Selectedby: Mark Trout, web master for the Ocala Coin Club
The national holiday of May is the last Monday of the month. It's beginnings come from our dark chapter of the Civil War. There were so many graves after the battles. From Bull Run, Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, and Gettysburg, just to name a few. The most memorable Presidential address ever given was delivered by Abraham Lincoln at the dedication of the national cemetery at Gettysburg. One of our most famous cemeteries is Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
When the Civil War commenced in 1861, following the Battle of Bull Run (or Manassas Creek), the Union Soldiers seized several properties in Northern Virginia, across the Potomac from Washington, D. C. One of those seized was the estate of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. His home was occupied and his estate was used by a variety of Union forces. The Lee family evacuated and did not return to the homestead during the war. In 1862, a brigade of Union troops buried seven Union soldiers in the rose garden of Mrs. Mary Lee, the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington. They intended to intern the soldiers there to remind the Lee family of the gruesomeness of war. Following the battle of the Wilderness, the 654 acres in proximity of Washington and high, dry ground not likely to flood, was appropriated for a cemetery of those who died in the battle.
Following the war, most all occupied and appropriated properties of the Southerners were returned to the families. But the bitterness of the war kept the government from returning the Lee estate to the former Commander-in-chief of the Confederate Armies. Rather than returning to his former home, General Lee proceeded to occupy the house of the University President at Washington & Lee University.
But Custis, Lee's son, did not find this acceptable. He sued the United States government for the return of the Lee homestead and property in Virginia. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court. Finally, after a 5-4 decision, in 1882, the court returned the property to the Lee family.
Decoration Day - Memorial Day --- May 26, 2018
Our hobby thrives on our participation!
The programs and activities of numismatics are only as successful as we make it. Our hobby has many diverse interests and possibilities for exploration, so we may choose the activities in which we engage. To be an entertaining endeavor, we must participate. No one has to do everything, but we can all do something to share our interests, collections, and numismatic pursuits. So look over the shows, clubs, and events and invest your time where you can share your hobby with others!
Soldiers have been re-interned there from all wars. The Cemetery has been desegregated since the days of Harry Truman. Military from all branches of service have been buried there. The first soldier to be buried in Arlington was Private William Henry Christman of Pennsylvania on May 13, 1864. There are 396 Medal of Honor recipients buried in Arlington National Cemetery, nine of whom are Canadian.
Five state funerals have been held at Arlington: those of Presidents William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy (one of the most frequently visited sites), his two brothers, Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy, and General of the Armies John J. Pershing. Whether or not they were wartime service members, U.S. presidents are eligible to be buried at Arlington, since they oversaw the armed forces as commanders-in-chief.
Two of the astronauts who were killed in January 27, 1967 flash fire inside the Apollo 1 Command Module, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee, are buried at the cemetery. John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth and a longtime U.S. Senator from Ohio, was buried at the cemetery in April 2017.
British Diplomat and Field Marshal Sir John Dill was buried at the cemetery when he died in Washington D.C. during World War II. The equestrian statue on Dill's grave is one of only two such statues at the cemetery; the other is Major General Philip Kearny's.
The first Memorial celebration was conducted by President Herbert Hoover, May 30, 1929. Since that time annual remembrances are held.
Decoration Day is not limited to the military. People remember family members who have also passed away. Graves are decorated with many flowers. Their stories are told; tears are shed. And the quiet hush descends in the hearts in the midst of the picnics, parades, and participation in the other events of the living. Remember to reflect on the significance of Memorial Day. And thank a veteran in honor of his or her comrades who have been laid to rest.
Following the return of the estate to the family, three months later, Custis sold the estate back to the U. S. government for $150,000. The Lee Estate carried the name "Arlington" and thus the name continued as Arlington National Cemetery. The signer of the documents on behalf of the U. S. Government was then Secretary of War, Robert Todd Lincoln.
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