by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
A short while ago Americans celebrated, once again, Memorial Day but very few, I would like to bet, really know the origin of this day, which has nothing, originally, to do with honoring the dead of World War One, unlike Armistice Day, which is November 11 in the UK and Commonwealth Countries.
Memorial Day was started by former slaves on May, 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. They dug up the bodies and worked for 2 weeks to give them a proper burial as gratitude for fighting for their freedom. They then held a parade of 10,000 people led by 2,800 Black children where they marched, sang and celebrated.
Honoring the dead of the World Wars and other wars and conflicts that came after only became part of this day, originally called Decoration Day, after World War One. Memorial Day also must not be confused with Veterans Day. The formers honors – nowadays – the fallen warriors while Veterans Day honors the living ones that survived the wars.
This is a nugget of history that most of people have never learned in school and still don't and many homeschoolers, I am afraid to say, also am not aware of. The entry for Memorial Day in Wikipedia also tried to deny the fact that the first Memorial Day was held by former Black slaves in honor of Union soldiers.