Veteran Carlos Sanchez carries a wreath to a civil war veteran's grave during the first Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony for ten Civil War veterans at Carrollton Cemetery No. 1 by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #8973 in New Orleans, Monday, May 28, 2018. Nine of the buried Civil War soldiers were members of what was then called the ‘United States Colored Troops’ made up of former slaves and free blacks fighting for the Union Army. About 518 veterans are buried at Carrollton Cemetery No. 1, with 330 of soldiers buried in the indigent or poverty-stricken section. Unlike most cemeteries in the New Orleans area, most of the people are buried underground at this cemetery.

I was educated in the public school system of Louisiana and there were a lot of things taught to me that were left unexplained. Like the Dark Ages.

I wondered how a civilization could move from scientific and cultural enlightenment to intellectual darkness. I fear that I am witnessing a return to those unenlightened times as discourse and the knowledge of history is discouraged, limiting what we can be and what we can know.

In last Sunday’s article, “Five Things to Know about Memorial Day,” I was startled to read that at a 2021 Memorial Day celebration in Ohio, the ceremony’s organizers purposely muted the microphone when retired Army Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter began to share the history of the origin of Memorial Day by telling how Black churches honored the 267 Union troops who had been buried in a mass grave at a Confederate prison by re-burying them in individual graves soon after the Civil War.

I appreciate that Memorial Day has now been expanded to be a day of reflection and remembrance of those who died while serving in the U.S. military, but let’s not forget (and teach our children) our history!


Abita Springs

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