Remembering Those Who Served Former I.O.O.F.

A Brief Introduction to Memorial Day

The following was originally published

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day.

Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear – Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).

It is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363). This helped ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays, though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19th in Texas; April 26th in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10th in South Carolina; and June 3rd (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

National Moment of Remembrance

The “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”

If able please take a few moments to sponsor a wreath for Wreaths Across America Day 2019

The Unknown Loyal Dead

Originally published as the Other Decoration Day Speech

A Speech By Frederick Douglass

Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, on Decoration Day, May 30, 1871

Friends and Fellow Citizens:

Tarry here for a moment. My words shall be few and simple. The solemn rites of this hour and place call for no lengthened speech. There is, in the very air of this resting-ground of the unknown dead a silent, subtle and all-pervading eloquence, far more touching, impressive, and thrilling than living lips have ever uttered. Into the measureless depths of every loyal soul it is now whispering lessons of all that is precious, priceless, holiest, and most enduring in human existence.

Dark and sad

Dark and sad will be the hour to this nation when it forgets to pay grateful homage to its greatest benefactors. The offering we bring to-day is due alike to the patriot soldiers dead and their noble comrades who still live; for, whether living or dead, whether in time or eternity, the loyal soldiers who imperiled all for country and freedom are one and inseparable.

Those unknown heroes whose whitened bones have been piously gathered here, and whose green graves we now strew with sweet and beautiful flowers, choice emblems alike of pure hearts and brave spirits, reached, in their glorious career that last highest point of nobleness beyond which human power cannot go. They died for their country.

No loftier tribute can be paid to the most illustrious of all the benefactors of mankind than we pay to these unrecognized soldiers when we write above their graves this shining epitaph.

The Dark and Vengeful Spirit…

When the dark and vengeful spirit of slavery, always ambitious, preferring to rule in hell than to serve in heaven, fired the Southern heart and stirred all the malign elements of discord, when our great Republic, the hope of freedom and self-government throughout the world, had reached the point of supreme peril, when the Union of these states was torn and rent asunder at the center, and the armies of a gigantic rebellion came forth with broad blades and bloody hands to destroy the very foundations of American society, the unknown braves who flung themselves into the yawning chasm, where cannon roared and bullets whistled, fought and fell. They died for their country.

I am no minister of malice.

We are sometimes asked, in the name of patriotism, to forget the merits of this fearful struggle, and to remember with equal admiration those who struck at the nation’s life and those who struck to save it, those who fought for slavery and those who fought for liberty and justice.

I am no minister of malice. I would not strike the fallen. I would not repel the repentant; but may my “right hand forget her cunning and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,” if I forget the difference between the parties to hat terrible, protracted, and bloody conflict.

If we ought to forget a war which has filled our land with widows and orphans; which has made stumps of men of the very flower of our youth; which has sent them on the journey of life armless, legless, maimed and mutilated; which has piled up a debt heavier than a mountain of gold, swept uncounted thousands of men into bloody graves and planted agony at a million hearthstones — I say, if this war is to be forgotten, I ask, in the name of all things sacred, what shall men remember?

Essence and significance

The essence and significance of our devotions here to-day are not to be found in the fact that the men whose remains fill these graves were brave in battle. If we met simply to show our sense of bravery, we should find enough on both sides to kindle admiration. In the raging storm of fire and blood, in the fierce torrent of shot and shell, of sword and bayonet, whether on foot or on horse, unflinching courage marked the rebel not less than the loyal soldier.

But we are not here to applaud manly courage, save as it has been displayed in a noble cause. We must never forget that victory to the rebellion meant death to the republic. We must never forget that the loyal soldiers who rest beneath this sod flung themselves between the nation and the nation’s destroyers.

The Noble Army

If today we have a country not boiling in an agony of blood, like France, if now we have a united country, no longer cursed by the hell-black system of human bondage, if the American name is no longer a by-word and a hissing to a mocking earth, if the star-spangled banner floats only over free American citizens in every quarter of the land, and our country has before it a long and glorious career of justice, liberty, and civilization, we are indebted to the unselfish devotion of the noble army who rest in these honored graves all around us.

