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Memorial Day Celebrations (1890-1899)
The Evening Star, May 30, 1890
Where Heroes Lie
Representative Mason Has Something to Say About Richmond's Celebration
Congressional Cemetery never looked prettier than it did this morning as the lines of boys in blue filed in to decorate the graves of their heroes who lie buried there. The grass seemed more than usually green and the trees cast a pleasant shade over the mounds, the lawns and the graveled paths. The bodies of nearly five hundred of the soldiers of the war are buried in this historic cemetery and there was a large concourse of people who came out to do reverence to the memories of the dead. In order that the members of the G.A.R. might participate also in the exercises at Arlington, Soldiers' Home and other places the exercises at Congressional Cemetery were held at an early hour and by 9 o'clock all the graves were handsomely decorated with flags and flowers.
The work of decoration was all in the hands of the following committee: Mrs. M.W. Fuller, Mrs. Alice Brendel, Mrs. A.M. Dykes, Mrs. W.H. Brayton, Mrs. C.A. Kibbey, Mrs. A.A. Russ, Miss Jessie Van Doren, Mrs. R.H. Hunt, Mrs. S. Curry, Mrs. S.L. Lyons, Miss Ethel Dinsmore, Mrs. Calvin Farnsworth, Mrs. M.F. Holderman, Mrs. L. Bradley, C.B. Haring, W.M. King, J.B. Peake, J.T. Thompson, H.M. Cross, J.B. Cross, C.P. Bundict, Chris. Storm, Peter Faulkner and Daniel E. Terry.
At the Stand
On a slight elevation overlooking the whole cemetery a stand had been erected and profusely decorated with red, white and blue bunting. A reading desk and an organ stood in the front and on the standard were seated the speakers of the day, the Mozart Club and Comrade Weber's band. The Mozart Club, which is made up of a number of young ladies and gentlemen rendered appropriate vocal music at intervals during the services and their sweet, clear voices added much to the beauty of the exercises. The following members were present: Miss Jennie V. Kennedy, Miss Florence E. Hughes, Miss Ella Lawrenson, Miss Ada Ober, Miss Ella Stevens, Miss Katie G. Lewis, Miss Mamie W. Carter, Miss May Hunter, accompanist; Mrs. Fannie M. Bryant, Mrs. M.F. Holderman, Mrs. R.C. Pearson, Mr. C.C. McCormick, Mr. D.E. Wiber, Mr. Randolph D. Hopkins, Mr. J.A. Pearson, Mr. Frank P. Leetch, Mr. S.A. Swindells, Mr. H.C. Fisher, Mr. M.D. Hensey, Mr. J.H. Hunter, director.
The Opening Address
The exercises were under the direction of Calvin Farnsworth, junior vice department commander, and shortly after 2 o'clock he rose and called the assembly to order. In his brief address of welcome Mr. Farnsworth, speaking of the flag of the Union, said: "But does it float over the whole land. No, by no means. All through the south the flag of treason waves today and flaunts itself in the face of men who strove to preserve our Union."
At the conclusion of Capt. Farnsworth' address Rev. W. Price delivered a prayer of invocation, ikn which he gave full thanks to the God of Battle for the blessings of freedom that rose, Phoenix-like, from the flames of horrible but necessary war.
The Mozart Club followed with the patriotic hymn "Low in the Ground." As the sweet strains from the mixed choir filled the wooded spaces of the beautiful cemetery the scene was an impressive one. The large assemblage present stood around with bowed heads all seeming to feel the solemnity and the beauty of the occasion. Weber's band played "Near My God to Thee," after which Comrade George B. Fleming, who was introduced by Mr. Farnsworth, as a man who did not need an introduction, "for all know Comrade Fleming, our standby poet," read an original poem entitled "Memorial Day Memories." It was a backward look at the times and events of the war, and a recital of the memories that well up in the hearts of all who loved their country and fought for its preservation. The anthem, "Flag of Our Ancestors," was sung by the Mozart Club.
Representative Mason's Oration
Mr. Farnsworth then introduced the orator of the day, Hon. Wm. E. Mason of Illinois, referring to him in his speech of introduction as the man who is always the friend of the soldier and veteran. Mr. Mason in the course of his address said that as a boy he regretted he was not old enough to fight with the veterans, but he was old enough now to fight for them. "I would rather," he said, "be able to hang upon my walls an honorable discharge from the Union army than to plaster my walls with the finest masterpieces of art. That is the feeling, let me tell you, that this generation bears toward the Grand Army, dead and living. Let not the veterans fear that their memories will ever be lost."
"There is," he said "one note of warning, however, that you must let me utter at this time. I must earnestly protest against occurrences in that fair southern city at the unveiling of Gen. Lee's statue yesterday. Let them honor the memory of a true and virtuous man if they will, but let me say that the broad sky over our country is broad enough only for one flag, and that the stars and stripes, and when a man waves any other he is in his heart as much a traitor as he was thirty years ago. Do not misunderstand me, brethren, but I would be false to the memory of a brother who fell at Gettysburg and to the memory of the many brave men who lie around us here if I did not protest at this, the first occasion I have had, against the act of men who flaunt the flag of secession in the face of the boys in blue who fought so nobly for their country. If there is a boy ing ray lying in this cemetery let us decorate his grave as of a man who was brave and who lost his life in a cause he thought was right, but let no one wave over his grave that flag that was the symbol of insult to the boys in blue."
The Closing Exercises
After the band had played "Safe in the Arms of Jesus" Comrade L.H. York asked an eloquent blessing upon this great land and upon the people who are gathered everywhere today to do reverence to its dead; who died in its defense. The exercises at the stand were completed by the rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner." Then the people began to leave the grounds and the exercises of the day were over.
The Evening Star, May 30, 1891
Hundreds of Children Join With the Veterans in the Exercises
The memorial services at the old Congressional cemetery, where so many of the nation's great statesmen and beloved soldiers lie sleeping their last sleep, were conducted by Farragut Post. They were of an unusually beautiful and appropriate character. On the principle of training up the children in the way they should go the object of the post was to give much prominence to the children in the parade and in the services at the cemetery, thus instilling into their minds sentiments of patriotism and reverence for the memory of the nation's heroes that they will never forget, no matter how many Decoration days they may live to see.
This introduction of the juvenile element in the ceremonies was rather in the nature of an experiment, but it proved to be in every way a delightful success. When the long line formed and started for the cemetery there were in the neighborhood of a thousand children in line, small girls in tasty summer frocks and handsome, manly boys bearing great bunches of flowers and each one provided with a small edition of the stars and stripes and wearing on their breasts pretty red ribbon badges.
Sunday Schools Turn Out
Ten of the big Sunday schools of East Washington were represented and there were a number of uniformed children's societies also in line, notably a large contingent of the Junior Order of Rechabites, who are brought up to know that the use of liquor is not an essential element in the celebration of the nation's festal days. Then there was a fine little military body the National Rifles, Junior, nineteen strong, in command of Capt. Wm. McCathran. This military organization is composed of boys between twelve and fourteen years of age. Their uniforms, is like that of the big National Rifles, except for the fact that the trousers only extend as far as the knees.
The Procession Starts
A very few minutes after the time set for the line to start--11 o'clock--the procession, which had been forming in front of the National Capital Bank building on Pennsylvania avenue between 3d and 4th streets, fell in and started on their long march to the cemetery. Comrade Weber's band furnished the music and to the inspiring strains of a march the long procession started off. The children marched like veterans and the veterans marched like young men.
It was a beautiful sight this, of a great band of children marching with the veterans to the old cemetery to help decorate the graves of the dead heroes of the great war. The Sunday school children bore aloft their silken class banners, on which were depicted crosses, crowns and anchors and religious and temperance texts. Under these standards this army of the Lord, bands of hope, filed with enthusiasm and earnestness of purpose, trudged along, unmindful of mud or distance. Many a mother who lived through the dark days of the war said as the procession passed along the streets that this came nearer her ideal way of paying suitable tribute to the dead than any form of celebration ever seen in Washington.
As the procession passed east along Pennsylvania avenue at various points it was reinforced by other Sunday schools and organizations of little soldiers.
The parade and the services of the day were under the direction of Comrade A.F. Dinsmore, senior vice department commander, who is known as one of the handsomest and most soldierly men in the Grand Army. He rode in a carriage at the head of the procession, and among the others who rode in the open carriages were Comrades J.D. Wilson, chaplain of Farragut Post; Dr. H.N. Howard, the orator of the day, and D.J. Evans, the poet. Then came the band and the National Rifles, Jr., carrying flags stuck into the muzzles of their small rifles.
These were followed by the children of the Sunday schools, of which the following were represented: Twelfth Street M.E., with 100 in line; Independent M.E., 11th street, 200; Fourth Street M.E., 150; Tenth Street M.E. Mission, 25; Douglas Memorial M.E., 100; Second Baptist, 100; Maryland Avenue Baptist Mission, 100; Christ Church, 125; Christian Church, 100, Eastern Presbyterian, 50; Fifth Congregational, 75.
Other Organizations in Line
After these came the following organizations: Mt. Vernon Council, No. 10, Jr. O.U.A.M., Thos. E. Robinson, councilor, and Harry Pate in command; Empire Council, No. 14, Sons of Jonadab; Capital Commandery, No. 323, U.O.G.C.; Cammack Tent, No. 42, Jr. Order of Rechabites.
Farragut Post, No. 10, G.A.R., were in place in left of line, one hundred strong and in full uniform, making an imposing array. Dr. S.A.H. McKim is the commander of the post but he was unable to be present and the post, was commanded by the junior vice commander, A.S. Taber. A detachment of the U.S. marines was to have acted as escort to the line, but when he found what the nature of the parade was to be the commander declined to have his men act in that capacity for a lot of juvenile organizations and bands of hope.
The Decoration Committee
The decoration committee and its assistants left the hall for the cemetery in barges and carriages some little time before the procession, so as to have everything in order for the exercises. This committee, which did its noble work so well as to attract favorable comment from all, was composed of the following ladies and gentlemen:
Mrs. E.A. Chambers, Mrs. Lydia Barnes, Mrs. C.A. Kibbey, Mrs. A.M. Dykes, Miss J.A. VanDoren, Mrs. Mary Wood, Mrs. B. Zimmerman, Mrs. J. Parker, Mrs. M.H. Brayton, Mrs. M.W. Fuller, Mrs. Alice Brendel, Mrs. L.J. Bradley, Mrs. S.R. Curry, Mrs. E.H. Hunt, Mrs. E.A. Hopkins, Mrs. S.P. Hutton, Mrs. M. Hodgkins, Mrs. C. Judson, Mrs. J. McDonald, Mrs. L.L. Meade, Mrs. A.A. Russ, Mrs. L. Draper, Commanders H.N. Howard, H.S. Stevens, A.B. Huribut, Chris. Storm, J.T. Thompson, I.E.W. Thompson, Geo. R. Cook, E.H. Ripley, Jas. Wood, M.V.B. Wilson, S.F. McBride, John Pryor, Chas. W. O'Neill, superintendent of cemetery.
In the Cemetery
Many others had also gone to the cemetery ahead of time, so that when the procession entered the great iron gates there was already a large crowd awaiting them, and as the line made its way along the shady, graveled walks the green turf on either side was covered with people, who had nothing but words of praise for the beautifully appropriate nature of the turnout.
