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Whatever Happened to Decoration Day?

This Fourth of July seems a good time to ask

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Decoration Day began on May 1, 1865, in Charleston, South Carolina, when an estimated ten thousand people, most of them former slaves, paraded to place flowers on the newly dug graves of 257 Union soldiers who had been buried without coffins behind the grandstand of a race course. They had been held in the infield without tents, as prisoners of war, while Union batteries pounded the city’s downtown to rubble during the closing days of the Civil War. The evolution of Decoration Day over the next fifty years was one of the questions that led historian David W. Blight to