Saturday, April 28, 2012

April 14, 2012

Take it from me, the country is going to hell in a hand-basket! Consider the demise of Decoration Day. It used to be a time of community spirit and collective industry. It began back in 1868 when a local Civil War hero from Murphysboro, General John A Logan, designated the 30 th of May as a day when all citizens would decorate the graves of war veterans and be called “Decoration Day”. He was acting in his capacity as the head of a Civil War veterans’ group called “The Grand Army of the Republic”, however he credited his wife for the original idea. For about 90 years it was the day when everyone went to the graveyard. They honored the veterans, yes. They also cleaned up the family graves and visited with the neighbors. It was a real community reunion. And everyone did a bit of work. Weeds got mowed, fallen stones were reset. There was enough man-power available to really spruce up the cemetery. But congress, in it’s wisdom in 1976 decided it should be in November and be called Memorial Day to honor all veterans. The spirit of Decoration Day moved from the cemetery to Main Street. Everbody went to the Veterans’ Day parades instead of to the cemeteries. But television changed even that. It was more pleasant to stay home and watch the vets march on TV than go to the parades. The spirit of Decoration Day moved to the living room. But football changed that too. Just a flp of the channel switch and pretty soon everybody was watching the game instead of the parade. The spirit of Decoration Day moved to the couch. That snoring noise is from Dad who dropped off to sleep during the game on Decoration Day.
Are we Grosvenors going to stand for it??? Our Decoration Day was taken away by a combination of politics and sloth at precisely a time when we needed it. I hereby proclaim a motion to reclaim it! We need Decoration Day. The Grosvenor Reunion is losing steam.. This is to be expected . The Grosvenors who gather at Ava each year are not as CLOSELY related as those who gathered before. As time goes on the reunion becomes more and more heritage and less and less personal reunion. Ergo, I suggest that it is time to start a shift toward heritage. Glenn Cemetery is central to Grosvenor heritage for a large group of people. It was once a family burial site on a Grosvenor farm. Grosvenors were once wall to wall in the area around Glenn. Now they are as scarce as the Kaskaskia Indians who preceded them. As a start of the shift toward heritage I propose a New Grosvenor Decoration Day on the day preceding the traditional Grosvenor Reunion. Said NGDD to be at Glenn Cemetery and be along the lines of the famous “Woodstock”. No formalities, no invitations. Just go. I shall expand my proposal on future blogs.

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