Under the trees on the summit of a slight eminence near the middle of the fine old cemetery there had been erected a roomy platform almost in sight of the gently flowing river. It was tastefully decorated with bunting and great flags, and in the front, facing an open space, where the audience was gathered was a reader's desk draped in blue. In front of the stand, over the fresh, soft grass, was ranged row after row of low benches so that the concourse of small children was not obliged to stand during the long sad interesting exercises. Here gathered around in a pleasing group these children heard the veterans speak eloquent words to the memory of men who lost their lives in defense of their home and country in a war of which the children are fortunate enough to know only the romantic part without having experienced any of the horrors. Yet it were safe to say that those same small people who must soon be the men and women of the land have now a better understanding of that good word, patriotism, that they ever had before.
The services of the day from the stand were commenced by the band playing the funeral march, "To the Fallen Heroes." Comrade Dinsmore stepped forward to the front of the stand and as the last noises of the sweet music were borne off under the trees by the gentle zephyrs he called the assembly to order in a brief and graceful address.
"Comrades and friends," he began, "we gather here today, in the quiet of this beautiful May morning, to place upon the graves of our dead the first flowers of spring--a tribute of undying love and veneration for those who gave up their lives that this nation might live. It is pleasing to witness on each recurring 30th of May the increased interest manifested by our people generally in the observance of "Memorial day." It gladdens the heart of every veteran to see these children with their offerings of flowers at the graves of his comrades. It teaches the children and youth of this nation to remember this day and it inculcates a love of country founded upon the best and holiest sentiments of their natures. It is as well a guarantee that the work of perpetuating the Union our comrades preserved and which ended with their lives shall not have been in vain, and that the memory of our heroic dead and the principles for which they suffered and died will forever live in the hearts of a grateful people. "And so each year, on the 30th of May, we gather to dedicate anew the sacred ground where rest the brave men who, on a hundred battle fields, gave their lives that this great nation might survive."
At the conclusion of the commander's speech the hymn "Nearer My God to Thee," was effectively sung by the Farragut choir, which is composed of A.S. Fennell, W.B. Atkinson, M.A. Donnelly, Robt. Lowry, W.R. Bonham, C.M.L. Sites, H. Boswell and Comrade J.S. Smith, director.
Chaplain Wilson's Invocation
The chaplain of Farragut Post, Rev. J.D. Wilson, then made an eloquent and appropriate invocation to the God of war, and of peace and prayed Him to guard the nation and its people through all the dangers and difficulties that may arise, and he also expressed the thanks of a grateful people for the memory of the men who saved the nation in its hour of peril.
"Consolation," sweet and low and full of harmony, was sung by the choir with pleasing affect, and then the post of the day, Comrade D.J. Evans of the Navy Department read an original poem that fitted in well with the tie and place and seemed, as it were, a crystallization of the sentiments of the assembled multitude.
"We Deck Other Graves Today" was the next musical selection that the choir sang, and just as it finished, the band, which was stationed under the trees, started the familiar strain of "In the Sweet By and By."
The oration delivered by Comrade H.N. Howard of the Post Office Department was a carefully prepared and well-delivered effort.
Standing, bareheaded and shaded from the warm sun by the green of the trees above, this army veteran reviewed in an able and masterly manner the causes that engendered the war, rehearsed some of the hardships of a soldier's life and paid a hearty tribute to the boys in blue, who suffered, fought and died that others might live.
Decorating the Graves
"America" was sung with a will by the choir and chorus of Sunday school children to the accompaniment of the band, and after a benediction by the chaplain the crowd scattered around, while the children, the ladies' committee and comrades placed flowers and little flags above the grassy mounds that mark the last resting places of many of the nation's well-loved dead.
There are in the Congressional cemetery upward of 800 graves of soldiers, and each and every one, regardless of their rank and station while alive, were fittingly remembered in these memorial services. In this same cemetery, too, lie the remains of two women whose memory is dear to every veteran in this city.
These are Mrs. Dinsmore, the founder and first president of Farragut Relief Corps, and Mrs. Armes, a prominent member of Burnside Corps, and their graves were covered with floral remembrances.
Gen. Rawlin's Grave
The grave of Major General and Secretary of War, John A. Rawlins stands directly behind the spot where the stand was erected today, surmounted by a towering stone shaft and this was also covered with flowers and hung round with flags and colored hunting. This decoration was done y Rawlins Post, G.A.R., under the supervision of C.B. McEwan of Post No. 1.
Early this morning, long before it was time for the post to start for Arlington cemetery, Rawlins Post made a pilgrimage to the spot at the opposite end of the town where lies the body of the soldier whose name it bears.
Among the floral tributes at the tomb were two handsome pieces, one from a G.A.R. post in Massachusetts and one that came all the way from the Golden Gate.
The Evening Star, May 30, 1892
Five Thousand People Listen to the Memorial Exercises There
Memorial day services at the Congressional Cemetery were conducted under the direction of Comrade Nathan Bickford, junior vice-commander, assisted by the following committee of comrades: W.H. Miner, Chas. J. Moore, M.M. Lewis, A.N. Girault, J.E. Snow, A. B. Hurlbut, G.W. Barnes, I.E.W. Thompson.
At 10:30 the following procession as formed at 3d street and Pennsylvania avenue southeast and proceeded, by way of Pennsylvania avenue and E street, to the cemetery: Soldiers' Home Band; Sons of Veterans' Drum Corps; Junior Order of Rechabites; Sunday schools; citizens; Thomas Camp, S. of V.; Cushing Camp, S. of V.; Geo. H. Thomas Post, No. 15, G.A.R.; Farragut Post, No. 10, G.A.R.; J.V. Dept. commander and members of the committee, speakers, poet, chaplain and guests, ladies of the decoration committee and choir.
A beautiful and touching feature of the procession was the number of children who participated. There were not less than 1,000 who marched in the line, each one carrying a small flag. They were of all ages, from the little tots, whose tiny feet could scarcely keep pace with the steps of their elders, to the big boys and girls of fifteen and sixteen years of age. The way to the cemetery was long and dusty, but the little ones forgot all that in their unbounded enthusiasm.
Arriving at the cemetery a throng of 5,000 or 6,000 people were found congregated about the stand which had been erected near the western entrance of the cemetery. The stand was tastefully draped with bunting, two large flags being planted on either side. Comrade Bickford rapped the assemblage to order, and in a few well-chosen words announced the program of exercises. A dirge, "Fallen Comrades," by the band, followed, when Comrade George R. Cook invoked the Divine blessing.
Farragut Post Octet, composed of Messrs. J.R. Smith, A.S. Fennell, B.W. Beebe and S.C. Mason, tenors, and I.C. Stockton, J.C. Murray, C.E. Many and Dr. N.H. Howard, under the leadership of Comrade J.E. Snow, beautifully rendered "Consolation."
Comrade Bickford then introduced Senator J.M. Gallinger of New Hampshire, who delivered the following address, which was received with great applause:
Senator Gallinger's Oration
On this Memorial day--a day almost as sacred as the Christian Sabbath--it is fitting that patriotic and liberty-loving men and women should congregate to do hence and to pay a tribute to the brave men who left hom and loved ones to do valiant service on the battlefield in behalf of the Constitution and the Union. What a terrible conflict that was, and what patient endurance and marvelous heroism the defenders of our country displayed through those four long years of bloody strife. In all the history of the world no such battles were ever fought as those in which our soldiers participated from 1861 to 1865. The great battles of Europe fell far short of those of the rebellion, while those of the revolution, the war of 1812 and the Mexican war were but skirmishes in comparison. In the great battles that Napolean, Wellington and other great generals fought the casualties from death and wounds rarely exceed 10 percent, while in several battles of the rebellion our loss in killed and wounded aggregated 30 percent, and in individual regiments it sometimes exceeded 50 percent. That single fact tells the story of the bravery and heroic courage of our soldiers more eloquently than any words of mine can picture it.
Is it asked why our armies were thus decimated? The answer is found in the fact that the soldiers of the Union fought for a great principle and not for gain or conquest. Our armies were made up not from the lower classes of society, but from the farm, the workshop, the school and the college. The soldiers of our civil war represented the capacity, skill and moral courage of an intelligent people--not the blind, unconscious mechanism of ignorant masses trained to the support of arbitrary power. They submitted to the discipline of war with a clear apprehension of its significance and terrible realty. Theirs was a voluntary sacrifice for the maintenance in its entirety of a system of society, labor and government having its origin, support and end in the people. The men whom we honor would never have accepted the gage of battle for plunder or dominion; never to support the claims of a family or to elevate a chieftain to imperial honors. They fought for the dynasty of the people. The conflict was inspired solely by the love of liberty and of country. All prejudices and passions were consumed in the intenser heat of popular patriotism. The loyal of all creeds stood side by side and fell together for the integrity and glory of the republic.
What These Soldiers Did
And how grandly they fought and how gloriously they died. These graves decorated today by loving hands are filled by men whose going out from life brought desolation and sorrow to many homes. They were brave men. Whatever of hardship was endured, whatever of suffering experienced, whatever of toil and pain encountered, our soldiers shared in full measure and endured with a fortitude such as brave men alone can display. Wherever the fires of desolation burned fiercest, wherever the line of battle was bloodiest, there they were seen moving with a strong and steadfast courage.
At the call of country they plunged into the very abyss of death and gave up life in defense of the right. How they fought through the heat and desolation of Fredericksburg! At Antietam they hurled themselves upon the bridge with desperate determination, and over the bodies of fallen comrades passed the stream that ran red with blood in the face of the foe. At Vicksburg they crept day by day nearer its central line until the strong defenses crumbled and fell, and at Gettysburg, the Waterloo of the war, they fought with a courage the like of which history does not record and won a victory greater than any the world has ever known. Surely loving hands should strew flowers on the graves of these dead heroes and a grateful people should recall with pride their sacrifices for liberty and for country. Their achievements are enshrined in the hearts of their countrymen and their valor will serve as an example and an inspiration to all the generations of the republic.
The Most Enduring Monuments
The battles of the old world are commemorated by columns and arches. The Athenians reared mounds in commemoration of the achievements of their soldiery. With us grateful hearts will always cherish the deeds of the men who fought our battles. Better than monuments and arches is the undying gratitude of a nation, and better than mounds built by human hands are the everlasting hills of Gettysburg and Lookout and Cemetery Ridge, on the crest of which the storm of shot and shell rained with relentless fury. While liberty lasts those hills will stand mute and yet eloquent reminders of dauntless heroism and undying devotion to duty and to truth.
For the living soldiers of the civil war every patriotic heart has nothing but feelings of gratitude and words of praise. Your breasts were bared to the storm of lead, your lives exposed to the vicissitudes of war. Your lives exposed to the vicissitudes of war. Your comrades fell and you were spared. A grateful country will not forget the part you played in that terrible drama of death and desolation. Some may grumble because the soldier is pensioned. Heaven pity the man who thus puts self above patriotism and who measures the blood of the soldier by the low standard of dollars and cents. Go with me to the home where the empty chair awaits the coming of the boy who will never return; to the home of the mother, old and poor, whose only dependence was taken from her on the field of battle. As her which she prefers, her boy or the paltry pension that perchance she receives, and what answer will be made? Ask the man whose hands are gone, or the sight of whose eyes has been destroyed, which he prefers, and note the reply. Ask him who contracted disease in the swamps of the south or suffered untold agonies in the prison pens of the enemy, which he prefers, health or a pension, and listen to the response. Do the men of the present generation forget that high medical authority estimates that every soldier from the north who served three years shortened his life by the space of ten years? Tell me that those men do not deserve recognition by the government--that they are unworthy of a pittance to enable them to keep suffering from themselves and their loved ones--and I reply, God have mercy on the men who treat unkindly those without whose effort the republic would have been overthrown and freedom would have perished.
