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"To-day we come with the Spring's first glowing
Early in the year the several Posts of the Grand Army of the Republic in the city decided to celebrate the occurrence of Decoration Day by appropriate ceremonies, and a Joint Committee was appointed as follows:
George Wright Post No. 1.—Comrades N. S. Pierce, 0. Summers, G. E. Caukin, C. G. Staples, R. C. White, C. P. Yates, F. R Neale, J. H. Penn, G. R. Matthews, Frank Story and A. E. Borthwick.
Garfield Post No. 28 —-F. K. Arnold, Wm. Kapus E. H. C. Taylor.
Stoneman Post No. 31.—Thos. G. Davison, C. E. DuBois, C. Smith, J. B, Reynolds.
At a meeting of the Joint Committee an organization was effected and sub-committees were appointed, as follows:
President—Comrade A. E. Borthwick, George Wright Post.
Secretary—Comrade E. H. C. Taylor, Garfield Post.
Treasurer—Comrade N. S. Pierce, George Wright Post.
On Orator—Comrades Summers, Kapus and DuBois.
On Invitation—Comrades Borthwick and Taylor.
On Musk—Comrades Caukin, Davison and Pierce.
On Finance—Comrades Staples Yates, Davison and Arnold.
On Transportation—Comrade Taylor.
On Carriages—Comrades Reynolds, Smith, Arnold and Penn.
On Printing—Comrade Borthwick.
On Marking Graves—Comrades Neale and Matthews.
On Evening Programme—Comrades White, Pierce, Kapus and Borthwick.
On Printing Decoration Proceedings—Comrade Borthwick.
Grand Marshal—Comrade N. S. Pierce.
Aids—Comrades Taylor, McDevitt, Borthwick and Powers.
The Joint Committee met at various times at the insurance office of Comrade G. E. Caukin, Stark Street, and perfected all necessary arrangements for the proper celebration of Memorial Day, among other things it being decided to adopt the ritualistic work as far as practicable.
By invitation of Rev. T. L. Eliot, the several Posts met at headquarters of George Wright 'Post, on First Street, between Washington and Stark, on Sunday evening, May 28th, and marched thence in full uniform to the Unitarian Church, where the following exercises were had:
Sentences and invocation.
Choir—"Father, I bend to Thee."—Himmel.
Scripture—Psalms cxxi., cxxii., and Gloria.
"Oh, that I had wings like a Dove!"—Mrs. DePrans and Mr. Bullock.
Hymn—" My country, 'tis of thee."
Rev. Mr. Eliot then gave as his text 2 Maccabees, vii., 37, "But I, as my brethren, offer up my body and life for the laws of our fathers, beseeching God that he would speedily be merciful to our nation," and then delivered the following eloquent discourse:
These words were spoken, not on a battle field, but by the last of seven sons, who, with their mother, were sacrificed rather than forswear their consciences and allegiance to their country. The invader with his army was in possession and expected, first by bribes and then by tortures, to turn this stubborn people from their religious traditions and national pride; but only succeeded in arousing a flaming patriotism, which culminated in a war for liberty and truth, as heroic as ever has taken place in the history of man. The history of the Maccabees is too little known, the books having unfortunately been excluded from the Protestant canon of scripture, but they contain a record of martyrdoms, heroism, invincible valor and sustained devotion, which equals, if it does not transcend the stories of Leonidas and Horatius Codes, of Joan of Arc in France, of Robert the Bruce in Scotland, of Bolivar G_ in South America, of Touissant L'Ouverture in Hayti—not forgetting our own nation's heroic birth, and regeneration through the blood of heroes, in 1776 and 1860. The first book of Maccabees reads like an epic, with an increasing glow of loyalty to the end. It is historically reliable, full of romantic interest, and the legends in it reflect the intensity of moral convictions, the persuasion that heaven and heavenly champions are on every battle field for righteousness. Mattathias, "breathing fury through his nostrils," staboJ~c ( bing an apostle Jew and the Greek officer who was procuring his sacrilege before the altar; fleeing to the mountains with his warcry of "Zeal and the Covenant," reminds us of William Tell and the Sicilian vespers. Eleazar, who crept thro' the invading army, sought out the king's elephant and immolated himself to bring the great beast to the ground, reminds us of Arnold Winklereid, "making a way for liberty" by gathering a sheaf of Austrian spears into his own breast. The magnificent dream of Judas, before the battle of Bethhoron is like the visions which inspired the Huguenots of the desert and the Scotch covenanters. The story of his camp fires and battle hymns and the onset of his soldiers, "fighting with their hands and praying with their hearts," is like the march of Cromwell and his roundheads. The death of Judas refusing flight and saying, "God forbid that I should do this thing and flee away from them; if our time be come let us die manfully for brethren, and let us not leave behind a stain upon our honor," and the equal
heroism of his four brothers as leaders of the Hebrews, are like the self-sacrifice—almost as Kttle heard of as the patriots of Servia and Montenegro ; and the glory of this war, like our own, culminates with the beauty of woman's devotion, in homes, on the battle field—in the hour of defeat inspiring fresh courage, and in the hour of victory forgetting their own sorrows for the redemption of a nation. To this day the Jewish people commemorate this conflict for liberty and law, and the victory of Judas and his brothers in the so-called feast of lights; setting eight burning tapers before the altar, which I am informed signify the martyrdom of the seven sons and their mother, and by their symbolism impress upon children in every home, the story of devo. tion to country and the hope of morality.
