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Memorial Day

May 31, 2010 9:03:23.658

Forgotten in the stream of "beginning of summer" barbecues is where Memorial Day came from - it was originally set aside as "Decoration Day" - a day to honor the fallen from the US Civil War. Over time it's become a day to remember US veterans in general, from all wars and eras, but - I think it's useful to recall the original idea. The Civil War remains a huge breaking point between then and now - before, "United States" was often plural, whereas after, it became singular. A small seeming change, but it's had a lot of impact over time.

Sitting here in Maryland in 2010, it's hard to imagine the depth of feeling people in 1861 had for their regions and states. That could be because I'm a transplant from New York, surrounded by other transplants from all over, but it's the way things are. It's not only times that change - nations and the people who comprise them change over time as well.

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posted by James Robertson

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