Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

This card includes part of a poem entitled The Blue and the Gray, by Francis Miles Finch:
From the silence of sorrowful hours
    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 lilies, the Gray.
The card was printed before World War I, before World War II, before the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm,  etc.  At that time, Memorial Day was really only to commemorate the deaths from the Civil War.

The poet, Francis Miles Finch (1827-1907) was a judge of the New York Court of Appeals and also taught at Cornell University. His poem, commemorating soldiers on both sides of the Civil War, was first published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1867. It was said that Finch was inspired by the women of Columbus, Mississippi, who spread flowers on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers. The event is known as Confederate Decoration Day. Presumably the bearded man on the card is Ulysses S. Grant. You can read the full text of the poem here.

Here's another collectible card, but not a postcard, of union soldiers during the Civil War. It says Copyright 1887 by J. Means and Co., Boston.

1 comment:

  1. How interesting. Here in Europe we always tend to forget the American Civil War, but in so many ways it was the first war in which the killing and the slaughter were almost machine-like.



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