Monday, May 31, 2010

Decoration Day

While we remember our fallen soldiers today, I want to remember some true heroes--the approximately 364,000 American soldiers who died between 1861 and 1865 suppressing Southern treason, holding the Union together, and freeing the slaves. I know these men (and a few women) fought for different reasons. Some were more noble than others. Not everyone cared about slavery, though a lot did so. And I know that not everyone who fought for the Confederacy necessarily acted to preserve slavery. But I do know that for whatever reason they fought, the Union soldiers died defending a noble and just cause and the Southern soldiers died to defend the rights of states to commit treason and to enslave, rape, and murder black people. Too often we forget the real reason for Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was known in the late 19th century, when the South refused to recognize it as a national holiday.