Memorial Day Edition: “For Love of Country They Accepted Death” 

In Home, News by wp_sysadmin

As we remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for America, we share a portion of the first Memorial Day Address, from May 30, 1868. It was given by General James Garfield, then 36 years old, as he memorialized those Union soldiers interred at the National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. 

“I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of the 15,000 men whose lives were more significant than speech and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung.

“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.

“What other spot so fitting for their last resting place as this, under the shadow of the Capital saved by their valor?

“Here, where the grim edge of battle joined; here, where all the hope and fear and agony of their country centered; here let them rest, asleep on the nation’s heart, entombed in the nation’s love.”