Cold and unworthy would be the heart which does not glow before the liturgy of patriotism in every age and of every race! Patriotism is a twin flower to every noblest aspiration of man. The ties which bind us to a common name and link us in the brotherhood of language, soil and institutions are nearest the ties which unite us to home, to family and to God. The commemoration of those who gave their lives for their country's integrity and honor, is not only a sacred privilege—it is the reminder of a responsibility, a great covenant of national life, which the Almighty lays upon every soul. There should be brought to this day that we are preparing as a nation to celebrate, each year an added solemnity, an added charter of perpetuity. It would have been unnatural were such a momentuous era of our country's history to have left no mark in its symbolisms and memorial days. It would be a sign of recreancy, could the millions who were mustered out at the close of the war have forgotten their plighted faith and companionships. It was as true a thing as a flower is to its root and stem, that the root of patriotism—;>fter the toils of war were done—should bear as its flowe'r, the institution of Decoration Day, and sacred fellowship of soldier citizens, who, like "the Hebrew warrior, keep their 'feast of lights' "—remembering the dead, inspiring the living and transmitting to unborn generations, the story of the great Deliverance from Disunion and National Death!
Is it too early then to remind ourselves that the decoration of soldiers' graves each season of springtime will be made by a lessening number of soldier hands, as the roll call is heard for each man's final review in the earthly ranks? A time will come when the last mortal who bore arms in that sacred strife will himself be laid away, and when the last member of the grand army will salute his country's flag, lift flowers in his trembling hands for a comrade's grave, in some cemetery of Gettysburg or Arlington and soon take his place by their side.
Shall America's trust then cease, or shall the sons of these men, initiated to a "second degree," gather around the camp-fire of tradition and lead the nation in a perpetuated memorial, linked to the home, the church and the school? This is a question which the surviving members of the Grand Army should soon consider. They will not be met in this day of long guaranteed popular liberties by the clamor which greeted the society of the Cincinnati— when there was proposed a hereditary succession of the soldiers of 1776. flx. 0 ■iAJ tyould it not be an honorable memorial of their names also, who served their country in the civil war, if they could be represented by their next of kin in the elections which keep full the ranks of your posts; and to whom could the honorable task of keeping Decoration Day be better entrusted than to men whose chief pride will be that their sires or brothers "offered their bodies and their lives for the laws of their fathers," "fighting with their hands and praying with their hearts," "beseeching God that he would speedily be merciful to our nation?" If an American is ever to be granted a hereditary privilege, what one could be more innocent than this—or satisfy a more unselfish pride? But whether the guardianship of this day be so perpetuated or not it will remain none the less a national trust and inheritance. Its decadence or neglect would mark national disease and a people unworthy of their blood-bought liberties and laws. Let the story then in all its shadow and light, of the greatest civil war on earth, with the most at stake in history, be told over and over at our firesides and in our schools; let the names of
heroes and the remembrance of countless unnamed dead, be the subject of drama and song—let art with its ennobling symbolism give us«monuments on every highway, battle field and crowded market place, and let these all light a patriotism, whose ardor will be a warrant for that "vigilance which is the eternal price of liberty!" Men and women who lived through the dark days of the rebellion and felt the "agony of doubt," as to whether we were to have a country, will live their lives out with the "luxury of conviction" of its priceless worth. The swords of the soldiers are loose in their sheathes, their eyes are quick to see, their ears are swift to note the look and tone of disloyal or indifferent men, and these, too, are the public sentinels who have learned to "beware of men who make wars necessary." But the children must be instructed, and every instrumentality which can touch the heart, be brought to bear upon the theme of the nation's peril and deliverance. This generation must not die until all that symbolism, art, music and ritual can do to this end, is done and done foreverl
The story of our terrible conflict should never be recited to the rising race without the impressive reminder of how utterly needless and uncalled for was the impious act of rebellion, and how bitter the price which its suppression cost. We must indeed never forget that those who provoked the "dread arbitrament of war" were our brethren, whose rank and file, whatever may be laid to some of their leaders, were inspired by the fatal philter "of state rights," and their senses drugged by_the institution of slavery, which identified itself with the fireside and lay like a viper~~at the hearTof the national constitution; but they urged on a conflict which could have but one issue, and which, had they not been blind to all history, was forecast in the very destiny of the human race. They only precipitated the destruction of the principles they fought for, by the appeal to the sword.
