Grand Army of the Republic

From Lane Co Oregon

[edit] Springfield News, Friday, April 28, 2006, 8A

Grand Army of the Republic

In early 1866, the United Statews ws one nation again and waking to the reality of recovery from war. The community structure of our country was weary from war and now faced rebuilding, unemployed veterans and the needs of widows and orphans.

With advances in the care of the wounded, many who would have died in earlier wrs returned home and needed community support. There were also the needs of a new group of veterans- the "colored" soldier and his entire, newly freed family. State and federal leades promised to care for "those who have borne the burden," but they had little knowledge of how to accomplish the task. As rebuilding progressed, groups of men began joining together. The groups formed first for camaraderie nd then for political power. One of the most powerful organizations would be the G.A.R. Founded in Decature, Illinois in 1866, membership was limited to honorably discharged veterans of the Union Army, Navy, Marine Corps or the Revenue Cutter Service who had served between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1865. The community-level organization was called a "Post."

In 1868, General Order No. 11 was issued calling for all Departments and Posts to set aside May 30 as a day for remembering the sacrifices of fallen comrades, thereby beginning the celebration of Memorial Day.

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