I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent all weekend trying to catch up. Catch up on yard work. Catch up on rest. Catch up with friends and family. Catch up on reading. Catch up on work.
So often, we use these long weekends to re-group, get back on track, and relax a bit before we have to start all over again. Today being Memorial Day, I think we need to pause and remember why this day came about, and not take it for just another day off.
Way back in 1868, General John Logan made a proclamation to honor those who died in the Civil War. The General’s proclamation was dated May 5th, and on May 30th, a 16-year-old girl named Marry Shellman from Westminster, Maryland led the first Memorial Day Parade, although it was called Decoration Day at the time.
Young Miss Shellman organized the children from Westminster Elementary and St. John School march down Main St. towards the local cemeteries and place flowers on the graves of Westminster’s Civil War dead. Shellman would continue to lead our parade for the next sixty years. Here’s a picture of her, in the middle holding a flag, marching in the 1900 parade.
A few hours from now, the 145th Memorial Day parade will take place here in Westminster. For the 145th time, students from the school of my church will be marching. They will pass by our parish cemetery, already filled with small flags honoring the war dead who are buried there, at least one dating back to the Revolution.
It’s neat to live in a town with such a rich history. It’s important, no matter where you live, to pause today and remember those who gave their lives fighting for freedom. I would add that world peace should also be a part of our prayer, so that one day, there would be no more war and we would all live in the freedom we long for.