Department of New York

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The
Grand Army
of the Republic

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From the 41st NY Dept. Encampment
General Orders and Proceedings
John S. Maxwell, Commander


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IN MEMORIAM

Memorial Day should be sacredly observed. It is the Nation’s Sabbath; a day of sweet memories and cherished
associations; and an occasion which, as the years go by, stirs anew within us stronger feelings of patriotism and brings to
every lover of his country a fuller appreciation of its true meaning and purpose. It is a noble and patriotic sentiment that
prompts us to observe this one day in the year in honor of the dead defenders of the Republic – to strew their graves
with flowers and call to mind with pride and tender emotion their self-sacrificing devotion, their unflinching courage on
the battle-field and around the guns of our ships of war, their patient endurance through all their suffering and privations,
during the long and terrible struggle in which the fate of our country hung trembling in the balance.

It is fitting that they should recall the deeds, which this day commemorates. They were distinguished above ordinary
heroism by a self-sacrifice before unknown in the annals of history. The brave men who fought our battles on land and
sea settled the questions for once and for all that this fair land of ours shall ever be a land of free men and women in fact,
as well as in name; and they also demonstrated to the world that "government by the people, for the people, shall not
perish from the earth."

While we thus honor and revere the memories of our departed comrades, let us take from their graves an inspiration of
fidelity to duty and of loyalty to each other and to our country; and let, us "highly resolve that they shall not have died in
vain."

In "the low green tents whose curtains never outward swing" they are at rest. The silent stars keep watch over them, the
beautiful verdure of springtime is above and about them, joyous birds carol their sweetest songs, and the gentle breezes
sing their requiems over them, and loving friends and comrades with gentle hands cover their graves with choicest
flowers and speak of them in love and tenderness. They died for liberty. They died that the Nation might live.

In the performance of the solemn duties of this day let us not forget our comrades who still survive. They deserve our
sympathy, our love and assistance; as they also deserve the lasting gratitude and bountiful generosity of the government,
for they share, with their dead comrades, the glory of having saved our country from disruption and our flag from
dishonor.

The bitterness and animosity engendered by the way have happily almost passed away; yet we must ever remember that
victory to the Rebellion meant death to the Republic, and that the Union soldiers and sailors whose graves we decorate
with flowers and bedew with tears, with their surviving comrades, saved the Union and gave to our beloved flag a new
meaning and a grander glory.

John S. Maxwell,

Department of New York Commander
Grand Army of the Republic

The above is taken from the State of New York, Forty-First Annual Encampment
Department of New York, Grand Army of the Republic General Orders and Proceedings, dated March 22, 1907.
John S. Maxwell was the Great grandfather of Michael R. Horgan Jr., New Jersey Past Department Commander, SUVCW, 1997-99.

 

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