Imatges de pàgina

Star Spangled banner," and "Rally Round the Flag." That musical challenge was taken up by those on the other side and they responded with "The Bonnie Blue Flag" and "Away down South in Dixie." A single soldier in one of those bands was inspired to begin a sweeter and more tender air, and slowly and sweetly as he played it, there joined in the instruments upon the union side, until finally a great and mighty chorus swelled and rolled along the line of our army: "Home, Sweet Home." When they had finished there was no challenge yonder, for every hand on the farther shore had taken up the lovely air so attuned to all that is holiest and dearest, and one great chorus of the two mighty hosts went up to God. When they had finished, from the boys in gray came the challenge, "Three cheers for home," and they went up, resounding through the skies from both sides of the river. A bond of sympathy between the warring hosts had been found, even in the midst of battle, and as then all hearts were joined in the sentiment expressed by the dear old song, so now all hearts respond to the grand anthem of universal liberty and peace. "Peace on earth and good will towards man," is the sentiment with which we are inspired, even to the extent of forgiving and forgetting the error of those who offered a sacrifice as great as we upon the altar of the institutions to which they were devoted. While we honor and glorify our patriot dead, let their graves suggest no bitter animosities towards those, who under that other flag went down to dust

"By the flow of the inland river,
Whence the fleets of iron have fled,

Where the blades of grave-grass quiver.
Asleep are the ranks of the dead—

Under the sod and the dew-
Waiting the judgment day;

Under the one the Blue-
Under the other the Gray.

"These in the robings of glory,
Those in the gloom of defeat,
Ail with the battle-blood gory,
In the dusk of eternity meet-
Under the sod and the dew

Waiting the judgment day;
Under the laurel the Blue-
Under the willow the Gray.

"From the silence of sorrowful homes
The desolate mourners go, •

Lovingly laden with flowers.
Alike for the friend and the foe—

Under the sod and the dew
Waiting the judgment day;

Under the roses the Blue—

■ Under the lillies the Gray.

"So with an equal splendor
The morning sun-rays fall,
With a touch impartially tender

On the blossoms blooming for ail-
Under the sod and the dew

Waiting the judgment day;
Broldered with gold the Blue-
Mellowed with gold the Gray.

"So, when the summer calleth
On forest and field of grain.

With an equal murmur falleth
The cooling dip of the rain;

Under the sod and the dew
Waiting the judgment day;

Wet with tile rain the Blue-
Wet with the rain the Gray.

"Sadly but not upbraiding,

The generous deed was done;
In the storm of the years that are lading

No braver battle was won.
Under the sod and the dew

Waiting the judgment day;
Under the blossomsthe Blue—

Uuder the garlands the Gray;

"No more shall the war cry sever
Or the winding rivers be red;

They banish our anger forever
When they laurel the graves of our dead.

Under the sod and the dew
Waiting the Judgment day;

Love and tears for the Blue-
Tears and love for the Gray."

As one of the results of the war a splendid civilization has been partially, and will be fully developed on the American continent. Literature will flourish as it has not in the past; fine art will blossom into new and beautiful creations, which will congeal noble ideals into abiding actualities, and mind asking for nothing but fields for free thought will triumph in every struggle which our Republic may be called upon to enter, and humanity, like the century plant which blooms after a hundred years of struggle with all that opposes its vigorous life, will break forth into the brilliant bloom of that golden age for which philanthropists have longed, and holy men have prayed, "For God hath given into your hands a place where there is no want of anything that is in the earth."

By the preservation of our country and the regeneration of the Republic new and most important duties have been cast upon us as citizens; our wonderful growth and great prosperity but increases the opportunities we have so long enjoyed of becoming chief among the nations of the earth. In the whirl of business and in the race for riches and honor we do not often reflect upon our opportunities as a people or our greatness as a nation. While Republican government maintains its struggle with the spirit of monarch and empire in France, and the issue is yet doubtful, our form of government stands beyond the reach of danger from internal dissensions or foreign invasion. In Russia nihilism is spreading its destructive influence, while government reels and totters upon its foundations, and anarchy and confusion reign supreme. The contest between socialism and order in Germany has made to lie uneasy the head that wears the crown. By the side of the Shannon, where beautiful Erin droops over her grieving harp, an unhappy people look with fond hopes to the genius of liberty upon this side of the waters. We receive from Europe as an acknowledgment of our superior institutions and the excellence of our government, many thousands of her population. The burdens of military duty, from which we are exempt the failure of crops, which, thanks to a beneficent providence, comes not; with heavy hand upon us; the general depression of trade, from which, happily, we are free; these, and many causes which might be enumerated, send out from the old world to the new a people who have been attracted by the freedom of America and the desire of living in a country where the laborer is regarded as being worthy of his hire.

