Memorial Day: A Lot More Than Hot Dogs & The D-Day Museum
©2012 Mike Church (this essay was originally published on 30 May, 2012)
Madisonville, LA– Most folks think of Memorial Day as the day that kicks off summer or the day that the great-American-hot dog notches its first outdoor cooking of the year. For those that commemorate the holiday with solemn remembrances of Our war-dead this is mostly confined to wars of the last 75 years: WW II, Korea, Vietnam and most recently Iraq & Afghanistan. While these wars certainly deserve their well earned, somber Memorials they are not exclusive.
In Northern states there are hundreds of historical markers for the battles of the war for American Independence. Most people are familiar with Washington’s famous victory over Lord Cornwalis at Yorktown VA but few know of the heroic efforts of Nathan Hale who was captured by the British as he was deployed gathering intelligence for Washington during the battle of New York. On 22 September, 1776 Hale was executed for treason by General Sir William Howe after famously saying1 he regretted that he had “but one life to lose for my country.”
Southerners also have ample tales of heroism to tell and commemorate on Memorial Day. The Battle of New Orleans is famous for making General Andrew Jackson famous but seldom do we hear of the 333 men in various American militia uniforms who who were wounded, killed or went missing during that campaign2.
Up the Mississippi River another heroic stand was made in September 1862 and late May, 1863 in the Battle of Baton Rouge and Siege of Port Hudson by The Ninth Battalion Louisiana Infantry commanded by B.R. Chinn. According to an 1863 edition of the St Francisville Democrat Newspaper3, the Ninth Battalion “…held posts of honor along the right wing during the siege, … constantly being moved, either to reinforce some point or to relieve other troops at exposed points. They were actively employed and with great credit to themselves, losing many gallant men and officers.”
We should do all we can to remember ALL those who make the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of their Revolution, Their State and Their Country and pray it is a long time when we significantly add to their numbers again.