Monday, May 28, 2012

Remembering the Soldiers of the Grand Army of the Republic

At the end of the Civil War, Union veterans formed the Grand Army of the Republic. This organization gave the men who fought in the war a way to maintain fellowship with each other and to help widows, orphans, and handicapped veterans.  Membership was limited to those who had honorably served in the Union Army, Navy, Marine Corps or Revenue Cutter Service during the war. At its peak in the late 1800s the group had over 400,000 members and significant social and political influence, including initiating the observance of Memorial Day.

This memorial is at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis. While the flags may mark some individual grave sites, only a few have stone markers, so it may be more of a memorial than actual burial ground.

Minnesota has a proud Civil War history. The men of Minnesota were active participants in significant battles (and suffered high numbers of losses) and the war had a long-lasting impact on the state’s psyche. Today there are still many monuments and memorials devoted to those who fought in the war.

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