In a single year we drew from England 65,000 of her population, and from the United Kingdom 153,000; from Germany 210,000, while from the rest of Europe we obtained more than 300,000. And here upon the soil which the blood of our fallen heroes consecrated anew to liberty of thought and freedom of conscience, comes the pilgrims from all nations to worship at our shrine, to mingle their lives and their fortunes with ours, and to assist in building up our holy temple of liberty until its shadows shall extend to "the uttermost parts of the earth." Our population in 1790 was a little less than 4,000,000, and it is said that without immigration our country would not have had 50,000,000 of people for a hundred years to come, whence it appears that the population and consequent, expansion of the settled area, the development of agriculture, manufactures, mining and railways, as well as of domestic and foreign trade, have been anticipated more than three-quarters of a century by the quiet influx of Europeans. They who died for union and freedom, died for humanity as well, and we who at the short space of twenty years, from the time when our land was "rent in civil feuds and drenched in fraternal blood," enjoy the full measure of the blessings won by the awful sacrifice, may well gather about the graves, and with bowed heads and uplifted hearts exclaim,


"Great God ! we thank Thee forthls home,

This bounteous birthland of the free.
Where wanderers from afar may corns

And breathe the air of liberty.
Still may her flowers untrampled spring,

Her harvests wave, her cities rise,
And yet, till time shall fold her wing,

Remain earth's loveliest paradise.

Members of the Grand Army of the Republic and citizens: We have not performed our whole duty when we h.ive considered the excellence of our governmental system and the greatness of our nation; nor when we have expressed our acknowledgments of profound gratitude toyou who have survived the conflict; nor yet when we have paid love's last tribute to the memory of the departed. They bequeathed this common wealth to us in trust for the coming generations. It is not only ours to enjoy, but ours to maintain, to perfect, and to transmit to those who in their turn shall follow us.

When the great prophet of Islamism went forth from his caves of prayer and uplifted the sign of battle in the east, he caused to be inscribed upon his flaming sword the motto, "Forward lies success," and would we fulfil the" mission which destiny has purposed for us, we too must look steadily forward and press on and still onward in the development of those agencies through which the highest earthly good can be obtained. The most important of these is the general education and enlightenment1 of the masses who direct and control the material as well as the political destinies of the nation. As the stream does not rise above its fountain, so the wisdom of the country as manifested by its laws and their administration will not rise much above the average intelligence of its people. In our race for riches we are apt to neglect to get wisdom. In our haste to reap honors we sometimes fail to acquire knowledge; we are apt to mistake social distinction for absolute worth; we are too prone to neglect the general good for what seems to be our own special advantage and so the avenues of public life and the pathways of ambition are overcrowded. The tendency is to neglect the great material interests, upon the development of which "our future greatness and prosperity must depend. We live too fast; we have too much theory and too little of that practical knowledge which alone can make a people prosperous and happy. Our cities and towns are already overcrowded with young men and young women, who, attracted by the enchantments of trade, the excitement of speculation and the glitter and glare of social life, have turned their backs upon the country, the great and inexhaustible source of individual as well as national riches and honor. The disappointments of business, cares of trade, the demands of society, and the never ending pursuit of the always fleeing shadow makes aching brains and unhappy hearts; and morals, health and life pay the too certain penalty. We look all around and see that the work yet remaining to be performed before humanity will have reached its highest and purest estate is well worthy the careful thought and the active labors of an intelligent people. The conflicts of peace are oft-times as important as those of war and are always of longer duration. They do not press themselves upon us in such manner as make immediate action seem necessary; they appeal to the heart rather than to the impulses which in times of great emergency prompt patriotic action; nor in times of peace will citizens be impelled to action by the influences of that irrestible and inborn religion in man which is brought to the altar by the awful shock of contending armies, by the eloquence of loud-talking storms, by the crested wrath of the ocean, and by the wild plunge of the cataract that pours its eternal baptism upon the obdurate and unchangeable rock.

Gentlemen of the Grand Army, you who upon the fatal days stood beside your fallen comrades, you who saw their bodies return to dust, and their noble spirits float outward and upward to the God who gave them, and citizens all, let us learn the lessons and duties of life from the story of their death. "Let us return thanks to God that we have lived to see our country in the vigor and splendor of her second age." Let us transmit the rich legacy un* tarnished to our children. Let us leave behind us such memories, that whether we fall amid the conflict of battle, or in the sacred circles of home, or fall alone and no friend take note of our departure, it may be recorded of each, "he left his duties done."

•'How little recks it where men lie.

Wlien once the moment's past
In which the dim and glazing eye

Has looked on earth its Inst —
Whether beneath the sculptured urn

The coffined form shall rest.
Or in its nakedness return

Back to its mother's breast.

"Death is a common friend or toe

As different men may hold;
And at his summons each must go.

The timid and the bold!
But when the spirit, free and warm.

Deserts it as it must,
What, matter where the lifeless form

Dissolves again to dust.

"The soldier falls 'mid corses piled

Upon the battle plain,
Where reinless war-steeds gallop wild

Above the mangled slain;
But, though his corse be grim to see

Hoof-trampled in the sod.
What recks it. when the spirit free

Has soared aloft to God!