Heaven praised our armies triumphed, the Union was preserved, the dear old flag was saved without a star removed and the principles of constitutional government were upheld and perpetuated. Today the flag of the republic, with new stars added and greater glory and strength typified in its folds, floats over the entire country. Obedient to national authority a reunited country is engaged in friendly rivalry with the other nations of the earth. Peace prevails, prosperity abounds and future triumphs await our people. And today as we look upon the graves of our dead heroes let us reverently pray that oppression in all forms may cease in our land; that the civil and political rights of every citizen may be respected; that the heaven-born principles of the golden rule may guide our people, and that, forgetting so far as they can the bitterness and desolation of war, sectional feelings may be laid aside and this nation become in fact as well as in name the home of freedom, of justice and of equality.
No grander or more eloquent tribute was ever paid to the dead heroes of the war than is contained in William Winter's poem, "A Pledge to the Dead."
The Senator here read the poem referred to, which closes as follows:
To the clouds and the mountains we breath it;
To the freedom of planet and star;
Let the tempests of ocean enwreath it;
Let the winds of the night bear it far--
Our oath, that, till manhood shall perish,
And honor and virtue and aged.
We are true to the cause that they cherish
And eternally true to the dead.
"Yes," he said, "we will eternally true to the dead; true to the patriotism that nerved the heart, the courage that leveled the gun, the heroic and unfaltering heroism displayed on the bloody field of strife. Theirs it was to do and die for country and liberty; theirs to struggle to save the tottering nationality; theirs to defend the honor of the flag, the integrity of the Union and the interests of the home and of society. Had it not been for their valor the republic would have perished and the nation of which we are all so proud would have been shattered and destroyed.
Heaven bless our heroic dead, and may the memory of their deeds ever be to us an inspiration and incentive to the faithful discharge of every duty of life, and especially may the contemplation of their achievements lead us to a higher and better appreciation of our responsibilities as citizens of a free government than we possibly could have felt had it not been for their sufferings and sacrifices.
Mindful of all the past, its cost, its tears, its blood, its heroism and its victories; hopeful for all the future, with its unknown tests of virtue, honor and courage, with its possible failure and probable grandeur, let us one and all be reverently glad today that we meet by the shores of the historic Potomac, at the capital of the nation, at peace with each other and at peace with the world.
DeWitt Sprague's Form
The octet was next heard in "We'll Ever Keep Their Memory Green," when Comrade DeWitt C. Sprague was introduced as the poet of the day. Before reading his poem, Mr. Sprague said that he had taken the liberty of dedicating it to that gallant old warrior who was present, Gen. W.S. Rosecrans. The opening stanza of the poem was as follows:
May comes again with all her rural bloom,
This consecrated ground anew to dress,
Her dewy tears on many soldiers' tomb
She gently drops in pitying tenderness
And strews her floral tributes here with rich perfume.
The poem was received with great applause and was followed by the rendition of the Decoration day hymn, "We Deck Their Graves Alike."
Representative Owen Scott of Illinois was introduced as a comrade by brevet, Comrade Bickford explaining that Mr. Scott, a mere boy at the time, started off for the front, but was captured by his mother on the way and compelled, much against his will, to return home with her.
Representative Scott's Oration
Mr. Scott said in substance that no other day observed by the American people is so full of tender sentiments, of individual heroism and patriotism as this Memorial day.
Independence day commemorated the establishment of American freedom. Thanksgiving brings a grateful people to their places of worship to render unto God prayers of praise for having crowned the year with His goodness. Other days are observed in memory of achievements. This one is sacred to the memory of the individual soldier who gallantly and heroically imperiled his health, his limb, his life, his earthly enjoyments by forsaking ease, comfort and domestic happiness to serve his country and prevent its disruption.
Every little grassy mound, no matter how obscure and humble its occupant is a monument to the unselfish patriotism of the rank and file of the gallant American soldiery.
War is the most horrible condition of man. When waged by one nation against another it surpasses human thought and comprehension in its frightful hideousness. When it calls in conflict men of one country and one blood it blinds human reason in the bitterness of its sorrow.
Three decades have passed since the greatest war of modern nations closed. A new generation has been born and grown to maturity since the first gun startled the world. Time has sped on and our reunited country has been riding the lightning and the elements in the great race of human progress. The sorrows and horrors of fraternal strife are not effaced. They cannot be so long as there remains a national cemetery, a soldiers' home, a disabled soldier or a hero's grave over which a grateful nation may bow and scatter fragrant flowers.
The horrors of war are not invited. They come because conditions force them. They irrepressible conflict over human slavery must needs come. When the natural body is poisoned with impurities of the blood eruption must be formed to rid the system of this death-producing matter. The surgeon's knife is often applied in aid. So of nations; so of our own beloved land. Slavery had long poisoned the currents of national life and the sections, north and south, were mutually jealous of each other on account of this demoralizing institution. Webster in the north and Calhoun in the south had fought the great forensic battles. Those Samsons of intellect and human thought stood out before the world as mountain peaks in a desert. The great peacemaker between the sections, Henry Clay, being from neutral old Kentucky, sought to heel the national malady by compromises. These only allayed the irritation, they could not cure. The cause was too deep-seated for external applications. The surgeon's knife must be applied and blood must flow.
The conflict came; the cancer was cut out. A race of men was emancipated. The scars of war may remain, but the two sections are no longer embittered by an ever-exasperating conflict of interests. Since the war has closed the sections have gradually been cemented by northern capital in southern fields, by people from the north going into the glorious sunshine of southern winters, those of the south enjoying the cool breezes of the great lakes and mountains of the northland, by strong bands of steel in great railroad systems and by inter-migration.
No one, north or south, would restore slavery. Neither section has any interests in conflict with the other, but each seeks the natural interchange of products and people which comes from perfect harmony and concord.
The disease was frightful, the remedy terrific as well as heroic. It was applied and the recovery has been complete and perfect. The great emancipator, Lincoln, with his equally the great coadjutor, Douglas, stands enshrined in hearts of a grateful people. The things that are behind are forgotten in the universal concord that prevails. The future, with its bow of promise, spans the heavens. A people unequaled in the vigor and intelligence of their resources a land unapproachable in its wonderful possibilities, a nation, the genius of which surpasses the wildest dream of utopian imagination, stands with the torch of human progress and achievement uplifted to enlighten the centuries yet to come.
Gen. Rosecrans Talks
Mr. Scott's address was warmly received, and at its close Comrade Bickfored stepped to the front and said that few of the old war horses were left now, and knowing that all would be glad to see the one present, he introduced Gen. W.S. Rosecrans. Gen. Rosecrans said that it was expressly understood that he was to say nothing, and he would therefore merely say that he regarded it to be a duty to be present and that he reverently joined with his old comrades in paying tribute to the gallant dead.
The dirge "Sweet Repose" followed, and then, after "Nearer, My God to Thee" had been sung by the entire assemblage, accompanied by the band, the Rev. G.F. Williams pronounced the benediction and the ceremony of strewing the graves with flowers performed as the band played the dirge 'Rest in Peace."
The following were the decorating committees, they being assisted by the children: From Farragut Relief Corps, No. 5--Mrs. C.A. Kibby, president; Mrs. Fannie Miner, Mrs. Mary Ripley, Mrs. Miranda Fuller, Mrs. E.A. Chamers, Mrs. M. Hitchcock, Mrs. Horton, Mrs. Curry, Mrs. Mary Zimmerman, Mrs. Barnes, Mrs. M. Birchfield, Mrs. A. Dykes, Mrs. Hodgkins, Mrs. Kalstrom, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Cornell, Mrs. Goodrich, Mrs. Draper, Mrs. Parker, Mrs. Lowery, Mrs. Hopkins, Mrs. Beavens, Mrs. Hunt, Mrs. Bradley, Mrs. L. Lyons, Miss J. VanDoren, Miss E.I. Dinsmore.
From Geo. H. Thomas Camp, Sons of Veterans--Bert A. Johnson, W.H. Kauffman, Herman Hoge, George Anderson, W.L. Houchen, C.W. Seville, Alle Dobson, Jennings Wilson, Chas. W. O'Neill, superintendent of cemetery.
From Cushing Camp, Sons of Veterans--W.A. Rutherford, M.V. Brown, J.E. Prosperi, Wm. Esputa, E.T. Nash, N.J. Doolan, J.A. Fulton, Charles Emmons, Wm. Doolan, Wm. R. Seavey, Charles W. Weisser, L. Morrison, J.T. Scheerer, John Scheerer.
Among the many beautiful floral places, an anchor and cross presented by Farragut Relief Corps, No. 5, were greatly admired. After the graves were decorated the procession reformed, and marching back to 3d and Pennsylvania avenue, were dismissed.
The Evening Star, May 30, 1893
Impressive Ceremonies Under the Direction of Comrade B.T. Janney
Services were held in the forenoon at Congressional Cemetery and were attended by a large crowd, which in numbers seemed to include the entire population of East Washington. The services were conducted under the direction of Comrade B.T. Janney and the following committee:
B.T. Janney, chairman; H.H Moler, A.F. Dinsmore, W.H. Miner, G.T. Carter, H.S. Linker, E.W. Davis, J. Plant, WA.H. Liverpool.
Long before the procession arrived crowds ladies and children streamed into the cemetery and began the loving task of decorating the graves, not only of the soldier dead, but of the citizens interred there, and even the humblest mound in the remotest corner of the grounds received its little bunch of flowers.
The monument erected to the memory of Gen. Rawlins, Grant's chief of staff, was draped with flags and the shaft seemed to rise from a bank of roses. Close by the monument a stand had been erected for the occasion and upon which the exercises of the day were conducted.
Arrival of the Procession
About 11:30 the procession, headed by Schroeder's Band and led by Comrade Janney, entered the grounds. The front rank of the procession consisted of a detachment of the Junior Order of Rechabites, a number of little boys in uniforms of white blouses and blue trousers, red caps and carrying spears and flags. Following them were several hundred Sunday school children from East Washington churches each child carrying a flag and a bouquet. After them came citizens on foot, Dahlgren Camp and Cushing Camp, Sons of Veterans, Farragut Post, No. 10, G.A.R. and a line of carriages brought up the rear.
The procession came to a halt around the grand stand, and after the band had played a dirge, Comrade Janney called the assemblage to order. In a few brief but earnest remarks he announced the purpose of the gathering. "We," he said "are the only species of God's creation who remember the dead and cherish their memory and who ever raise a memorial to anything. The assemblage today is for the purpose of paying tribute to the memory of the soldier dead of the nation."
Rev. Charles B. Ransell then offered prayer, after which Farragut Octet, composed of A.S. Fennell, T.G. Gallaher, Harry McElfresh, Wm. R. Benham, Edward Saxton, R.J. Lowry. W.H. Harmer and J.S. Smith, director, sang an 'Ode to America" dedicated to the G.A.R. by H. Wharton Howard of this city. The composition is melodious and lofty in sentiment and it was well sung.
