Monday, May 30, 2011

Origins of Memorial Day-Southern Of Course

I remember being told that Memorial Day started in the South, Winchester Virginia I think, when the women left behind in the Civil War decorated the graves of the confederate dead. The north adopted this tradition and soon claimed it. Memorial Day was made a national holiday in the early 20th century, but the south wouldn't recognize it. Southerns continued to decorate the graves of the their war dead on a different date. I think this was "Decoration Day." We southerners have a long tradition of grave tending. Every week my grandmother and mother would prepare flowers in white vases with scroll handles. They had many graves to tend.
When I was a kid, we held church picnics in the graveyard. We used tombstones for tables and apple crates for chairs. It seemed very comfortable eating on top of family that had been underground 100 before I was even born.
Here is a home movie of one of these picnics at our church: St. James Lutheran Church, Chilhowie VA
Here is a home movie of my grandmother preparing graveyard flowers: Okie Mountain Preparing Graveyard Flowers

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