And consider the cost of this mistake. It has been estimated that the civil war cost America seven thousands of millions from the treasury, and perhaps as much more in the destruction of property, with three-quarters of a million of lives. Slave property, before the war, at the highest figure, was appraised to be worth four thousands of millions. It has been eloquently said, in an address last month, before the army of the Tennessee, "that if it had been possible for statesmanship, reason and justice to have risen to the occasion, all slaves could have been paid for and liberated, and there would have remained enough of the cost of the war to have purchased for each freed man a farm worth $500, and yet enough left to have built all the transcontinental railroads that have been and are being built, and still enough to pay for cutting the ship canal through the isthmus,leaving a balance of $700,000,000, to promote education or build asylums for the unfortunate. The large sum of money which the war cost over what would have been required to pay for the slaves at their estimated value, would have driven poverty, ignorance and crime out of the United States for all time.
"The nation was of o'ne blood, with laws made by the representatives of the people, operating equally and lightly upon all. The grandest river of the world flowed centrally through from the extreme north to the southern border, bearing upon its broad bosom for interchange, the produce and commerce of all sections. Every interest save one—human slavery, and that the greatest of all wrongs/and even that was safer in than out of the union-dictated union and peace. And yet with all these sufficient reasons, union and peace were only secured by a devastating war. May we not hope that reason and justice in the coming time shall guide the nations, and enable the amicable settlement of differences without wars?"
Our children should know that there was but one all-imperative duty of patriotism when Sumter was fired on, and the erring states inevitably invoken the uprising of a great people; but the chief lesson of that war is lost indeed, if it does not minister to the arts and sanctities of peace. A civil war is a nation's impressive self-criticism and sentence upon some neglects—some root of bitterness which law and wisdom ought to have foreseen, and enlightened patriotism ought to have cured without the knife.
_ Patriotism has been well denned, as " the whole body of those affections which unite mfcn's hearts to the commonwealth." It contains the spirit of self sacrifice, the law of the home, "where each lives for all." The Romans . used the word "impiety" for failing against the Gods, the country or the family. | tw- ^ Our national allegiance—I use in Effect the words of Lord Bacon "is of greater £ , i extent'and dimension than laws cjf governments and cannot consist, by the V 1 „ \ laws merely, because it began before laws; it continueth after laws, and it is in vigor when laws are suspended and have had their force." Should not the fostering of this ideal of heart allegiance, the pure love of country and readiness to make sacrifices for it, become more consciously the duty of every educating influence upon our people? Do we as a people realize that the "purity and vitality of our institutions is an individual trust? Are we conscious how closely linked every degeneracy in the government, legislative, executive or judicial is with- citizenship, and is measured by the degree of responsibility or non-responsibility, felt by men and women who live on the land? Do we blush as we ought to do when our governmental system, from the primaries to the legislature, registers the tide mark of civic indifference? Does the average citizen of our land think of his own "impiety" when some scandal crops out in legislative halls, or stains the judicial ermine? Is it possible that in a republic of fifty millions we have no other training for statesmanship than that which comes from hand to mouth, no other education of the rising generation in the duties of citizenship than what is eked out between political d. ^campaigns by the press, compar\tively no foundations in our colleges of professorships in political science, no institutes endowed in our cities for the instruction of the people in the rights, duties and perils of citizenship? Do Americans read history, that they think their republic can bear the strain of such forces, as ours holds and not be burst, as other republics have been, unless the ship of state is ribbed and bolted as with living steel? In Athens and Florence the very boys lived conscientiously as members of the state, and felt the glory or shame of every just or unjust act, in leader or subordinate. The Roman father took his child daily to the forum, and the Hebrew mother inspired her children with devotion to their country as God's highest gift and trust. These nations wove their religion into the web of their country's laws, and to neglect a civic duty was impiety against the fcods. Do we, OL my friends so teach our children and enlist their pure affections, their gener-" ous ardor for the land of their birth, and for the sacred institutions which overshadow home and education, the pursuit of livelihoods in peace and hap- ,
pinesS- I am asking trite questions, but what shall better memorize our sa- &•£<cred dead or better glorify our beloved nation, than that this day shall be one for searching of hearts and stirring of consciences? I could easier fill out this hour with scraps and relics from battle fields and camps, gathering up the anecdotes, singing over the old scale of countless heroisms—and I got a lot of them together for the purpose, but I asked myself will not these things only awaken a passing fancy, or start a transient emotion, leaving our minds the luxury of self-glorification, rather than inspiring us with the spirit of patriotism, such as makes wars unnecessary? Are we met here, I asked /y myself, I now ask you/in honor of ourselves, or to forget ourselves for our ^\ c country's sake^ihall we "spout fourth a little frothy stream, making this a j/ ^. gaudy day, and sutler to remain dry the rest of the year," or leave this place with new aspirations and resolutions such as gave our Garfield the words, "my life belongs to my country, and I am only anxious to do what I can before the mortgage is foreclosed," and which brought him indeed to that crisis of affairs when nought would satisfy the Nemesis of republics but his death? For patriotism means sacrifice, its demand is not for our spare time but for time we cannot spare ; and patriotism is aped by those who , , give lip service and for bread, a stone. There is no cant more hypcritieal P I and cheap than the cant of loyalty—none which ever hides worse ravening wolves. No virtue is worse tempted than is patriotism, to wear borrowed garments—and pass by words instead of deeds. Even when the life of the country is threatened, how many wear the colors for glory