Comrade Janney then introduced Rev. Geo. L. Spinning, D.D., of New York, the orator of the day. Dr. Spinning enlisted during the war as a private in a Kansas regiment and served through the entire conflict, afterward entering the ministry in New York City. He is in Washington in attendance upon the Presbyterian assembly. A report of Dr. Spinning's address will be found elsewhere.
After another selection by the octet an original poem by Comrade Thomas Calver was read, and Miss Grace Lynre McCulloch sang a solo. Then the entire assembly sang "Nearer, My God to Thee," the Sunday school children joining the chorus. The people were dismissed with a benediction by Rev. Mr. Ramsdell.
The following committees contributed to the success of the occasion:
Committee of Farragut Post--Jas. Wood, E.H. Repley, J.S. Smith, Donald McCathran, H.N. Howard, C. Parker, G.W. Barnes, F.A. Belt.
Decoration committee--Comrade Carter, chairman, with ladies of Farragut W.R. Corps: Mrs. Annie M. Dykes, Mrs. E.A. Chambers, Mrs. M.W. Fuller, Mrs. L.S. Lyons, Mrs. Jennie Bevans, Mrs. M. Beebe, Mrs. Jennie Paqrker, Mrs. Marion Packer, Miss J. VanDoren, Miss Cora McCathran, Miss Susan Curry, Mrs. Emma Fordham, Mrs. Grace Lowry, Mrs. M. McCreary, Mrs. L. Bradley, Mrs. Pratt, Mrs. Annnie Circle, Mrs. E.H. Ripley, Mrs. Clara Kalstrom, Miss Belle MckKee, Miss M.H Fairhild; W.H. Miner, officer of the day.
The Evening Star, May 30, 1894
The Sentiments Uttered by Representative Pence and S.S. Yoder.
The speakers at Congressional Cemetery were Representative Lafe Pence of Colorado and Mr. S.S. Yoder.
Representative Pence spoke of the passing of years and the burden of infirmities and weakness that came in their train, bearing heavily upon the veterans of the war. "You now halt," he exclaimed, "as if wearied. As you stand you show too plainly that the short tramp of today brings more fatigue than did exposure, conflict and severest march in your vigorous days of a generation ago. My message to you is brief. In the name and by the authority of the generation to which your sons belong, I here and now remind you that the inspired hope expressed by Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863, has been fulfilled. "These dead have not died in vain."
"On this anniversary of flowers and sweet remembrances, all voices say the people's government abides more firmly and gives better promise that it 'shall not perish from the earth.' The burden of duty passes swiftly from one generation to another. Life's span at best is short. The sires whose blessings gave you more of inspiration to do and, if need be, die, than all the sound of martial drums when first you shouldered arms, have long since gone to peaceful rest and even you, so short a time ago the active, acting, moving power of the republic, are frail from age, exposure and wounds and the blessed land whose stars you saved now must find its servitors in your children.
A Precious Trust
"Be ye not afraid. The sons and daughters who coming after you, inspired by the memory of your valor and devotion, have assumed the active duties of the hour and day, in field and farm, in mart and shop, are gathered here around you, and my commission of this hour is to speak their message and say to your thinning ranks, by the stars and stripes which you saved for us, by the Union you preserved for us, before the God who directed your battles and gave you victory, we shall not shirk nor seek to avoid nor put aside the proper debt of gratitude which is due to you and your comrades, if living, and if dead, then to their widows and orphans according to the broadest limits of generosity and patriotism."
"Nor do I doubt that the children of the new south will join in this pledge. Just as the mothers and widows of the dead confederates inaugurated the sweet custom of strewing flowers on the graves of Union soldiers, so will their children cheerfully continue, by every possible way, the proof that they, too, are glad you won the victory and, though against the rash wish of their fathers, gave to them a flag to love and defend."
Peace in the South
He said that of all our country the south is now least disturbed. "It matters not to consider whether her people are the most or the least prosperous; whether her toilers receive the highest or least reward for their labors; whether her great agricultural class is rising or falling in wealth, from her midst there come no alarming reports of violence or riot. While from every other section come daily reports of friction and confusion, misunderstanding and conflicts, none such come to us from the southland. She has learned that no gain can come from a defiance of the legally constituted authorities of the land."
In regard to pensions he said: "There is not too much but rather too little of favoritism to the veteran in our laws and practices. It may be, no doubt is, true that many false and fictitious claims have grown up under the beneficent laws enacted for the benefit of the deserving, but that is in no sense the fault of the deserving and the government has no right in law or equity to ask or expect the deserving to be postponed or defeated on account thereof.
"Wherever the law gives a preference to the old soldier, in employment or service of the country, see to it that by no oversight is it neglected. To the full limit that the law permits it your ranks, now so rapidly passing from the active field to the 'silent tents spread on Fame's eternal camping ground,' should be permitted and called upon to make up those who shall make u the government pay rolls. All the people of the land of all parties and sections would urge the same, for all the people of the land, of all parties and sections would urge the same, for all the people of the land, of all parties, are grateful for your sacrifices, and know full well that the proof of it is in performance and not in profession. S.S. Yoder's Address
After referring to the significance of the day and its ceremonies, Gen. Yoder said: "Our love for the soldier should be as deep as the sea and as irremovable as the mountain, and next to it should be our love for the flag under which he fought. It is a significant symbol. As at the sight of the cross in the heaven the great Constantine was led to victory, so the sight of the flag of our country should inspire us to patriotic devotion, as an emblem of our redemption from tyranny and threatened dissolution, into a nation free and inseparable.
"Over a land torn by the fury of battles, trampled by the march of armies, pierced for the burial of the multitude of dead, nature has today spread her beautiful covering and deep scars of war are being obliterated. Opinions, cherished for generations and fought for in the field of battle are eradicated by the growth of new interest and the creation of new sympathies, and over a hundred battle-fields of war now move that busy host-a prosperous and happy people.
"This is a day of peace and reconciliation. Whatever of politics or of prejudices stand across the track of reconciliation, business communication and material interest between the north and the south will be crushed under the wheels of fraternity and common interest. It is a most commendable fact that this day witnesseth scenes that will astonish skeptics. Nearly a million men, to say nothing of the ladies and children, observing this national day of sorrow, not alone in the north, but all over the south. The members of the United Confederate Veterans, governors, Senators, and men noted as confederate leaders, are participating in the memorial services; on many almost forgotten battlefields in the south this day will be observed for the first time. It is very gratifying and speaks well for the patriotism of our whole people that as we recede from the time of the war this day becomes more sacred and universally observed.
Tribute to Woman
"You veterans of the war have gathered around the graves of comrades and friends. You outlived the fiery storm. They went down before you. There is no need of an appeal to you, whose record is written in fire and blood, to be true to the memory of the comrade who touched your elbow as you fought or died in your arms under the flag. Because you fought and they died, the nation lives. The forms and faces of those stirring times, and the events of the great war in which we bore a part, after thirty years seem unreal and shadowy, like the remembrances of a dream. But with our recollections of the days of preparation and the campaigns and battles which followed-with all our recollections of those who lay wounded among th edying and the dead, of sickness and suffering in hospitals of starvation and death in prisons, there are closely and inseparably linked sacred and beautiful memories of love and devotion of tender sympathy and unflinching courage of the unbrevetted, untitled heroines-wives, mothers, sisters and sweethearts-the great army of noble, patriotic American women. None that ever lived were of a nobler, truer type. They made the flag which was to be the cherished emblem of home and country. They organized societies in the field and hospital. Who can paint in fitting words their anxiety, sorrow and their sacrifices? God bless our patriotic ladies."
Mr. Calver's Poem.
The poem was read by Mr. Thomas Calver. It was entitled
In the shadow of the Capitol
The breath of Freedom fills my grateful heart
And thrills my heart with joy, as now I stand
Beneath the shadow of her statue's crest
In thy sweet air, Columbia, my land!
And as I gaze, with ever-growing pride,
Upon thy Capitol's transcendent dome,
Weir, spectral pageants through my vision ride
Out from thy wondrous past, my lovely home!
I turn my gaze across Potomac's banks
To Arlington's enflowered and sylvan height,
And see the spectral files, the ghostly ranks,
Resume their marches in the skies of night.
Then, toward the north, where in the leafy glades,
The worn, spent soldier dreams his twilight hour
I see dim shades of troopers draw their blades
And form beneath the battlemented tower.
The noble hero dead! How well they keep
The vigil that averts the threatened blight;
The watch and ward that saves when else might sleep
A nation's sentinels through danger's night.
Their monuments proclaim her peerless fame;
The tablets of her glory mark their graves;
The lessons of the past live in each name
Engraven on the tombs of fallen braves.
Then bring the beauties of fair Flora's bowers
And mark their resting place, with loving hand
And tears that fall, far sweeter than the flowers,
To freshen sod that holds the hero band.
And let their story live in silver song
That though the coming centuries shall ring.
And sweeter grow as cycles pass along
And teach the world the chords that angels sing.
The Evening Star, May 30, 1895
At Congressional Cemetery
Sunday School Children Form a Conspicuous Feature in the Throng
By far the greatest throng which ever visited Congressional cemetery upon Decoration day was seen there today, when the exercises were conducted by Farragut Post, G.A.R., No. 10 the presiding officer being Junior Vice Commander William W. Chambers, Department of the Potomac. Congressman-elect W.C. Arnold of Pennsylvania was to have delivered the oration but he failed to reach the city, and is supposed to have missed his train or have been detained by important legal business. Comrade S.R. Strattan was unexpectedly called upon to take his place, and Mr. Strattan delivered a most eloquent address.
The parade was formed in front of Farragut Post Hall, Pennsylvania avenue between 3d and 4th streets southeast, at 11 o'clock this morning, and preceded by field music from the marine barracks, marched to the cemetery, the streets along the route being lined by thousands of people. A beautiful feature of the procession was the hundreds of little children, who bravely endured the terrible heat.
They were from the Sunday schools of the Eleventh Street Free Methodist Church, the Twelfth Street M.E. Church, the Metropolitan Baptist Church, Trinity M.E. Church, the Church of the Reformation, St. James' Episcopal Church, Waugh M.E. Church, Metropolitan Presbyterian Church, Metropolitan Mission Baptist Church and the Eastern Presbyterian Church. Each little one carried a flag, and all were under the charge of their teachers. The Uniformed Junior Order of Rechabites, William B. Cushing Camp of Sons of Veterans, and members of Farragut Post were also in line. In carriages rode the speakers, clergy and Mrs. M.D. Lincoln, who wrote the poem of the day.
The cemetery was reached shortly before noon, and upon a large platform erected in the eastern portion of the ground the exercises were held.
Mr. Chambers' Introduction
After a salute of minute guns in honor of the dead, fired by gun crews from the Navy Yard, assembly was sounded, and then, in the presence of a throng of about 4,000 or 5,000 people, Junior Vice Commander Chambers called the assemblage to order. In doing so Comrade Chambers spoke briefly, saying: "The beautiful blossoms gathered by the tender hands of loving and sympathetic hearts will soon fade and decay, their delicious odors will depart, but the memory of the heroic deeds of those to whom we offer this tribute of love and respect will never perish. In generations to come, wheresoever among men shall be found loyal and patriotic hearts beating to the transports of liberty and union, there, in harmonious unison, will also be found a deep and lasting reverence for the memory of those who fought and died for their country. Today throughout our broad land, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, under the auspices of the Grand Army of the Republic, these commemorative services are being performed. The duty we perform is of impressive significance.
