Not Just Dcoration Day

Today is Memorial Day, which started as Decoration Day, a Yankee government holiday that demonstrates why it is called the Yankee government. The establishing proclamation begins as

“The 30th day 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. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but Posts and comrades will, in their own way, arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.” [Link]

This simple prepositional phrase is one instance of the many things said and done in the wake of the cessation of hostilities, of the bond reforged by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain at Appomattox, of the oppression and discrimination that was heaped upon the old Confederacy by the self-righteous victor shmegegi.

This, of course, led to what I believe is the accurate meaning of “The Recent Unpleasantness’, referring to reconstruction and its continuing aftermath rather than the war itself. Despite this continuing discrimination, the fact remains that men in the military service of the Confederacy died defending their country, and that a wholly disproportionate component of the military service of the Yankee republic has, before and since the “late rebellion”, come from the population of the old Confederacy.

This is the spirit we should attribute to this day. Not the limited prejudice that limits our consideration of the service of those who died while wearing the uniform of the Union during those four years, but to all who have served in the military service, regardless of which uniform they wore. It matters not whether they were colonial militia serving in the French and Indian War, or regulars in the Mideast, men serving their states at Valley Forge or Gettysburg, men serving their nation at Chapultepec or the Argonne or Hue.

It does not even matter greatly that they died in the performance of that service, although we acknowledge and mourn the depth and tragedy of that greater sacrifice. But those who serve the nation, their home organization, in its continuance by the enforcement of policy are not ordinary men and women. In days when all had served, such as after the Great Patriotic War, this was less obvious, but now that service is rarer its special nature is more evident upon the very being of those who have so served.

And who deserve this day our quiet and solemn respect.

Yes, we should bring special consideration to those who died in that service with appropriate symbols as possible, but we should not restrict our consideration of their deeds to just those.

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