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5/22/2009

Remembrance

Posted by Gwen |

Curious about the genesis of our Memorial Day holiday I consulted my #1 research tool, wikipedia, and was particularly moved to learn this:

Following the end of the Civil War, many communities set aside a day to mark the end of the war or as a memorial to those who had died. Some of the places creating an early memorial day include Sharpsburg, Maryland, located near Antietam Battlefield; Charleston, South Carolina; Boalsburg, Pennsylvania; Petersburg, Virginia; Carbondale, Illinois; Columbus, Mississippi; many communities in Vermont; and some two dozen other cities and towns. These observances coalesced around Decoration Day, honoring the Union dead, and the several Confederate Memorial Days.

According to Professor David Blight of the Yale University History Department, the first memorial day was observed in 1865 by liberated slaves at the historic Washington Race Course (today the location of Hampton Park) in Charleston. The site was a former Confederate prison camp as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who died in captivity.

The freed slaves disinterred the dead Union soldiers from the mass grave to be inhumed properly reposed with individual graves, built a fence around the graveyard with an entry arch, declaring it a Union graveyard. A daring action for freed slaves to take such in the South just shortly after the Union's victory. On May 30, 1868, the freed slaves returned to the graveyard with flowers they had picked from the countryside and decorated the individual gravesites, thereby creating the first Decoration Day. Thousands of freed blacks and Union soldiers paraded from the area, followed by much patriotic singing and a picnic.
After reading this I decided that I will be visiting Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery over the weekend and challenge y'all to do something similar in your own cities.  Considering what these soldiers sacrificed, I think I can take an hour out of my three-day weekend to visit their final resting place and quietly reflect on freedom and sacrifice.  And I'm taking flowers cut from my garden.

On a lighter note, I will also be quietly reflecting on how awesome grilling in the backyard is with my friend Lori’s Rockin’ Flank Steak:

1.5 c. olive oil
¾ c. soy sauce
¼ c. Worcestershire
2 T. dry mustard
2 t. salt
2 t. black pepper
½ c. wine vinegar
2 t. parsley
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ c. lemon juice
2 1.5 pound unscored flank steaks or London broil

Mix above and marinade steaks overnight. Grill on direct medium heat about 5 minutes on each side. Let rest about 5 minutes and then slice thin.

I like to serve this on garlic toast but it’s also nice in a salad with bleu cheese (“black and bleu”) or Caesar dressing.

Have a great weekend, monkeys!

12 comments:

Mr. Condescending said...

yummmmmmmm

SkylersDad said...

Thanks for posting something for us all to think about besides BBQ and a day off this weekend.

words...words...words... said...

I pass a military cemetary every night on the way home from work, and I've definitely thought about it more this week.

That steak sounds delicious. I wish I had a balcony so I could grill.

Jennifer and Sandi said...

Have a HAPPY HOLIDAY!!!! Flank steak YUM!!

- Jennifer

Dr Zibbs said...

You're pretty smart there Gwen

Smart enoough to copy and paste but...

Chaka said...

Nice mix of remembrance of the past and anticipation of future meals. Have a nice Memorial Day.

Fancy Schmancy said...

Sweetness, I'm out of Confederate soldiers in my neck of the woods. Would you agree to come over and grill that steak for me, instead?

Perhaps I should just call it the "We Fucking Yanks won" steak?

Cuz it, much like that fucking war, looks delicious....

Soda and Candy said...

Don't mention the war down here, it still makes them frowny.

Imnotbenny said...

That's a really cool post, Gwen- I enjoyed reading that.

all I have in the fridge is a couple of T-bones, so I'm going to copy this down and save it for later, unless you want to make it yourself and have a huge blogger get together at your house?

Sass said...

I really liked this post, Gwennie Gwen.

And...you can cook for me anytime you'd like. ;)

BeckEye said...

I was going to go visit the BFF in Harrisburg this weekend, so we could've gone to Gettysburg, but I bagged the idea.

But steak sounds like a good back up plan.

Mr. Condescending said...

gwen, did you bbq up some of those praying mantises you found the other day?

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