"The coward's dying eyes may close

Upon his downy bed,
And softest hands his limbs compose,

Or garments o'er them spread!
But ve.'who shun the bloody fray,

When fall the mangled brave,
Go—strip his coffin lid away,

And see him in his grave!

"'Tweie sweet indeed, to close our eyes,

With those we cherish, near,
And, wafted upward by their sighs

Soar to some calmer sphere.
But whether on the scaffold high

Or in the battle's van,
The fittest place where man can die

Is where lie dies formal]!"

''Auld Lang Syne" was then rendered by the band, after which ''Our Army of the Dead," by Will Carlton, was recited by the young ladies, Misses Katie Pierce, Laura Watkins, Josie Buchanan, Cora Braden, Mary Morse and Lavina Jones—the last verse being composed by Comrade R. C. White—each giving a verse, and closed with their gathering around a memorial grave and scattering flowers upon it, accompanied with a song so sweetly sung as to call forth from the audience an enthusiastic encore. Following is the poem and song:


By the edge of the Atlantic, where the waves of Freedom roar,

And the breezes of the ocean chant a requiem to the shore,

On the Nation's eastern hill-tops, where its corner-stone is laid.

On the mountains of New England, where our fathers toiled and prayed,

Mid old Key-stone's rugged riches, wheie the miner's hand await,

Mid the never-ceasing commerce of the busy Empire State,

With the country's love and honor on each brave, oevoted head,

Is a band of noble heroes—is our Army of the Dead.

On the lake-encircled homestead of the thriving Wolverine,
On the beauteous Western prairies, with their carpeting of green,
By the sweeping Miss ssippi. long our country's pride and boast,
On the lugged Kockv Mountains, and the weird Pacific coast,
In the listless, sunny Southland, with its blossoms and its vines,
On the bracing Northern hill-tops, and amid their murmuring pines,
Over all our happy country—over all our Nation spread,
Is a band of noble heroes—is our Army of the Dead.


us remember that it is not simply that we strew flowers over the graves of individuals whose memory we desire to keep green, but that it is an offering of love we, as comrades, pay to our Dead, and a tribute from a grateful people to that self-sacrificing patriotism which resulted in the perpetuity of our liberties and the integrity of the Nation.

Therefore, whether there are graves of Veterans to be decorated or not, it is desired that wherever in this department a Post of the G. A. R. is located, some fitting memorial service will be observed.

While these memorial exercises are under the auspices of the Grand Army of the Republic, it is no less the duty of all to unite with the G. A. R. in the observance of the day, and all organized bodies, military and civic, are invited to join with the G. A. R. in making the observance universal.

As the years roll by our labors on this day become increased, and our roll of honor shows added names on each anniversary of this day of grateful offerings, and as our numbers become less, let our devotion to the memories of the past grow stronger, and our loyalty to our dead never grow cold.

Clergymen in the different localities are respectfully requested to conduct appropriate memorial service in their respective churches on Sabbath preceding 30th of May, and the Press are requested to give the day and its duties notice in their columns.

By command of W. A. ROBINSON,

Department Commander. GEO. M. McCARTY,

Assistant Adjutant General.

Comrade G. C. Sears, as Commander, gave the following address from the Ritual:

To-day is the festival of our dead. We unite to honor the memory of our brave and our beloved; to enrich and ennoble our lives by recalling a publicheroism and a private worth that are immortal, to encourage by our solemn service, a more zealous and stalwart patriotism. Festival of the dead! Yes, though many eyes are clouded with tears, though many hearts are clouded with regret, though many lives are still desolate because of the father or brother, the husband or lover, who did not come back; though every grave, which a tender reverence or love adorns with flowers, is the shrine of a sorrow whose influence is still potent, though its first keen poignancy has been dulled,—despite of all, to-day is a festival because it is full of solemnity. And now, as in this silent camping ground of our dead, with soldierly tenderness • and love, we garland these passionless mounds, let us recall those who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foe's: Let us recall their toils, their sufferings, their heroism, their supreme fidelity in camp, in prison pen, on the battle field, and in hospital, that the flag under which they fought, and from the shadows of whose folds they were promoted, may never be dishonored; that the country for whose union and supremacy they surrendered life, may have the fervent and enthusiastic devotion of every citizen ; that as we stand by every grave as before an altar, we may pledge our manhood that, so help us God, the memory of our dead shall encourage and strengthen in us all a more loyal patriotism.

C. G. Staples, the Officer of the Day, then took up some Mowers and scattering them on the memorial grave, said:

In your name, my comrades, I scatter these memorial flowers upon this grave, which represents the graves of all who died in the sacred cause of our country. Our floral tribute shall wither. Let the tender, fraternal love for which it stands, endure until the touch of death shall chill the warm pulsebeat of your hearts.

Chaplain R. C. White then spoke as follows:

Comrades, by this service, without distinction of race or creed, we renew our pledge to exercise a spirit of fraternity among ourselves, of charity to the destitute wards of the Grand Army, and of loyalty to the authority and union

« AnteriorContinua »