|Facsimile of US Flag|
Right after I met David, I was invited to come down to meet his grandparents and to their Decoration Day commemoration picnic at the Rush Chapel Cemetery. I was unfamiliar with this ritual of eating together at a cemetery, because my immediate family did not observe it nor did any in my circle of friends. Most of our family members were scattered across Kansas and Oklahoma and we only saw them twice a year -- during Christmas and mid-summer holidays from school. Only after I had become a member of the Rush family, did I learn there had been a pioneer Methodist church on the spot where their picnic was held that had been torn down sometime in the 1960s. Family came from near and far to decorate the graves of their loved ones with flowers and it was almost a family reunion of sorts. Since the cemetery is located in hilly terrain between Mary's Home and Tuscumbia, Mo., when driving between all the parked cars on the downhill slope of the gravel road became somewhat of a problem, someone suggested moving the family reunion to Eldon where it has been held every year since then at the Air Park, however, decorating the graves is still practiced.
Recently I learned about how Decoration Day came to be. It seems that on May 5, 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Commander-in-Chief, John A. Logan, Jr. of Illinois, by General Order No. 11, had assigned May 30, 1868, as a memorial day which was to be devoted to the strewing of flowers on the graves of deceased comrades who had died in the defense of the country during the Civil War. The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a national organization begun in Decatur, Illinois on April 6, 1866 for former Civil War Union soldiers and sailors who served between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1865. It was organized to preserve brotherly feelings between veterans and to provide for those in need of assistance -- orphans, widows, and disabled servicemen.
Ironically, John A. Logan, Jr. was the son of Dr. John Logan, Sr. whom Logan county, Illinois was honorably named for as suggested by his friend, Abraham Lincoln. My third-great Grandfather, Elder Martin White, was the first elected representative of Logan and (Dane) Christian Counties in the Illinois State House of Representatives (1840-42) after they were divided from Sangamon County, IL.
More to Read:
1.) How Rush Chapel Came to Be
3.) Elder Martin White biography