On April 25, 1866, in an act of generosity and reconciliation noted by newsmen and poets of the time, a women’s memorial association in Columbus, Mississippi, decorated the graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers. Local records of the period indicate that at least two ministers joined the event, giving exhortation and leading prayer.
This Memorial Day, can we all follow the example of these ladies? Just because they were from the South doesn’t invalidate the virtue of their idea and rightness of their example. They got it right. They laid aside the animosity and anger and politics of the day to honor the fallen Soldiers of both Confederate and Union Armies. They didn’t spit on the graves of the Union Soldiers and lay wreaths to their Confederate dead. They gave similar honor to the graves of both Union and Confederate dead.
Let the politics go for a day or few hours. Set aside the racial politics, gender politics, class strife and religious differences long enough to honor the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who died fighting for your right to believe those different opinions and practice those different religions. Perhaps in doing so, we’ll see that we aren’t so different or so divided after all.
Opinions expressed in these writings are my own, unless otherwise cited, and do not necessarily reflect those of my employers, the National Guard, the U. S. Army, or the DoD.