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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day weekend

Civil War vets meet at Gettysburg for the 75th anniversary of the battle (1938) along

the stone wall at the 'Angle' on Cemetery Ridge.
Well it is Memorial Day weekend. It is a an important date for Americans because it honors our soldiers, sailors and airmen who have died in combat. It used to be called Decoration Day just after the Civil War. In those days it was a celebration of the Civil War dead and veterans of the war. The Grand Army of the Republic (known as the G.A.R.) was a fraternal organization of Northern Vets and they embraced the notion of Decoration Day. Veterans would march around the town in a big parade in their old uniforms and have picnics too. They would also go to the cemeteries and honor those that passed before them in battle and after. It was changed eventually to honor all those that had died in all wars.

a G.A.R. hat badge
The post war time was really a fascinating time period. Much was accomplished by the GAR with their political power. All the local GAR posts were attached to the National organization and when you have thousands and thousands of veteran members, many of which served in the Congress, you have political power right there. That is a solid voting block. Several US Presidents were GAR members. Most of the National Parks preserving land on which battles were fought and the thousands of monuments all over the country owe their existence to the GAR. Many states and the Federal government provided millions of dollars for these projects.

a GAR marker to be placed at the gravesites of GAR members

If you are interested in reading more on this topic pick up the book Glorious Contentment by Stuart McConnell.



  1. This comment was sent to me by a friend. He couldn't post it so he sent it to me to post.


    What is sad is how a watered down version of history and the revisionist influence of the progressives corrupt the younger generation; appreciation for the sacrifices our fallen soldiers made for us throughout history has become more of a political mouth peace and lip service more than actual sincerity. It saddens me more to hear how many "kids" below the ages of 25 have no idea about the major battles from the Civil War or what the war was actually fought over.

    Anyway, I'll stop ranting. God bless our service people and let us all be grateful for the sacrifices they made so that we can enjoy the freedoms we often take for granted.


  2. Thanks for this post. I have two 2nd great-grandfathers who belonged to the GAR. I have one guys whiskey flask (I think it is)that has Grant, Sherman, & ? on it. And a photo of the other wearing a GAR medal.

    Had know idea of what the GAR did.