"We meet not only to decorate the graves of our fallen comrades, but also to deepen our reverence for their worth and to enrich and ennoble our lives by recalling public and private deeds of heroism that are immortal, and to encourage by our solemn service a more zealous and stalwart patriotism. Our noble order does not assume to have been constituted the special guardian of nor to exclusively possess the great loyal sentiment of our country; the great masses of those who fought for and who fought against the Union, as well as those who did not fight at all, are loyal and law abiding. Our republican form of government is nearly the acme of human perfection, as compared with the governments of all other nations.
Mr. Strattan's Address
The Rev. Jos. D. Wilson then invoked the Divine blessing, after which the Farragut Post Octet sang the "Consolidation ode." Comrade S.B. Strattan followed, addressing the assemblage as the orator of the day. Some of Mr. Strattan's remarks created a decided sensation. No one, he said, more deeply regretted the unavoidable absence of Congressman-elect Arnold, whom he knew as a friend and as a brilliant orator. Mr. Strattan also spoke very sarcastically of the Secretary of War, who had revoked permission for the use of the Fourth Artillery Band to take part in the exercises, having, as Mr. Strattan said, suddenly made the unfortunate discovery that the horses attached to the cavalcade of artillery and cannoniers, which was to appear in the parade today to Arlington, had become so accustomed to the music of that band that they utterly refused to march at all unless accompanied by their band. "The Secretary," said Mr. Strattan, "out of consideration for the feelings of the noble wads of the nation, utterly refused to temporarily divorce the band from these horse marines for the short march from G.A.R. Hall to Washington Circle. Notwithstanding the parade had the Marine Band, the Sixth Cavalry Band and drum corps ad libitum, and, in addition, we agreed to furnish a horse fiddle instead."
"Everything considered," said Mr. Strattan, "we are of the opinion that there is not half as much impropriety in allowing this band to parade with us today as there was in the last Congress voting the use of United States cannon to fire salutes in honor of the gigantic celebration of the Confederate monument, which is to be dedicated at Chicago today. The officers of this artillery could have afforded to make a little personal sacrifice for the honor of the brave boys who sleep beneath the sod of this city of the dead.
In conclusion, Mr. Strattan said: "And after all perhaps these heroes, who so quietly sleep in this cemetery today, and whose graves you have covered with beautiful flowers in commemoration of their noble deeds and heroic sacrifices; are better off (so far at least as peace of mind is concerned) than if they were here today engaged, with their survivors, in a mighty struggle to keep the treacherous wolves, venomous slanderers, malefactors, blasphemers and calumniators, from tearing down and destroying the monuments of love and devotion which have been erected in the hearts of a loyal, grateful and patriotic people, to its heroes of the late war of the rebellion, by and through a system of unjust discrimination, false accusation and a deep and damnable design to tarnish their honor and cheapen the value of their services."
"We Deck Their Graves Alike Today" was then sung by the Farragut Octet, and then a poem, written by Mrs. M.D. Lincon, was read by Mrs. S.R. Strattan.
Upon the conclusion of the reading of the poem, which was enthusiastically received, the assemblage sange "America," the school children following with the hymn "Nearer, My God, To Thee."
The benediction was then pronounced by the Rev. E. Olin Eldridge, when the decoration of the 1,000 graves of the soldiers took place by the following committee: On decoration-Messrs. C. Parker, J.S. Smith, G.W. Cook, S.W. Bunyea, A. Kalstrom, S.A.H. McKim, M.D.; G.W. Barnes, M.V.B. Wilson, C.B. Nichols and John Jost; Mesdames C. Parker, M.H. Nichols, Burchfield, Sarah D. Beach, Clara Kalstrom, M. Parker and J. Lizzie Bradley, and Misses Belle McKie, Mary Wilson, Coral McCathran and Martha Mundell.
The officer of the day was Past Commander Wm. H. Miner of Farragut Post, the committee of arrangements being-Junior Vice Department Commander Chambers, chairman; Comrades A.F. Dinsmore, W.H. Miner, L.D. Bumpus, S.R. Strattan.
Prof. Weber's Orchestra gendered several selections during the exercises. The Farragut Octet was composed of the following: J.S. Smith, musical director; Messrs. John Green, J.R. Purvis, E.A. Lange, R.J. Lowry, H.C. McElfresh, A.J. Bussey, W.R. Benham and Harry Redfield.
The Evening Star, May 30, 1896
A Parade, Patriotic Addresses, a Poem and Flowers Strewn
Early in the morning matters assumed a holiday aspect at Congressional cemetery. The solitary line of street cars running to this city of the dead was taxed to its capacity, while other public conveyances and private vehicles formed a continuous procession eastward along E street southeast to the cemetery gates. Pedestrians were by no means lacking, and a constant stream of men, women and children wended their way there. By 10 o'clock almost every grave within the enclosure had been appropriately bedecked, some with handsome and costly floral tributes, others merely with small American flags. Parties were seated in groups about the grounds, many making a day of it, carrying luncheon with them in picnic fashion.
The services under the auspices of the Grand Army of the Republic did not commence at the cemetery until noon. They were under the direction of Dr. J.F. Raub, junior vice commander of the Department of the Potomac, and a committee, of which Dr. Raub was chairman, consisting of A. F. Dinsmore, S.W. Bunyea, J. Tyler Powell and Frank M. Allen, the latter representing the Sons of Veterans. The services were preceded by a parade, the participants assembling at the National Capital Bank Building on Pennsylvania avenue between 3d and 4th streets southeast, shortly after 10 o'clock. For a time all was bustle and activity at this point of rendezvous. Flowers were loaded into a big express wagon and dispatched to the cemetery, accompanied by the reception committee-C.B. Nichols, chairman; Marion B. Parker, Sarah D. Beach, Fannie Pratt, M.N. Nichols, C.A. Kirby, Jennie Parker, M. Fordham, R.V. Campbell, M.W. Fuller and Miss Martha Mundell-riding in a herdic coach. The officer of the day was Comrade A.F. Dinsmore, and he was fully occupied looking after the details of the parade.
Finally, the order to start was given, and the procession moved along Pennsylvania avenue at a slow pace. It was headed by the Soldiers' Home Band, with Farragut Post, No. 10, G.A.R., following. In the rear were carriages containing the orator of the day, Rev. W.E. Parson, D.D.; the poet, D.C. Haywood; the chaplain, Rev. J.D. Wilson; the Farragut Octet, J.S. Smith, director; F.E. Turpin, B.W. Beebe, L.E. Weaver, R.J. Lowry, A.C. Clough, C.E. Myers, A.J. Bussey and W.R. Benham, and the committee representing Farragut Post in arranging the services, S.W. Bunyea, F.A. Lowe, G.R. Cook, A.C. Adams, George W. Barnes, M.V.B. Wilson, C.B. Nichols, James Wood, J.S. Smith, A. Campbell, G.H. Ripley and John Jost. Small American flags were very much in evidence, attached to the harness of the horses and elsewhere. At 11th street and Pennsylvania avenue southeast about a hundred children of the Eleventh Street Independent Methodist Church Sunday school were formed in line under charge of the teachers. Each child was armed with a miniature flag and with flowers. As the procession passed, the children took position directly in the rear of the band, and in that order the march was continued eastward on E street to the cemetery.
A brief halt was made at the gates, and then, with a measured tread, to the solemn notes of a funeral march by the band, the procession proceeded along the pathway between a double line of spectators to a stand which had been erected a short distance within the gates. The band, the octet and presiding officer, orator, poet, chaplain and others took seats on the platform and a wait of half an hour ensued, during which the Sunday school children strewed flowers on the graves, and in a distant part of the grounds a detachment of sailors from the dispatch boat Cushing, now at the Navy Yard, fired a salute.
Promptly at noon a bugler sounded assembly from the stand, and when quiet was secured the band played a dirge. At its conclusion, Dr. Raub arose and said:
Dr. Raub's Introductory
"Comrades, ladies and gentlemen: We are assembled here today to commemorate the noble deeds, the heroic services, the self-sacrifices of our dead heroes; to strew flowers, fragrant flowers, over their graves and to cause the flag for which they dared and died to wave over them, and to consecrate ourselves anew to the cause for which they fought.
"Our meeting and the purpose that brings us together is an annual reminder that to make this nation what it is today, to give us the innumerable blessings this highly favored land enjoys, more than half a million of young men, the flower of our first born, willingly laid down their lives. They died that the nation might live, and their precious blood was a rich consecration of the nation they redeemed."
"We meet on this consecrated ground, amidst waving trees and beautiful flowers, amidst lofty monuments and these silent tombs, on this Memorial day, to decorate their graves with flowers, to show the loving affections we bear the memory of our fallen comrades. It is a beautiful service-one we are glad to perform. We make beautiful and fragrant the mounds under which sleep our country's defenders, and in so doing we are reminded of the sacrifices they made and the blessings we enjoy because of such sacrifices.
"We recall our associations with them; we recall how, shoulder to shoulder, we marched through heat and cold, through sunshine and storm; we recall how these comrades marched into the deadly battle by our sides, how valiantly they fought, and, alas, how they fell. We recall the roll call, when the battle was over, when their places in the ranks were vacant, their voices forever silent."
"We keep green in our memories and our affections our departed comrades; we keep their names enshrined on the tablets of our hearts; and the recollection of their deeds of valor, their bravery, their sacrifices, and their fellowship with us rises like sweet incense to hallow our hearts and homes. And in this sacred presence we renew our loyalty to our country, our readiness and our willingness to defend 'old glory' we rededicate our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honors to the nation we love and helped to save."
After the Rev. J.D. Wilson invoked divine blessing the Farragut Octet sang the ode "Consolation," and then Rev. W.E. Parson, D.D., delivered the oration of the day.
Rev. Dr. Parson's Address
Rev. Dr. Parson said: Once more we are met in our annual decoration festival. It is a season of flowers and beautiful memorials.
Sorrow and rejoicing mingle.
We do not want the memory of brave men to perish.
The valorous deeds they performed on land and sea are worthy of perpetual remembrance. Hence, we have this one day in the year, a national holiday, that all the people may join in honoring the dead heroes. They sleep on battlefields; are scattered in unknown graves; are buried in trenches; they lie at the bottom of the sea; their ashes are scattered to the four winds; they rest in quiet village graves; in beautiful city cemeteries like this or in national cemeteries, maintained forever by all the people.
And today there is an outpouring from hearts and homes of flowers, of sentiment of patriotic devotion, of universal honor, to make it appear that these dead have not died in vain.
I reckon it among the red letter days of memory -- that day when November 19, 1863, I heard Abraham Lincoln utter those immortal words at Gettysburg at the dedication of that beautiful cemetery, the first and finest of its kind in the world.
Edward Everett spoke for two hours. Mr. Lincoln spoke two minutes. At the conclusion of the exercises the famous orator said to the President, "Mr. Lincoln you have said more in two minutes than I was able to say in two hours."
The central monument at Gettysburg has the entire speech of Mr. Lincoln engraved upon its base. It is as appropriate to such an occasion that I feel it should always be read or quoted at the return of each Decoration Day. Let me recall the words to you (for the young need to learn them and the old have their memories refreshed).
