Decoration Day, more commonly known today as Memorial Day, originated in the years after the Civil War when graves of fallen soldiers were decorated. Though it’s place of origin has been in dispute, it was ruled by President Johnson to have started in Waterloo, New York.
It should be noted that a yearly ceremony soon took place at Arlington National Cemetary where Union and Confederate graves were decorated. That is something to consider as we head into this Memorial Day weekend.
The graves of Union and Confederate soldiers were decorated. If divided in war, it was hoped that we could at least unite to honor the dead.
The era after the Civil War was certainly not one without its animosities and division. But, at least it was recognized that some type of reconciliation was not only possible but necessary for the Union to survive.
Sometimes I wonder if it would have been better for the Union not to survive.
Let me be clear, this feeling came long before Trump ever became a candidate much less, President.
The divisions that permeate our culture are, in large part, hangovers from the Civil War. Racism still is the national disgrace. The role of the Federal Government in addressing the needs of the nation and whose needs should be of primary continue to fuel political stagnation.
It seems that only in times of war was Congress able to agree on anything.
Even when one party held the majority it was difficult to get anything done.
The question I have today is who in Washington is worthy of decoration? Who will be remembered as a hero, as a statesman/stateswoman?
It’s time for America to remember the Civil War and not just the soldiers who died. Otherwise, their death would be a meaningless testament of our great divide that has yet to be overcome.
We often hear it said that the two subjects to be avoided at friendly gatherings are religion and politics. The very things that you would think should inspire us to get along with each other.
Talking about religion opens up so many opportunities to understand ourselves and each other. Faith is always personal and should not be demeaned by others who do not share this faith. Likewise, politics offer us insight into how people operate. Do they want to work on their own, what we used to call the rugged individualist? Or do they appreciate working as a team member? Neither option is without merit even though it might not suit you.
In either case, I think we do too much watching of issues like religion and politics and not enough speaking. Rather than talking heads doing our thinking for us, maybe it’s time for us to speak to each other about the ideas we have.
Just a thought.