monday in May in 1966

Over time, our continued national blessings of peace and prosperity put distance between new generations of Americans and the privations and sacrifice of war. For most of us Memorial Day has morphed into the kickoff of the summer season and a time to party. This superficiality rankles some who feel this day should be reserved for solemnity and reverence. But for those with a personal connection to someone who died in uniform, they can attest that if their friends were alive, they’d be fishing or 4 wheeling, and barbecuing too.

So, on this Memorial Day I encourage you to gather with your friends and families and celebrate being Americans but do take a moment to give thanks to the hundreds of thousands of men and women who laid down their lives in service to our Republic.
Midnight Sun Republican Women

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