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
"Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived, so dedicated, can long endure."
"We are met on a great battlefield of that war."
"We are met to dedicate a portion of it as the final resting place of those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground."
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our power to act or detract."
"The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they have thus far so nobly carried on."
"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion, that we here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain -- that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Words Not Born to Die
There is one erroneous statement in Mr. Lincoln's brief utterance of ten sentences. He says "the world will little note nor long remember" what he said that day. On the contrary, the world can never forget it. They are among the few immortal words that were not born to die.
He set the spirit forth in which we must conduct all dedication and decoration exercises. It is the consecration of ourselves to more patriotic devotion. One of the most interesting and beautiful annual festivals of the Japanese, among whom I lived for some years, is what they call the Feast of Lanterns. It is in effect a Japanese Decoration day. For the stone at each grave in a Japanese cemetery is surmounted with what looks like open-work carving; but is really a place in which to set a light.
A beautiful sight it is to see all the field illuminated, and all the stones in front of temples or in graveyards aflame with lights placed in them by loving hands in affectionate remembrance of the dead. It is like our Decoration day observance; and if we could add to our daytime exercises some such evening custom it would beautifully round out the day and make the night radiant with a new symbol of our devotion as well as of our hope.
I enter this as a suggestion to the members of the Grand Army having the matter of decoration in charge.
The Thinning Ranks
One thing is impressed upon our attention as we go on with this work from year to year. How rapidly the number of graves increases!
The Grand Army diminishes. The youngsters, who could scarcely carry the gun they shouldered, have grown to be gray-haired men. We are all veterans now.
True, there are just as many to render this service. Indeed, there are more hands and more flowers than ever before.
Though the procession of veterans is growing shorter and feebler, we find a new generation coming up, in whose hearts burns the same fire of patriotic ardor. It is a fire which cannot go out while men care for home, for wife and children; for honor and liberty. This day, now a fixed institution, will do more to keep the sacred fire renewed than any other single influence at work among our citizens.
Like the flag floating upon all our school houses, it becomes a perpetual object lesson in patriotism.
There are those who affect to cry down this matter of sentiment, who call patriotism foolish, and laugh at the old Latin quotation about its being sweet and proper to die for one's country. Fortunately, the nation's existence does not hang upon such cravens. Patriotism is not a mere sentiment. It is a devotion as real and deep as any human feeling. It is of the same kind with love of home, of family, or of any close and binding relation. When the time comes the sentiment shows itself.
Tomorrow, if the need should arise, a million of men would take up arms for liberty, to defend a principle, to fall, if need be, as the men fell in the days of the revolution or of the civil war.
You cannot kill this spirit by ridicule. It is deep and strong as a gulf stream of sentiment, setting forever in one direction, warming all the shores that it touches. It is more than sickly sentimentalism.
The Sentiment of the Day
It is a wholesome sentiment which is fostered by the simple rites of this holy day. When this sentiment can no longer be found the republic is dead. It has passed into the condition described by Goldsmith:
"Ill fares the land to hastening like a prey.
Where wealth accumulates and men decay."
The same poem in which he so pathetically describes the veteran soldier calling upon the village preacher,
"the broken soldier, kindly bade to stay.
Sat by his fire and talked the night away;
Wept o'er his wounds, or tales of sorrow done.
Shouldered his crutch and showed how fields were won.
I want to call your attention to the fact that this new day in our calendar is due to the soldier. And more than that, the uses of the day have been widened so that it is a memorial day for all the dead-a Decoration day for all graves. Some one has well said-"Show me the resting place of the dead and I will judge of the living." And Franklin once said: "I only need visit a graveyard of a community to know the character of the people."
If this be true, then is our Grand Army custom to be credited with a large influence in the elevation of sentiment respecting the dead, and by a reflex influence we have been lifting ourselves into a nobler consecration to life and duty to the living. For it is impossible that this sentiment shall all be wasted. It is for the dead and the living. It touches the life that now is and that which is to come.
Now, my friends, I want to turn for a few minutes from any further sentimental reflections on the day in order to suggest here an entirely different subject, in the hope, if possible, of making what we say in this hour serve some good, practical result. I know that ordinarily the grave is not the place to enter complaints or air grievances.
The Ford's Theater Victims.
But I want to say a word about a matter affecting some soldiers, living and dead, concerning which many souls burn with a deep and a righteous indignation.
I refer to the course of the government with respect to the men who were hurt in the Ford's Theater disaster in June, 1893. Many of them were ex-soldiers. They were put into a death trap. And that is not too strong a term, for more than a score were killed outright, while more than a hundred were scalped, cut, bruised, shocked and hurt otherwise, more or less seriously.
It was a horrible accident and ought not to be associated with any further elements of horror or infamy. And yet, as the whole matter stands today before the people, it is a chapter of double-dyed infamy.
There are men who fought for their country, receiving wounds, and yet escaping to be crippled for life in that building; then discharged because they were no longer efficient clerks; then followed with a defamatory document, and Congress is now debating whether they shall have a paltry sum each as compensation for injuries.
It makes a man's blood boil to think his government could take any other position in such a matter than the one demanding ample and generous reparation.
Let me tell you how a corporation, that we ordinarily reckon a soulless concern, proceeds in similar circumstances.
A ministerial friend of mine was hurt not long ago in an accident on the Pennsylvania railroad. He was painfully hurt, as some of these poor fellows who tumbled three stories at Ford's Theater. The railroad paid liberally all hospital expenses, without request or pressure, paid a special nurse, his wife's hotel bill in the same city, while attending upon her husband, gave the man passes over the road for the summer for himself and wife, and also paid him in full for all claims the generous sum of $3,500. That was fair and just treatment from a corporation without a soul! But this government proposes to put an old soldier in jeopardy of his life, break his arms, his ribs, put out an eye, scalp him, discharge him for inefficiency, then punish him as "discharged for misconduct," and then ask him to sign a paper in full for all claims on the receipt of a few hundred dollars (which up to this date the Congress is still doubtful about voting).
I think that here, by the grave of the dead, where some probably lie buried who were killed in that unpardonable blunder, may after all be the proper place at which to utter our indignation over such treatment.
The same Congress, which the other day voted $50,000 to a man scalped years ago by a band of Indians, votes a small amount to men who were scalped by the blunders of those in authority.
But we must not protract these exercises. There are other duties in the day. Comrades, we pay a loving service once more, which in turn some day other hands and other hearts will do for us.
The years are slipping away. It seems almost incredible that a generation has been born since the close of the civil war. The ranks are thinning and closing up. "Lights out" is the only command left, and we hear that almost daily. But there is another muster. Another roll call. Another captain. Another host which no man can number. Another banner, whose folds are ample, whose word inscribed over all is love.
May you and I be in that grand army is the prayer of one who is always with you in the ties of friendship, love and charity.
After the rendition of Schumann's "Evening Song," by the band, and the singing of a memorial hymn by C.E. Myers, assisted by the octet, Mr. D.C. Haywood read a poem.
The remainder of the program included selections by octet and the band. The benediction pronounced by Rev. Mr. Wilson, and the singing of "America" by the assembly, with band accompaniment, closed the exercises.
The Evening Star, May 28, 1896
The services at Congressional Cemetery will be under the direction of D. J.F. Raub, junior vice department commander. Committee, Dr. J.F. Raub, chairman; A. F. Dinsmore, S.W. Bunyea, J. Tyler Powell and Frank M. Allen, S. of V. Parade will form on Pennsylvania avenue southeast between 3d and 4th streets at 10;30 a.m.. and will march from thence to the cemetery. Order of parade: Soldiers' Home Band, Sunday schools, civic organizations, citizens, Farragut post, No. 10, G.A.R.; Farragut Octet, carriages orator poet chaplain. Order of exercises: Sounding the assembly, dirge, Soldiers' Home Band; calling assembly to order, Dr. J.F. Raub, junior vice department commander; invocation,, Rev. J.D. Wilson; ode, "Consolation," Farragut Octet; oration, Rev. W.E. Person D.D.; "Evening Song," Schumann, band; solo, memorial hymn (chorus by octet), C.E. Myers; poem, D.C. Haywood; "Cover them Over With Beautiful Flowers," octet; "Prayer," from Freischutz, band; benediction, Rev. J.D. Wilson; "America," singing by assembly, led by band, Farragut Octet--Comrade J.S. Smith, director; F.E. Turpin, B.W. Beebe, L.E. Weaver, R.J. Lowry, A.C. Clough, C.E. Myers, A.J. Bussey, W.R. Benham. Committee of Farragut Post--S.W. Bunyea, F.A. Lowe, G.R. Cook, A.C. Adams, Geo. W. Barnes, M.V.B. Wilson, C.B> Nichols, James Wood, J.S. Smith, A. Campbell, G.H. Ripley, John Yost. Decoration committee--C.B. Nichols , chairman; Marion B. Parker, Sarh D. Beach, Fannie Pratt, M.H. Nichols, C.A. Kibby, Jennie Parker, M. Fordham, RV. Campbell, M.V. Fuller, Miss Martha Mundell. Officer of the day, A.F. Dinsmore.
The Evening Star, May 30, 1897
A Large Attendance to Witness the Ceremonies There
With the exception of the threatened collapse of the speakers' stand and the excitement that naturally followed, the exercises at Congressional cemetery were carried out smoothly and in accordance with the prearranged program. The exercises were preceded by a street parade that formed on Pennsylvania avenue southeast between 3d and 4th streets. It was headed by the 4th Artillery Band, and consisted of Farragut Post, No. 10, G.A.R., a number of citizens and several carriages and buses, containing the speakers of the day, the members of the Farragut Octet and a committee of ladies from the Woman's Relief Corps. At 11th street and Pennsylvania avenue southeast, the procession was augmented by several hundred children, pupils of the Sunday schools of East Washington. Each little one was armed with a small American flag and carried a bunch of flowers.
The customary somber surroundings of the cemetery were entirely absent as the procession approached. Every grave within the enclosure was almost hidden from view by flowers, and the national colors had also been used in profusion. Thousands of persons flocked about the grounds, while an endless stream of humanity passed along all the streets leading to this city of the dead. On an appropriate spot near the entrance a stand had been erected. It was decorated entirely with the red, white and blue.
The Grand Stand Weakens
The procession entered the cemetery and proceeded to the stand with funeral tread, the band playing "Reverence." While the speakers were taking seats, programs were distributed among the throng of spectators that had assembled. The band occupied seats on the lawn in the rear.
There were probably a hundred persons seated on the stand when, promptly at noon, the hour set for the commencement of the exercises, a crunching sound was heard and those near the center felt that they were sinking. A rush was made toward the entrance, but cooler heads prevailed, and the fears of the alarmed ones were soon quieted, as the structure, after sinking about six inches, again became stationary. The women and children were assisted to the ground, and thereafter all moved quietly.
A bugler sounded the assembly, and after the rendition of an army hymn by the band, under the direction of Prof. A. Buglione, G.E. McCabe, junior vice department commander, who was in charge of the exercises, called the assembly to order. "We are here not to mourn, but to rejoice over the deeds of the heroic dead," said Commander McCabe. He then read the orders of the department commander covering the Memorial day exercises. The invocation was next in order.
