Memorial Day 2018

Posted May 25, 2018 by Bob Anderson

Memorial Day is a federal holiday for remembering the people who died while serving in our country’s armed forces. The holiday, which is currently observed every year on the last Monday of May, will be held on May 28, 2018. Memorial Day traces its roots back to the American Civil War.

Under the terms of surrender for the Army of Northern Virginia at the Appomattox Court House at on April 10, 1865, General Ulysses S. Grant stipulated that “each officer and man will be allowed to return to his home, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside”.

On May 5, the parole was extended so that soldiers from the eleven Confederate states and West Virginia, would be allowed to return home on their paroles but that “all who claim homes in the District of Columbia and in States that never passed the Ordinance of Secession (Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri included) have forfeited them and can only return thereto by complying with the Amnesty Proclamation of the president and obtaining special permission from the War Department.”

Sadly, today, many think it is simply a time for cookouts and time away from work.

Veterans Day is a federal holiday that honors military veterans; that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It is held on November 11 each year. It was called Armistice Day until 1954 and marked the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the First World War officially ended. Sadly today, many think it is simply a time for cookouts and time away from work.

Memorial Day is also the unofficial start of the summer vacation season. Labor Day marks its end. You might not know it, but both Union and Confederate soldiers are considered U.S. veterans under federal law, and that the Confederates are entitled to the same benefits as Union soldiers today. A federal law passed in 1958 listed the spouses and children of all Civil War veterans — Confederate and Union — as eligible for federal pensions. The last known Civil War veteran died in 1956, and the last known widow of a Civil War veteran died in 2003 at age 93. But there were surprisingly two children of Civil War veterans who were still receiving benefits in 2012, U.S. News.

Whenever there is no surviving spouse entitled to pension under section 1532 of this title, the Secretary shall pay to the children of each Civil War veteran who met the service requirements of section 1532 of this title a pension at the monthly rate of $73.13 for one child, plus $8.13 for each additional child, with the total amount equally divided.

It’s also true that federal law makes Confederate soldiers eligible for burial in national cemeteries and for taxpayer-funded headstones, just like Union soldiers. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, only Union soldiers were eligible for military benefits. It wasn’t until the 1930s that Confederate soldiers began receiving pensions from the federal government. Prior to that, confederate soldiers could apply for benefits through the state they resided in.

Today public opinion and political correctness have forced the removal of many Confederate statues and memorials. How sad this is in my opinion. History, popular and unpopular history, is part of the fabric of a nation. Mistakes that are made and repaired tell the strength of a country and its people.

The philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist George Santayana once stated, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” As I was growing up, this saying was one of the most repeated in my schools and social groups. Unfortunately, today… citizens of America – and a great number of people who are not citizens – are working very hard to destroy the memories of our past.

There is not time to debate this situation today. I ask simply that while we still have the memories… on this Memorial Day… while you are enjoying the day off… while you are cooking out… take a moment to remember the people who died while serving in our country’s armed forces.

They are the ones that gave you this time with your family, this day off and the chance to cook out.

(photo credit:

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