Memorial Day: Connecting the Past with the Present

The Civil War was America’s most costly war with some 360,222 Union and 258,000 Confederate lives lost. Many historians put the death toll higher, but regardless, the number of Civil War casualties exceeds the nation’s loss in all its other wars combined -- the two World Wars, the Korean and Vietnamese Wars and subsequent wars right up through conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Memorial Day had its origin as Decoration Day following that most horrible and costly war, dating back to April 25th, 1866 when a former chaplain in the Confederate Army accompanied a group of women from Columbus, Mississippi to Friendship Cemetery -- the burial ground for about 1600 men who died in the Battle of Shiloh -- for the purpose of honoring the dead with decorations of flowers.  At that time, Columbus, like the rest of the South, was occupied by Union Army forces, and some townspeople were fearful of creating new animosity, assuming that the decorations would favor...(Read Full Article)
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