Soldiers’ Graves Decorated by Local Veterans

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Many soldiers’ graves in our parish are decorated this weekend with American flags. They were put out this week by members of the local Post and Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Representatives of the VFW and the Springville Cemetery Board met Wednesday morning and put out flags on vets graves. Several hundred flags were put out at both Springville Cemeteries and Hand Cemetery so they would be flying over the Memorial Day weekend.

A Walk through any cemetery will reveal that men and women who served their country are resting there. At Springville the Journal discovered a row of six government supplied tombstones. They are the graves of Civil War soldiers from Ohio, New York, Connecticut and Indiana. The six all died during September, October and November in 1875. There is no indication of how or why they found their final rest at Springville.

Also at Springville is the grave marker for Samuel Green Born who served with the CSA from Tennessee. Born died in 1915.

The most recent veterans to be interred at Springville are Henry Bethard III and Johnny Duco.

Terry and John Paul of CBS Home Express, the local Ace Hardware affiliate, donated flags for the graves. Ace Hardware gave flags to VFW Posts across the country to use at Memorial Day.

Here is a bit of the history of Memorial Day from the History Channel website.

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.

By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers. It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day.

On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed.

The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

The Journal hopes this Memorial Day Weekend you and your family will take time to visit the final resting place of American soldiers, especially if you have a veteran in your family. There are many cemeteries large and small in Red River Parish.

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