On Monday, the Bloomingburg Masonic Lodge held a service at the Bloomingburg Cemetery.
Dustin Dickison, of the Bloomingburg Masonic Lodge, welcomed and thanked those who gathered at the Bloomingburg Cemetery Monday to honor the many military veterans buried in that cemetery.
Lodge member Jared Clark gave the invocation and benediction and read a poem that conveyed the importance of honoring military veterans. Clark also talked about how Memorial Day came to be.
Robert E. Grim, a member of the New Holland Masonic Lodge and a Past District Deputy Grand Master of the Masonic Grand Lodge of Ohio, told those gathered for the occasion how, following the Civil War, Union veterans formed the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) as a veteran’s organization that helped get medical care for veterans, established hospitals, soldiers homes for the aged veterans and military pensions.
Civil War General John Logan—who was National Commander of the GAR in 1868, issued an order to all GAR members that they should decorate the graves of fallen Civil War veterans on May 30th of each year. That practice became known as Decoration Day and, in 1971, Congress changed it to Memorial Day to honor all deceased military veterans and moved the date to the last Monday in May.
Grim noted that the Gettysburg Address is generally read or recited at Memorial Day ceremonies. But the version of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address generally used today is not exactly the same as what Lincoln said on November 19, 1863 during a ceremony in Gettysburg Pennsylvania dedicating a new national cemetery for the soldiers who died that summer during the Battle of Gettysburg. The version used today was written by President Lincoln several months later for use in helping raise funds for military soldiers.
Grim said the GAR established the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) in 1881 for the purpose of perpetuating the memory of the GAR and the heritage of the Civil War. In 1903 the SUVCW created the Sons of Veterans Reserve (SVR) as a uniformed military department of the SUVCW for the purpose of conducting a variety of ceremonial activities.
Members of Henry Casey Camp 93 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and their Company C, 20th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Sons of Veterans Reserve unit fired a gun salute and John Pfeifer played taps.