How African-Americans Created Memorial Day

by Teréza Eliasz-Solomon (HeiressMommy™)

blacksoldierscivilwarFreedmen that were African slaves become gladdened by the prospect of Lincoln’s vision for life in America and so decided to commemorate their Civil War fallen comrades in Charleston, South Carolina on 1  May 1865. Calling this day of remembrance a May Day celebration and marking it with flowers and song – cleaning up unmarked graves – telling America that freedom had come from this second revolution of sorts all lent idea to what we now acknowledge as Memorial Day. Societies have been commemorating war dead throughout recorded history – my own Jewish faith deems necessary remembrances as a way to define who we are and to give eternal life of sorts to those gone. Not to be confused with morbid nor sullen grieving, the memorializing of brave citizens who gave the ultimate sacrifice for an ideal is seen as both honor and lesson for that nation they died to save. Such service to ones community remains unequal in valor, which is why days of recognition abound around the globe.

There is surely a need for continuity that promotes year after year efforts as we attend to the memories of those lost in battle – who we were, are and will be as a people made clear in some way through this activity. Of course, for the immediate family and friends that a soldier left behind it shows a communal recognition that appreciation and value is denoted for that loss. Years pass – generation after generation attempt awareness of history and so until this day, each and every service person’s death throughout the history of the United States is included in Memorial Day ceremonies. Pride is foremost and a knowing that duty was served even in controversial battles like Vietnam – for those we ask to fight are not to be ever sullied by the politicians or leaders choices. Without question many have been too easily forgotten and marginalized – I began this post with mention of the African-American slave who fought beside others in our nation’s Civil War. There is no question that it took many more years – even post WWII for these REAL Americans to be treated with full and equal honor for their heroism in battle.

For myself and my children those that fought in World War II are especially close to our hearts for there is no confusion that we would not exist had those heroes not fought to keep safe the world from Nazi destruction. There is no hyperbole in my stating that humanity only survived because Americans and our European allies destroyed the enemies of G-d during the 1940’s. Tears come easily to me when thinking about those killed while fighting against Germany in order to prevent the world and my people from ultimate annihilation  Every time I meet a family that lost a fighting soldier in WWII  or a veteran I tell them of my REAL gratitude, shake their hand, request an embrace and express my REAL belief that I owe them my life. Not all wars are as honorable in purpose as WWII and not all the resulting scenarios as glorious in tone but most are at least for America purposeful and with decency at the core; mistakes and miscalculations have and will happen as long as people fight but we must learn and attempt betterment if REAL gratitude is to be expressed for those we remember on Memorial Day and so that they shall rest in eternal peace!

Note: In my memoir, Heiress Mommy … A Modern Super Woman Life! I will share the details of what my parents explained as their own reasoning to bring me into this world in 1954 because America had made it safe for Jews to live free by fighting  in WWII and then resulting in having Israel exist.

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