contact our Junior Vice Department Commander
2649 182nd St
Greetings from the Deptartment of Iowa's Junior Vice Commander. I would like to extend a welcome to those of you who wish to join our Order, or those who merely seek information. My job is to assist you in finding a Camp to join. Merely contact a member of the Camp you wish to join, or contact me and I'll get you set up. If there is no Camp nearby, you may wish to start a new camp with as few as FIVE members. You do not have to have a Civil War ancestor to join a Camp. We will do all we can to assist you. I look forward to hearing from you.
Headquarters, Grand Army of the Republic
I. 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. 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 death a 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 and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided republic.
If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us.
Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among
us as sacred charges upon the Nation's gratitude,--
the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.
II. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
III. Department commanders will use every effort to make this order effective.
By command of:
JOHN A. LOGAN N. P. CHIPMAN
"Memorial Day is the choicest in the calendar of the Grand Army -
a day of sweet remembrance,
dear to every loyal heart,
and any violation of its sacredness
by making it the occasion for frivolity and amusement,
such as characterize the Fourth of July,
should be treated as an indignity
to the Comrades who died
that this country might live."
John S. Kountz
Grand Army of the Republic
Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May,
Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. On a less somber note, many people take weekend trips or throw parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because it unofficially marks the beginning of summer.
Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years and many Americans have forgotten the meaning and traditions of the day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored or neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades.
We in the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (and all of the Allied Orders) are charged by all of these heroes of our Nation to honor and remember them and their families. There are a great many Americans who do this, but not enough in my opinion. There are many Americans today who simply look at Memorial Day as a long weekend, instead of a day of reflection, honor and remembrance. It is our Charge and duty to bring the stories of our Service personnel to the minds and ears of the American (and world) public.
Only by doing this are we carrying on their message of Country before self that they so nobly advanced. They valued their way of life and their Nation before themselves and laid down their lives to prove it. As President Abraham Lincoln so eloquently stated in his Address at Gettysburg “-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion”.
The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War actively encourages
the restoration of Memorial Day to May 30.