Reflecting Upon the Original Poem commemorating Memorial Day: The Blue and The Gray

Today I am commemorating Memorial Day to honor and remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the military. It is a day of remembrance and gratitude for their selfless dedication and unwavering commitment to protecting our freedoms and ensuring our safety. 

Memorial day has been celebrated in the United States since the Civil War.  The U.S. Civil War left an indelible mark on the families affected by the conflict, regardless of which side they supported. With nearly 500,000 men losing their lives, representing approximately 2 percent of the country's population at the time, the scale of the devastation was immense. One particularly poignant moment in this bloody chapter occurred during the battle of Gettysburg, where the Union and Confederacy together mourned the loss of over 7,000 individuals. 

As the war drew to a close in April 1865, the process of healing and reconciliation began. Remarkably, women, particularly in the South, took on the task of tending to the graves of fallen soldiers, displaying a compassionate spirit that transcended the divisions that had torn the nation apart. Their selfless acts of remembrance and care were widely celebrated in Northern newspapers, as they symbolized a willingness to move forward and embrace unity. One individual touched by these gestures was Francis Miles Finch, a northerner who penned the renowned poem "The Blue and The Gray" in 1867. In his heartfelt verses, Finch praised the efforts of these women and recognized their acts of kindness as an olive branch extended across the divide.

"The Blue and The Grey" is not just a poem, but a beautiful ode to oneness that resonates deeply within all of us. In transcending the divide that once existed before the Civil War, it stands as a beacon of hope. It serves as a powerful reminder of the potential to bring people together, rallying around a common cause that unites us all. In a world faced with significant challenges, it reminds us of the urgent need for collective collaboration and harmony. We must strive to embrace this spirit of togetherness, for it holds the key to solving the most pressing problems that humanity confronts today.

The Blue and The Gray

- Francis Miles Finch

By the flow of the inland river,
Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver,
Asleep are the ranks of the dead; —
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day; —
Under the one, the Blue;
Under the other, the Gray.

Those in the robings of glory,
Those in the gloom of defeat,
All with the battle-blood gory,
In the dusk of eternity meet; —
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day; —
Under the laurel, the Blue;
Under the willow, the Gray.