Rev. E. Olin Eldridge
In his remarks at Congressional cemetery, Rev. E. Olin Eldridge took as his keynote the quotation from Macauley, "No people who fail to take pride in the deeds of their ancestors will ever do anything in which their prosperity can take pride." This is especially, said the speaker, true of our noble dead who stood in the front ranks of human progress, and fought and won the battles of the ages. Our national history is a page from God's own book, and is full of divine lessons. We need to keep in memory what our nation stands for. Our institutions and their preservation cost time and blood and brain. Our republic is a synonym for scholarship, patriotism, revolutions, reformations and above all, the wise providence of that God who is the master builder of nations. What great principles and events are crowded into our history? To know these and properly cherish them constitutes our strength, and guarantees our perpetuity. To be unacquainted with them is to see our greatness go down before a widespread national ignorance. These are the pillars of our republic, and we must know them and live in their influence in order to guard them. Hence I hail with delight not only the return of this annual Memorial day, when we strew sweet flowers on the graves of our noble dead, who died for the preservation of union; but for every other organization that stands for the perpetuation of American institutions. What we need today is a revival of intense Americanism, for this is the finest flower that in all the ages has bloomed on the stalk of human progress. It stands for the highest civilization, the broadest humanity, the purest religion and the largest liberty. Its products have been a magnificent manhood, and a holy womanhood. We talk of the times are always big to earnest men; if we are earnest our times will be big to us. We have problems to solve that can only be settled by men of like determination to those who, enlisting in the Union army, endured the horrors of war, and gave their life blood rather than allow the right to be trampled under foot or the nation to be rent and dishonored.
The Grand Army
Dr. Eldridge drew a broad picture of the horrors of war and the misery it entailed on men and women.
"Never was there," he said, "a nobler body of men gathered under a flag than that that fought the battles of the Union. Like the army of the revolution, they were mustered directly from the work shop, the farm, the store, the court room, the college and the pulpit. They were rallied by a magnificent outburst of the moral sense, which was but an echo of the mind of God. They rushed to the front that they might stand up for God and freedom and for the integrity and wholeness of this nation. They were not conscripts, but volunteers. The fact that they sleep today in their silent graves is proof of their bravery . Brave amid the rattle of musketry and the cannon's awful roar. Brave at midnight hour on the lonely picket duty. Brave under the surgeon's knife. Brave in their dying message to home. They were brave everywhere. We can never pay them for their sacrifices. But we will put the garland of unfading glory on their brow, while the world stands up to do them honor."
Greece and Cuba
The speaker touched on foreign affairs in a vigorous manner. He said:
"Soldiers of the Grand Army remaining, may you ever be worthy of the brave comrades who have gone before you, and continue to fight the battles of freedom. We have a relation not only to our own country, but to broad humanity. The oppressed in all lands are looking toward America for light, for principles and a helping hand. We have a mission to lead humanity, because civilly we are ahead of humanity. Silence is not our duty. We have a voice in the world, and that voice should be heard until every chain is broken and every land is free. Oh, for a Patrick Henry to fire the heart of the nation until bleeding Armenia and devastated Crete shall be delivered from the butchering band and merciless heel of the Godforsaken Turk. Until patriotic Cuba, rising like a jewel out of the ocean resplendent with the light of liberty, shall shake hands with America as also the land of the free and the home of the brave. The shots fired for freedom during our civil strife were long-range shots, and their echo has been heard round the world."
After the singing of "Ode to America" by the Farragut Octet, consisting of James S. Smith, director; John Green, John Purvis, F.S. Hayes, Harry McElfresh, R.J. Lowry, A.J. Bussey and Harry Redfield, Senator Frank J. Cannon of Utah was introduced as one of the orators of the day.
Senator Cannon's Address
"All over the land millions are gathered today to do honor to the dead who are members of the republic where all are equal," said Senator Cannon. "The homage paid to the dead is in obedience to an instinct that has animated all men in all ages. It is not because of what the ashes of the dead are, but what they have been and what they will be when God calls them forth on His great day."
Senator Cannon spoke at some length on the covenant with the dead. "By ever act and thought we shall prove the acts of the departed are not dead." He continued. "I never looked at one who fought for the liberty I enjoy that I did not feel like worshiping him. Memorial day is the one time on which Americans renew their covenant with the dead-a time when we are brought into the presence of the tomb.
"Three great battles have been fought by men," Senator Cannon went on to say. "It required years and rivers of blood to secure freedom of thought. The same was true of freedom of speech. The fight against the thrones on earth was equally costly. Having won these battles, shall we rest upon the memory of the past? Is here no more that humanity needs? Yes, there remains a recompense for all who toil. It is easy to die for your country, but it is hard to live for your country. Men who faced shot and shell did not face such a menace as we are facing today. I refer to the growth of class distinctions. Liberty is free to all, equally, and there will come a day when republics and all institutions that would live must recognize the rights due all men. The division of class must be corrected before the destruction of the republic. The rich have no time to think of the troubles of the poor, and the poor, through jealousy, are inimical to the rich.
There must be a fraternity of the people of the land." Senator Cannon continued, "The heroes of 1861-65 fought for a perpetual fraternity. We owe it to them to see that such a fraternity is maintained. The masses are today misunderstanding the classes, though it is claimed that the classes are not appreciating the masses. To keep our covenant with the dead, we must march against want, and we must conquer."
After "Departed Days" by the band and "Cover Them Over With Beautiful Flowers" by the Octet, Capt. W.O. Krestsinger of the Department of Texas read Lincoln's Gettysburg address.
The Address of J.A. Frear
Mr. J.A. Frear of Hudson, Wis., delivered a thoughtful and scholarly address at the Congressional cemetery.
"Memorial day," he said, "was fitly named. It was memorable of a nation of heroes, memorable of the crisis that threatened the wonderful land of liberty, memorable of a nation of heroes, memorable of the acts of those whose names to the present generation glitter in the nation's diadem, gems of the purest ray serene. Sketching in telling strokes the causes that led up to the rebellion, in graphic sentences he described the call to arms.
"It was the appeal from the national head. From that grand man who determined that this government should be of the people, by the people and for the people, indivisible, inseparable. The call reached the clerk at his desk, the farmer at his plow, the business man at his counting house, the blacksmith at his anvil. Seventy-five thousand volunteers was the command.
"They came from the mountains and plains, from the cities and little hamlets, their blood hot with the burning fever of adventure; without a realizing sense of the character of their work they answered the call and enlisted. Enlisted for what? To stay the hand of treasonous rebellion, to kill their brothers in order to save the nation.
"Like the snow on the hillside they melted away before the demands of the situation. Ten men were needed where one had been called. Again did Lincoln sound the tocsin. Three hundred thousand more. The Union must be saved. The mother who had with difficulty repressed the longings of her clear-eyed stalwart boy now kissed him a loving goodbye and fervently prayed that he might be spared and return to her. The wife with family cares pressing upon her, accustomed to lean upon the strong right arm of one to whom she could cleave in sickness or health, now learned to say with saddened heart, 'Not my will, but thine be done.' Oh, war, cruel war, thy slain were not numbered alone upon southern battlefields. The missile of death, remorselessly struck down the defenseless parent, the helpless child, the aged father. Who can number them? Who measure the loss?
The World Amazed
"The civilized world gazed on in amazement when these two powerful factions of a might republic wrestled in the throes of mortal combat. Who shall say that the one was braver than the other? Force was met with force, courage met by courage. The northern soldier encountered a foeman who like himself had been nursed at freedom's altar. These men soon learned to appreciate the fact that the terms of 'Yankee' and 'rebel' went for naught. That they were simply infinitesimal portions of two enormous human machines. When the machine was in operation they could slaughter each other, could legally kill their own countrymen. When the machine was idle they could fraternize across the picket line. Then was the canteen exchanged, mutual confidences made, and the better nature of man asserted itself."
Mr. Frear drew touching pictures of the sacrifices of the war and paid a magnificent tribute to the Grand Army of the Republic.
The Soldiers and Their Sons
"Grand in war!" he exclaimed. "Grand in peace. May the imperishable name it has won be the inspiration for patriotic self-sacrifice to the people of these United States! And of the sons of these men it can be truly asked-what nobility upon God's footstool possesses greater heritage? As governments rise and fall, the insignia of royalty becomes fleeting. The riches of a Croesus are lost in a day,. Humble as may be the son of a veteran, the title becomes an honorable distinction, lifelong in its duration, invaluable to its possessor. Though the nation may never require from their sons such sacrifices as were borne by the northern soldier, there has been formed from among the rising generation a second Grand Army. Grand in the depths of its love of country, grand in the veneration and devotion which it will ever accord to the veteran soldier.
The Lesson of the Day
In conclusion Mr. Frear spoke as follows:
"To the new generation the story of the war is as a romance, but the lesson taught, of unflinching sacrifices, of heroic patriotism, will be an open page where all may learn the lesson. That page is enriched on its borders with the heartfelt prayers of millions of slaves; the tears of widows and orphans; the blessings of a grateful people. It records the death of a martyred President, as kind and gentle as a child, as strong and firm as justice itself. It records the death of Grant, the indomitable; of Sherman, the strategist, and Sheridan, the idol of his men. Each occupying a niche in the hearts of the people.
"And we return to that page today as the pilgrim returns to his Mecca. May the lessons traced by the recording angel become graven upon our characters. May we today again drink deep from that overflowing well of patriotism. And when the last of these boys in blue shall have been gathered to his Maker, may there be strong hearts and sturdy frames ready, if need be, to emulate their glorious record. Then shall the baptism have become invaluable to the nation. Then shall we have a better, a nobler American citizenship."
Mr. Sprague's Poem
The band next rendered "The Wayside Chapel," and then Mr. DeWitt C. Sprague read an original poem, "Memoribilla," the introductory verses being as follows:
Immortal Lincoln! Freedom's favorite son!
This hallowed day again we celebrate,
And would to thee our tribute dedicate,
Although the task of love be feebly done.
This day recalls to us the stormful past,
That era pregnant with the nation's fate,
When the distracted and imperiled state
On him her trembling hope confiding cast.
How nobly he that might burden bore,
Unmoved by wrong or clamorous discontent,
Inflexible in his great purpose on he went,
To win a matchless fame forevermore!
No hateful malice could his soul enthrall,
To do his duty was his ardent aim;
He would his country's erring sons reclaim,
Yet had a boundless charity for all.
He drew the sword for duty's stern command,
Not for unholy conquests self-renown,
Not for the Tyrant's stained, inglorious crown,
But the weal and glory of his land.
His course was righteous and his honored name
Will live in all the world throughout all time,
Preserved among the great and good with deeds sublime
In Freedom's storied temple, there by Fame.
After another selection by the band and the benediction, pronounced by Rev. Dr. Eldridge, the exercises were brought to a close by the singing of "America" by the Farragut Octet, with band accompaniment and the spectators participating.
Those who served on the committee with Commander McCabe were A.F. Dinsmore, who also acted as officer of the day; Geo. R. Cook and W.H. Henning.
The committee of Farragut Post that assisted in arranging the exercises consisted of B.W. Bunyea, F.A. Lowe, Jas. Smith, Dr. A.C. Adams, Don McCathran, P.C. George, E.N. Groff, E.H. Ripley, James Wood, G.W. Mockabie, Geo. A. Henerson.
