GALLIPOLIS — Cadot-Blessing Camp 126 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and the VFW 4464 Honor Guard gathered in Pine Street Cemetery and the Gallipolis City Park along with onlookers Memorial Day Monday morning to remember the sacrifices of American veterans from across the years.
Area military historian and member of Cadot-Blessing Camp 126 Dr. Sam Wilson described the history surrounding the creation of Memorial Day and its significance to American history in Pine Street Cemetery. Wilson read from General Order Number 11 by General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic which has been recognized as the historic beginnings of Memorial Day.
“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,” read Wilson. “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. We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose, among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors. Gen. Logan’s order. Memorial Day. May 5, 1868.”
A member of the camp laid a wreathe in front of the American flag at the cemetery before the playing of Taps was shared and a firing salute was held in conjunction with the VFW 4464 Honor Guard.
Visitors, the Sons of Union Veterans and the VFW 4464 Honor Guard next traveled to the Gallipolis City Park by the Spirit of the American Doughboy Veteran Memorial. Veterans placed a wreathe in front of the statue, another firing salute was held along with the playing of Taps. VFW 4464 Honor Guard member Mike Giese sang the lyrics of Taps to the assembled.
“We want to thank all of you for coming out here with us today,” said VFW 4464 Commander Bill Mangus. “To every veteran here, we know why we’re here. We thank you for serving your country honorably.”
Dean Wright is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached 740-446-2342.
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