What began as a custom later became an official federal holiday. This holiday traditionally honored the memory of the soldiers who fought in the Civil War. It is a successor to Decoration Day which originated in the southern states when flowers were strewn over the soldiers’ graves.
After hostilities between the Union and Confederate forces had ceased, the widows and friends of the slain southerners showed their sincere love and gratitude to their fallen heroes by “decorating” their graves and the graves of the northern dead. The news of this touching tribute flashed across the North as a ray of new light and hope for brotherhood, and in 1868, General John A. Logan, then Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued an order designating May 30th of that year as the one on which all posts of the G.A.R. should commemorate the dead of the Civil War. They too decorated the northern graves of all the soldiers with floral bouquets and wreaths.
Legislatures, in most of the states, acted and declared the 30th of May as a day to honor the fallen soldiers.
In modern times we pay tribute on the last Monday in May to all those Americans who sacrificed their lives in the wars since the Civil War and our armed forces serving in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. We should never forget that peace & liberty, as our forefathers learned, comes at a cost of great sacrifice, but the results can be everlasting into our next generation.
Richard C. Schulman
NOTE: In the April 14 issue, Richard was featured in an Employee Profile for the occasion of his 80th birthday, celebrated on March 21. Shortly thereafter, on April 15, he retired from service to the City of Sunny Isles Beach. Unfortunately, on May 4th, 2014, he passed away peacefully before he could follow through with his many retirement plans, including plans to continue giving the invocations at city commission meetings. Richard will leave a legacy of dedication to Sunny Isles Beach that is rivaled by few others.
He served the city on advisory committees and acted as liaison to the City’s Historic Preservation Board. As city historian, he maintained the official scrapbook, tracking events and milestones for posterity. In the early years of the City, he also wrote as columnist, Rovin’ Reuvin’, for the Sunny Isles Beach Sun and was official city photographer. He presided as invocator at most city meetings, groundbreakings and dedications.
In 2004 he orchestrated a gathering in order for the City of Sunny Isles Beach to honor more than 200 Holocaust survivors who lived in our city. He was the creator and administrator of History Hall named in his honor in the SIB Government Center. He was instrumental in the publication of the city’s history book “From Sandbar to Sophistication” by Seth Bramson in 2007.
Richard’s involvement will be missed at all levels of city government. Sadly, this will be the last column in Schulman’s Corner