Memorial Day originated during the Civil War and until recently, the day focused on the terrible war between the states that, at tremendous human cost, ended slavery. Just weeks after the Civil War ended in April 1865, Ellen Call Long organized a women’s memorial society to reconcile embittered enemies.
Usually named some variant of “women’s relief society,” groups sprang up in both the North and South that not only memorialized the dead, but also cared for the war’s disabled and its widows and orphans. On June 22, 1865, women adopted these profound, forgiving, and future-oriented resolutions.
The document read in part: The object of this meeting is to initiate a Memorial Association…that shall perpetuate in an honorable manner the memory of the gallant dead We are done with the [Confederate] cause…and are willing to do all that women can do to stem the tide of bitterness…and angry feelings… We will practice and teach forbearance and patience, which must finally bring peace and justice.
Wouldn’t it be a different world if all people could emulate Ellen Call Long. I think it’s up to the women to make that happen.
Shining Service Worldwide is a charitable organization that supports all women who are part of the military family. Our goal is successful re-integration to civilian life.