Memorial Day originated as Decoration Day, a day for the widows and family of dead soldiers to place flowers on the graves of their loved ones. But it wasn't originated in the North, no, the first such commemoration was held a year after the war ended in Columbus, Georgia and designated Confederate Decoration Day. The dead soldiers so honored were Georgians who had died fighting for their homeland during Sherman's March through to the Peach State, obliterating everything on his way to the sea. The widows who organized the event also placed flowers on the graves of any Union dead also buried there, for they knew that they did what they did for their cause. They knew that young men fought the war for their homes and families, not due to any particular political persuasion or social goal. Their kindness in honoring Union dead was also noted in Northern newspapers and lauded as a great effort to end animosity in the new time of peace. Had Abraham Lincoln lived, the reunification effort would have been much easier.
Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant became good friends after the war with great respect for one another. General Joe Johnston, the commander of the Army defending Atlanta against Sherman's wrath, stood in the cold rain to pay respect to Sherman's funeral procession as it passed by at a later time. He came down with pneumonia and died shortly thereafter, but showed his respect by his presence. Why can't we do the same today?
It was only two years after the Southern initiation of Confederate Decoration Day that the United States initiated a special day for those who perished, basing it on a suggestion by General John Logan, a wounded Union veteran and head of the Grand Army of the Republic, a commemorative group of Union veterans. General Logan saw great value in such a commemoration and, despite a few groans, acknowledged that they would be creating a day that was started early by Southerners. The seeds of our current holiday, Memorial Day, were sown.
I find it sad that so many think we can just ignore the truth of the Civil War and try and put a biased pall across all things historical. Yes, the Civil War was not our finest hour, but it was real and should never be erased from our memory. And to destroy statues and symbols from those on the losing side, men who loved their homes and families just like their opponents, is shallow and sad. Men and boys in the mid-nineteenth century had much closer ties to their beloved home state than they did to a federal government. And for America to judge their actions by the social atmosphere of a time one hundred and fifty years later is simply ludicrous. We learn from history; it teaches us how to correct mistakes by showing what came with those mistakes. To destroy it with political correctness does just the opposite.
The Civil War happened and it was real and we need to remember it as we strive to make America better. Germany hasn't destroyed her concentration camps. They want to remember them so that they don't repeat the same things again. We should be grown up enough to do the same with our monuments, representing real history in a different era.