The ladies committee of the Woman's Relief Corps comprised Grace M. Lowry, chairman, Emma J. Fordham, Jennie Bevars, Charlotte Kibbey, Mary Williamson, Mary F. Ripley, Genevia Dalton, Annie M. Dykes, Jennie Parker, M.B. Parker, Mary Morgan, Emma Kibbey, Mrs. Campbell, Miranda W. Fuller, Fannie Pratt, Sarah E. Beach, Indiana Shaneham, J. Lizzie Bradley, Mrs. Walling.
The Evening Star, May 30, 1898
Graves Decorated by Little Ones With Flowers
Picturesque Congressional cemetery never looked more beautiful than it did today when its thousands of graves were bedecked with loving floral tributes placed there by little children, whose labor brought back to their memories stories of the long civil war, in which grandpa had taken an honorable part.
Early this morning the children and their parents could be seen making their way toward the cemetery, which skirts the Anacostia. They carried great baskets of flowers gathered as they grew wild in fields about the city or from little home gardens where they had been given tender care in order that they might be dedicated to the memory of the patriotic dead on the nation's day of mourning. All these floral tributes were placed to form a massive mound near the center of the grounds and as the noon hour approached they were distributed among a hundred eager little ones, who remembered every grave within the enclosure.
The services of the day were to begin at noon. A large stand had been erected on an elevated site, where it commanded a view of the hills on the opposite side of the river, and where a cooling shade was secured from the fine old maples that had stood as sentinels there long before the civil war filled thousands of graves now beneath them. On this site gathered a tremendous throng, and the occasion received an added solemnity because many in the gathering had husbands, sons, brothers or fathers lately called into the service of their country, now only awaiting the word of command to risk their lives as the heroes of the civil war had done.
Those who were to conduct the services had formed in line of march on Pennsylvania avenue between 3d and 4th streets southeast and reached the cemetery shortly before 12 o'clock. They were headed by the Mount Pleasant Field Band, J.C. Churchill, director, this organization being closely followed by a body of Sunday school children from churches on Capitol Hill. Then came a hundred veterans, many gray and bent by the weight of years and others walking with difficulty as a result of wounds they received a generation ago. These veterans were members of Farragut Post, No. 10, G.A.R.
The services were under the direction of J.B. Carter, junior vice departmetn commander, who was chairman of the committee of arrangements, the other members of that committee being A.F. Dinsmore, E.H. Ripley and S.W. Bunyea. The ceremonies were opened by the bugler sounding assembly, after which the band played "Nearer, My God, to Thee." Commander Carter called to assembly to order and Rev. William H. Black delivered the invocation.
Farragut Octet, composed of James S. Smith, director, Wm. S. Barnholdt, A.J. Bussey, John Purvis, F.S. Hayes, H.E. Smith, Harray McElfresh, Harry Redfield and R.J. Lowry, rendered with splendid effect "Consolation," a selection fitting the occasion.
Gen. Van H. Bukey was the orator of the day and delivered a brief address. He paid a touching tribute to the nation's dead and recalled their deeds of valor in fitting words.
After musical selections, Lincoln's Gettysburg address was read by Col. James H. Stevenson with splendid effect, and Dr. A.C. Adams read a memorial poem.
We assemble again on this hallowed spot,
With emotions that spring direct from the heart,
To keep green in memory the heroes of war
Who here lie entombed from near and far.
That generation after generation, as time rolls on,
Will cherish the brave deeds of father and son,
Who sprang to arms in their country's defense,
With victory and the grave their sole recompense.
On this beautiful 30th of May,
Honored by the nation as Memorial day,
All nature resplends us with beauty and grace,
We bring decorations to this consecrated place.
Widows and orphans with friends assemble
In multitudes from homes, not to dissemble,
With garlands of love and affection strew.
That loyalty and patriotism be taught anew.
On this slope of this eastern shore
Lies Congressional as of yore,
Where our forefathers fought and bled,
Where the enemy was routed and fled.
Where the nation's honored rest,
From their country's service, best;
Where, in yonder corner, too,
Marks the graves of patriots not few,
Whose love of country was steadfast,
Whose life went out, in a blast,
Are here mingled with boys in blue,
As if to give to Congressional anew
An additional page to its history,
That its story with its mystery
Will be continuous in time
Until the end of mankind.
"Cover them over with beautiful flowers,
Deck them with garlands, those brothers of ours
Lying so silent, by night and day.
Sleeping the years of manhood away;
Years they had marked for the joys of the brave;
Years they must waste in the sloth of the grave.
All the bright laurels that promised to bloom
Fell to the earth when they went to the tomb.
Give them the meed they have won in the past;
Give them the honors their merits forecast;
Give them thy blessing they won in the strife;
Give them the laurels they lost with their life.
Cover them over-yes, cover them over-
Parent and husband and brother and lover;
Crown in your heart, these dead heroes of ours,
And cover them over with beautiful flowers."
And thus does America honor her dead.
Not as Greece and Rome of old, it is said.
With funeral pile and jubilant shout;
That the spirit be rafted to regions without.
To fates and gods success was ascribed,
While herds and flocks their grim work applied.
Their deeds were recorded in metal and stone.
To fire the ambition of the youth alone.
Throughout this broad land from shore to shore
March mighty throngs and more.
Paying tribute in sentiment peculiarly their own;
With tokens of beauty from America's soil sown,
With reverence, profound and measureless;
With love and affection without excess,
That the valiant sons of sixty-one and five
Shall keep the pages of history alive,
With achievements unequaled in the past.
That freedom and equality be planted fast,
That all nations bow to their supremacy
And inherit them as their final legacy.
Ambition and conquest were not their goal;
One country and one flag inspired their soul.
To preserve them intact they strained every nerve
And crowned themselves with glory, the advance and reserve.
Three and thirty years have come and gone;
Memory still fresh, the feeble in muscle and bone.
The veteran makes his annual pilgrimage.
Cementing the ties of comradeship with age.
For never a bond was made as fast
As that in the ranks, from first to last.
When eternity was but a step in advance,
His valor ne'er wavered, e'en tho' his last chance.
Then upon the nation's honored veil
More than two million names all told,
Shall receive the homage that is due
To the living as well to the dead, too.
For services rendered, good and faithful;
An obligation both binding and grateful,
A contract but just and equitable.
The adjustment of which is most honorable.
Now shall the nineteenth century close.
With nation to nation in harmony repose?
Or shall the survival of the fittest prevail
And eliminate the weaker in every detail?
Then what of our vaunted civilization,
Which should be the guardian angel to every nation;
Foster peace and good will among mankind;
Give an impetus to pursuits of every kind,
That the struggle for existence be made
More feasible to men of every trade;
That fellow man near home and abroad,
Cringing and chafing under the tyrant's sword,
May breathe the air of freedom, a divine right,
And see the clouds of oppression dispelled by night.
O God! From Thee we invoke Thy aid
That Armenia, Crete and Cuba be paid
The ransom that justly belongs to them-
The privilege to live as free men.
And may the oppressor's hand be staid,
That devastation and carnage may not be made
Upon a people so helpless and in need
Of assistance, 'gainst which the powers decreed.
"when the long years have crept slowly away,
E'en to the dawn of earth's funeral day.
When at the archangel's trumpet and tread
Rise up the faces and forms of the dead;
When the great world its last judgment awaits;
When the blue sky shall swing open its gates,
And our long columns march silently through,
Past the Great Captain for final review
Then for the blood that has flown for the right
Crowns shall be given, untarnished and bright;
Then the glad ear of each was martyred son
Proudly shall hear the good judgment "Well done."
Blessings for garlands shall cover them over-
Parent and husband and brother and lover;
God will reward those dead heroes of ours
And cover them over with beautiful flowers."
The services were concluded by Rev. Mr. Black, who pronounced the benediction.
Committees in charge of the ceremonies were:
Committee of Farragut Post-F.A. Lowe, Jas. Smith, Dr. A.C. Adams, Stanton Weaver, B.F. Graham, P.C. George, C. Parker, R.J. Nicholson, James Wood, M.V.B. Wilson, G.W. Mockabie, Geo. A. Henderson, G.R. Cook, H.H. Bunyea.
Ladies committee, W.R.C.-Mrs. C.A. Kibby, chairman; D.M. Price, Mrs. McDonald, Grace M. Lowery, Miss Wilkinson, E.A. Chambers, Julia Roberts, C.B. Nichols, Jennie Bevars, Mary P. Ripley, Genevia Dalton, Annie M. Dykes, Jennie Parker, Emma Kibbey, Mrs. Campbell, Miranda W. Fuller, J. Lizzie Bradley, Mrs. Walling.
The Evening Star, May 30, 1899
Profusion of Flowers Placed Upon Graves of Sleeping Heroes
The services of Congressional Cemetery were held at an earlier hour than is customary, in order that the veterans and others taking part in them might avoid the heat of the day. Last year the exercises began at noon, while today they were started at 10:30.
Never before were flowers more plentifully strewn on the graves of the heroes of America's wars than was done today at the cemetery which skirts the Anacostia. Street car lines and omnibuses could not transport the throngs that sought the city of the dead in remembrance of the beloved ones whose last resting place had been made there. Every street and avenue leading to the place was the scene of a steady stream of people making their way there, and early in the day the green lawns of the Congressional were covered with people carrying baskets of great bouquets of flowers. Most of these offerings were of the simple flowers of the field, which had been gathered early in the morning or last evening. Florists' stands were located at the cemetery gate, where those who wished to add to their treasures purchased supplies.
Those in Charge
The services were under the direction of A.B. Grunwell, junior vice department commander, other members of the committee on arrangements being A.F. Dinsmore, Stanton Weaver and Convis Parker. They had made all arrangements so carefully that when the parade arrived at the cemetery the program of the day was carried out without a hitch.
The parade formed on Pennsylvania avenue northeast between 3d and 4th streets at 9:30 a.m. and promptly began the march to the cemetery. The Mount Pleasant Military Band headed the column and played appropriate selections en route. A large number of Sunday school children from nearly all the churches on Capitol Hill were in the parade, carrying flowers.
The veterans were there, too, though their number had lessened since their last gathering for a similar service. They were the members of Farragut Post, No. 10, G.A.R., and were accompanied by the Farragut Octet. Carriages conveying those who were to take prominent parts in the service were at the end of the column.
Before the parade arrived at the cemetery wild flowers had been scattered everywhere over the graves, and 1,500 small American flags had been erected, one above each of the little mounds that marked the places in which the remains of as many veterans rested. The few graves of those who died in the late war with Spain were cared for for the first time on a Decoration day.
The stand from which the services were to be conducted was erected on the elevated site which it has occupied for several years, and from which a splendid view of the river was secured. It was simply decorated with flags.
Assembly was sounded by the bugler, and the Mount Pleasant Military Band played, "Nearer My God, to Thee." Comrade Grunwell called the assembly to order, and the invocation was pronounced by Rev. Geo. H. Maydwell, pastor of Waugh Chapel.
After the playing of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" by the band Post Commander Stanton Weaver addressed those assembled about the stand, referring to the patriotic purpose which had brought them together, and Mr. Thomas H. McKee, orator of the day, delivered an address that embodied a splendid tribute to the brave men who had in different periods left home and friends to maintain the honor and standing of their country among the nations of the globe. Among other things he said:
"The history of our country is the history of man-history of the human family. It is as old as the race belongs to all climes. It belongs to us. It belongs to this day.
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