UPDATE: Click here for 2011 Memorial Day event information.
Click here to see pictures and videos from this year’s Memorial Day events at Santa Ana Cemetery and Fairhaven.
You ever wonder how Memorial Day came to be? And what it stands for?
At the end of the Civil War, communities set aside a day to mark the end of the war or as a memorial to those who had died. These observances coalesced around Decoration Day, honoring the Confederate dead, and the several Confederate Memorial Days.
According to Professor David Blight of the Yale University History Department, the first memorial day was observed by formerly enslaved black people at the Washington Race Course (today the location of Hampton Park) in Charleston, South Carolina.
The race course had been used as a temporary Confederate prison camp for captured Union soldiers in 1865, as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who died there. Immediately after the cessation of hostilities, formerly enslaved people exhumed the bodies from the mass grave and reinterred them properly with individual graves. They built a fence around the graveyard with an entry arch and declared it a Union graveyard. The work was completed in only ten days. On May 1, 1865, the Charleston newspaper reported that a crowd of up to ten thousand, mainly black residents, including 2800 children, proceeded to the location for included sermons, singing, and a picnic on the grounds, thereby creating the first Decoration Day.
Here in Santa Ana, there are annual Memorial Day events at the Fairhaven Cemetery and the Santa Ana Cemetery. Here are the details: Continue reading