Tuesday is Veteran’s Day, and the difference between Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day is one of mortality. Veteran’s Day honors those serving, and living veterans. Memorial Day, a day of remembrance for those who gave their last, full measure, has its roots specifically in the Civil War, with Ladies Associations and Remembrance Days.
Many men did come home from the Civil War. The focus is often on those who did not, often to the neglect of the survivors. ECW will begin to rectify this situation as we explore new topics after the Sesquicentennial is over.
Nevertheless, all of the Civil War veterans are now dead. The last to leave us was Union veteran Albert Woolson, of Duluth, Minnesota. He died on August 2, 1956.
This is my 100th post to Emerging Civil War. I can think of no better way to celebrate this personal journey than to include a poem written by Maxwell Bodenheim. He was born in 1858, in Mississippi. He was too young to have served in the army, but clearly he was affected by its aftermath.
As each of our veterans passes on, especially those who came back to us and went on with their lives as our siblings, our parents, our spouses, our children, we should continue to celebrate their lives and their sacrifice. As clichéd as it sounds, freedom is not free, nor cheaply bought. May they rest in peace.
To One Dead
I walked upon a hill
And the wind, made solemnly drunk with your presence,
Reeled against me.
I stooped to question a flower,
And you floated between the fingers and the petals,
Tying them together.
I severed a leaf from its tree
And a water-drop in the green flagon
Cupped a hunted bit of your smile.
All things about me were steeped in your remembrance
And shivering as they tried to tell me of it.