3 ON THE ROAD: Decoration Day Correction - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

3 ON THE ROAD: Decoration Day Correction

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

This is a correction or an addition to the Memorial Day, Mississippi Connection; something along that line. I hate to call it breaking news since it happened 150 years ago. But it is a story I had never heard.

Well, I had never heard it until I aired the Memorial Day story about the holiday having grown from the first Decoration Day, where the graves of Confederate as well as Union soldiers, were decorated with flowers in Friendship Cemetery in Columbus, Mississippi, a year to the day after the Civil War ended when Robert E. Lee surrendered his troops to U.S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia.

Well, Cecile Wardlaw, with the Greenwood Cemetery Association in Jackson, called me and told me I had made a grave error, pardon the pun, but it is documented that the FIRST Decoration Day was held a year earlier, just AFTER Lee’s surrender, in Greenwood Cemetery in Jackson.

This MUST be true because I read it online in an article Cecile had written for a post, called Mississippi Sideboard (which I would recommend you Googling. They have some interesting articles there.) 

Anyway, after word of the surrender and Lincoln’s Assassination and the surrender of smaller pockets of Confederates, a group of folks had gathered at The Oaks, former mayor Boyd’s home on Jefferson Street. Sue Langdon Adams was reading a copy of Plutarch’s “Lives” and saw the part where the graves of fallen soldiers had been strewn with flowers.

Well, an idea hit her and word spread. The very next day, Sue and a bunch of other folks and a band playing the Funeral Dirge from Handel’s “Saul” decorated the graves of the Confederate and Union dead in Greenwood Cemetery. The Union troops were moved to National Cemeteries during the occupation of the South after the war. The Confederate graves are still there.

I like Greenwood Cemetery because it really was and is a community burial ground; Black, White, Jew, Gentile, Protestant, Catholic or Other,

if you died in Jackson you were buried there, so it really IS a community cemetery. And THAT fact is memorial in its own right.

Which makes this coming Saturday (June 10)  all the more meaningful. It is another cleanup day at Greenwood Cemetery. The city owns it, but by and large, it is volunteers that keep it up. Wear old clothes, bring a hoe, and be there at 8 a.m.

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