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Memorial Day – What’s The Illinois Connection?

It’s Leslie Harris. Did you know that Memorial Day has it’s roots right here in Illinois?

Memorial Day started as a response to the Civil War. Approximately 620,000 soldiers died between both sides, a devastating loss. In 1864, in response to the loss,  some women living in Pennsylvania and put flowers on the graves of their fallen soldiers. The next year, a group of women decorated the graves buried in a Vicksburg, Mississippi cemetery.

In April of 1866 women in Columbus, Mississippi laid flowers on graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers. Also in April of 1866, over 200 Civil War veterans marched through Carbondale, Illinois to remember the fallen soldiers, and followed the march with a ceremony, giving Carbondale bragging rights to the first community-wide Memorial Day observance. (although that is in dispute by several other cities across the country who also claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day)

I know this is a day when many of us relax with our families, have barbecues and just enjoy a day off, but remember those who fought and lost their lives for our country. And if you are a former or current member of our military, thank you for your service.

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