‘The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat The soldier’s last tattoo; No more on Life’s parade shall meet That brave and fallen few. On Fame’s eternal camping-ground Their silent tents are spread, And Glory guards, with solemn round, The bivouac of the dead.’
The above is taken from Bivouac Of The Dead, by Theodore O’Hara. Many plaques in our National Cemeteries display stanzas from the O’Hara poem. I saw verses displayed in Arlington, Gettysburg, Antietam and I think Cold Harbor as well; probably many more.
Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while in the U.S. military service. In observance of the holiday, many people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at National Cemeteries. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.
The History of Memorial Day -Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. Additional history can be found here.
I visited Fort Snelling National Cemetery this morning in an effort to avoid the large crowds this Memorial Day weekend will bring. Ground crews were working feverishly to get the grounds cleaned up. I heard the rifle volleys at least four times as veterans were still being buried. Many families and loved ones were already visiting grave sites -a very solomn setting over the next few days! RIP
Also see my post on Memorial Day 2016; it includes many original photos, and few words.
73, de Mike, KEØGZT