Veterans Interred at the Former I. O. O. F. Cemetery
Battles that the 12th WV fought in

Roy Alexander
Osborn C Alexander
Cpt. Charles Allen
Robert Appleby


Cecil Harry Bacchus
Joseph Bailey
Joshua Baker
John Baltzley
Dr. Thornberry Bailey Bartlett
John Bassell
Ed Bassell
Granville M Bastable
Cooper Batten
Roley Bennett
Enock Blackwell
Foley Blackwell
W M Boggess
Sgt. Burton Z Boughner
Lt. Oliver P Boughner
Daniel G Boughner
Samuel Boyles
Ralph Brown

Spanish American War

James N Cain
Pvt Gideon Draper Camden Jr.
John Allen Camden
Judge Gideon Draper Camden Jr
Earle V Carskadon
Danton Caussin
Eugene Dixon Caussin
Carl C Caywood
Jack Edwin Chipps
Glen W Clevenger
John Coleman
John Collins
Harrison Cork
Thomas Jefferson Cottrill
James L Crim
Charles Custer


Joshua Daken
Pvt. James N David
James Bond Davis
Corp Cecil W Davis
William H Dawson

Logo of Daughters of the Confederacy

Philip C Ernst


Cpt Bruce Carr Fitzhugh
Albert Garett Fordyce
Col Richard D Fowkes
John H Fye


Maj Robert Skiles Gardner
Herbert F Garner
William B Gaston
Cpt John George Jackson Gittings
Henry Goff
Nathan Goff
Capt Charles J Goff
Samuel Williamson Gordon
Wilbur Gordon
Ray H Griffin


Frederick Tyler Harrison
John Davis Hart
Pvt Robert B Hart
Clyde M Hartsock
Col Henry Haymond
Lee Haymond
Col Luther Haymond
Col DaviD T Hewes
Herman Hill
Col John Stringer Hoffman
Fleming H Holden
William L Hursey


Curtis G Ice


Duane Kellar
Capt John W Kidwell


Col J Lang
James Lanham
Manley Lanham
Thomas Dale Lantz
Josiah Lepley
Lt William Wilson Lewis
Mordecai Lewis
Ion L Liggett

World War Commemorative Stamp

Henry F Mayers
Jack M McVaney
Ray Milstead
Maj Richard W Moore
Alexander Moore
Thomas Moore
Charles Elmer Morgan
Dr. David Porter Morgan
Pvt. David Odgen Morgan
Capt Hiraim L Munday
Cecil Murphy


Gen Robert S Northcott
Oscar Lee Nutter


Robert Linn Osborn
Sgt. Alexander Hamilton Osborn

World War II Image

James L Parker
Uriah W Parrill
John C Peck
Rev. Dr. Lewis E Peters
Capt Charles Phillips
Lyle H Powell Sr
George W Pritchard


Dr. Robert Hudson Ramsey
Dr. John Walter Ramsey
Haymond Rapp
Reson Reed
James Renshaw
Moses Scott Riley


William Selkirk
John H Shuttlesworth
Capt Notley A Shuttlesworth
George Bland Siers
George L Siers
John Smallwood
Carl C Smallwood
Bernard L Smith
Frank B Smith
Samuel Sommers
Granville Staley
Reuben P Stamm
John Paul Stamm
Justin Stansberry
Harvey Steele
Samuel R Steele
Jacob W Stitzer
Isaac T Stuart
Dever P Stuart
Hezikiah Stuck
William Sullivan
Daniel E Sumner
Joseph William Supler
Jacob M Swartz
Markwood S Swartz

Image of Korean War

Oscar Tate
John C Taylor
Earl D Thompson
Cpt Uriel M Turner


Lee H Vance
Cecil C VanScoy


Rev. Thomas S Wade
Frederick Wagner
Capt R M Wallace
Col Thomas Townsend Wallis
David C Watkins
Ralph Weekley
James Weekley
Lawrence B Wetzel
Lt Benjamin F Wicks
W H Williams
Bailey I Williams
Col. Benjamin Wilson

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