It is Memorial Day in the U.S. today. A day where we focus on remembering the men and women who have given their lives in military service protecting our freedoms.
Some of the history includes:
On May 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC, to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp (Race Course prison camp which later became Hampton Park), former slaves dug up the bodies and worked for 2 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.
Here’s an interesting article by Brian Hicks in The Post and Courier for more information on the stories behind the first Memorial Day.
And a link to Snopes for good…
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Memorial Day holds a special place for many Americans, especially those who serve in the nation’s military. While past and current members of the armed forces are most certainly honored, what few realize is that the practice of celebrating America’s soldiers gained popularity due to a group of freed Blacks in the South.
In the town of Charleston in South Carolina, the celebration of what was called “Decoration Day” was held to give respects to fallen soldiers from the Union Army in the North. The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865, with the Union victorious over its Confederate foes. In order to celebrate the victory and honor the dead, on May 1 of that year around 10,000 freed Black men and women gathered in historic Hampton Park.
The group placed flowers on the graves of unknown soldiers, a practice held often in times of war…
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