As I was listening to the local news yesterday morning one reporter announced that Charleston mayor, John Tecklenburg, was attending Decoration Day at Hampton Park in downtown Charleston.
Few people know that Memorial Day started out being called Decoration Day from the idea of decorating graves of the fallen dead from the Civil War.
This remembrance has its roots in the South Carolina Lowcountry and Gullah heritage. In fact the first Decoration Day was May 1 1865… held in Charleston, South Carolina… dubbed as the memorial for the dead in the ” City of the Dead.”
Charleston was in ruins with dead carcasses of animals strewn in alleys and yards while the populace tried to bury the human dead.
On May 1, 1865, thousands of former slaves, Union soldiers, and missionaries honored Union soldiers who had died in a Confederate Charleston prison and were buried in a makeshift mass grave.
They were all reinterred in new graves with flowers and colorful ribbons on each burial site.
Decoration, now Memorial Day, became an official federal holiday in 1971-it marks the unofficial beginning of the summer season.
Today each year on Memorial Day a National moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. local time.
Famous Lowcountry artists Dianne Britton and Jonathan Green have several pieces of Gullah artworks dedicated to this historical day in Charleston.
So until tomorrow…Gratitude for those who came before us-the high price of freedom and democracy
” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh