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|Posted on May 29, 2011 at 9:51 AM|
Memorial Day was originally observed on May 30, 1868 when flowers were laid on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. It's meaning was expanded after World War I to include the sacrifices of American soldiers throughout it's history. Therefore, I was somewhat disturbed when a couple of ladies from New York on one of my walking tours made the statement: "What do people in Savannah do this weekend since you don't observe Memorial Day"? My answer: "We observe Memorial Day like all Americans should" As a native Ohioan living in Georgia, I find regional animosities tiresome at best and mostly based on the ignorance most often expressed by those too culturally shallow to travel well.
Savannah's monuments to fallen soldiers are many and offer a glimpse into the very soul of the place for those willing to open their eyes. It usually comes as a surprise that the only Confederate monuments in the downtown National landmark Historic District sit within a wrought iron fence in the Forsyth Park Parade Grounds to the far edge of the Landmark District. The downtown is actually dominated by monuments dedicated to such heroes as Nathanael Greene, Casimir Pulaski, and Sergent Jasper. It was the spirit of the American Revolution which was enthroned here. This must have been a bit confusing to occupying Union Soldiers realizing both sides had the same heroes.
Today, monuments to contemporary conflicts such as World War I and Vietnam can also be visited along with the most recent entry on River Street to those who fought during World War II. If anything written here is new information, maybe it's time you took a few moments to read the inscriptions provided at these sites - wherever they may be. A little quiet remembrance of those who have ensured our freedoms might be good for what's ailing us as a country right now. Just a thought.
Categories: Savannah Culture