Country CousinIssue Date: May 24, 2018
They've gone on ahead.......
On Memorial Day weekend we tend to get so caught up in the excitement of family visits, the opening weekend of summer fun season, graduations, picnics and celebrations that we tend to forget the reason for the day - honoring the dead, particularly those who gave their lives so that we can be free to do the things we love doing, free to prosper or not, depending on how hard we're willing to work at it.
Some nations have separate days for honoring fallen military heroes and departed loved ones, but we in America do not, so Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, has evolved into a day for honoring all who have gone before us, but with particular focus on fallen veterans of all wars.
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day, and observances began shortly after the Civil War ended. In 1950 Congress passed a resolution asking the President to issue a proclamation calling on Americans to observe Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace. It wasn't until 1971 that Memorial Day became an official national holiday.
In 2000 President Bill Clinton signed the National Moment of Remembrance Act, which asks Americans to pause and observe a national moment of remembrance at 3 p.m. (local time), in honor of those who have fallen. A number of organizations throughout the country observe this moment, including Amtrak (whose trains blast their whistles), major league baseball, and NASCAR.
Though societies throughout history have been paying homage to their fallen warriors, the history of America's Memorial Day began as Decoration Day, but there are disputes as to exactly where and when it all started.
There are several arguable claims, and perhaps they are somewhat all true.
In May of 1865, free blacks in Charleston, VA. reburied dead Union prisoners of war and held a cemetery dedication ceremony with many church members participating and strewing flowers on the graves.
In 1866, Waterloo, N.Y. held the first recorded community wide Memorial day observances. The person who organized that celebration had been talking to Major General John A. Logan, and three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans - the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) - established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Logan decreed that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30, possibly because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.
The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.
During the Civil War Columbus, Miss., was a hospital town where both Union and Confederate wounded were brought in by the trainload. Many from both sides died and were buried there. Four women who lived there met at a home on North Fourth Street and made a solemn procession to decorate graves at Friendship Cemetery on April 25, 1866.
As the story goes, one of the women spontaneously suggested that they decorate the graves of the Union as well as the Confederate dead, because each grave contained someone's father, brother or son. An attorney and educator in Ithaca, N.Y., named Francis Miles Finch read about the reconciliatory gesture and wrote a poem about the ceremony in Columbus, "The Blue and the Gray," which The Atlantic Monthly published in 1867.
The final stanza of that poem reads:
"No more shall the war cry sever,
"Or the winding rivers be red;
"The banish our anger forever
"When they laurel the graves of our dead!
"Under the sod and the dew,
"Waiting the judgment-day,
"Love and tears for the Blue,
"Tears and love for the Gray."
A powerful message written for a nation struggling to reunite after the horrible family rending losses of the Civil War, but perfect as a message for people today who want to destroy the powerful lessons of that war.
OLD TIME MEMORIAL DAYS
Long ago, when I was a girl growing up in Marinette, there was huge Memorial Day parade and community picnic in Marinette City Park each year. As grade school kids, we proudly marched in that parade, which ended at the park.
Each year I mourn the loss of the wonderful Crivitz tradition of a Memorial Day parade that, like the Pied Piper, collected followers as it moved through the village. This wasn't a parade with fancy floats, but did include marching members of the American Legion and other veterans' groups, perhaps a military vehicle or two, and the Crivitz school bands. Eventually the parade and everyone who followed it ended up at the cemetery for speeches, taps and suitable honors for those who had fallen.
wish someone, somewhere, would resurrect that tradition.
GIVE THE DAY MEANING
To give your Memorial Day real meaning, take time to decorate the graves and pay tribute to those you have loved and lost, and then attend the Memorial Day graveside services in your community. If you can't find the information elsewhere, contact American Legion members in your community for times of their Memorial Day observances.
Then go have fun doing whatever you love best, whether it's at a community picnic, a backyard barbecue, sailing, fishing, golfing, loafing, or kayaking, rafting or tubing on your favorite river. Water is still pretty cold, but if you're careful you won't get wet unless you want to. Good luck with that!
THINGS TO DO
TIMESland is filled with so many things to do this weekend that no one can possibly get them all in, so we'll have to pick and choose.
Check the bulletin boards and the pages of the Peshtigo Times for events in your community.
There are flea markets and rummage sales everywhere. ATV trails are open again, and segments of some county Highways are now open to connect the tails. Check the maps. The first Crivitz Flea market of the year is on Thursday, May 24, and will continue each Thursday throughout the summer.
The annual Middle Inlet Potluck Reunion is at noon on Thursday, May 24.
Crivitz has its Red, White and Music celebration on Saturday, May 26, and many bars in the area are offering live entertainment as well.
Coming up on is "Pembine's Got Talent," the Mike Bryant Talent Show. Entries are open open to all students, all staff, and all community members, and there will be cash prizes for first through third place. Everyone is invited to come and watch, vote, and share the fun. The show airs live Friday, June 1 at 7 p.m. in the small gym of Pembine High School, complete with a panel of judges and live voting for favorite acts. Anyone willing to showcase their talent should contact Vince Czahor at 715-324-5314 ext. 302 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ON THE SOAP BOX CHANGING HISTORY
According to an article printed a few weeks ago in the Wisconsin State Journal, the Madison City Council on April 10 voted overwhelmingly to remove a second monument to Confederate soldiers at the city-owned Forest Hill Cemetery. The only reason it hasn't been done yet is that the city still needs approval from its own landmarks commission and the state historic preservation offices to make the removal a reality.
"This is nowhere near being done," said Ald. Paul Skidmore, 9th District, who has opposed the monument's removal.
The monument features names of 132 of the Confederate soldiers buried in the Confederate Rest section of the cemetery. It was installed in 1906 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a group the article describes as "known for promoting a "Lost Cause' version of the Confederacy that downplayed the horrors of slavery and the role it played in the Civil War."
In August Madison Mayor Paul Soglin had ordered the removal of a plaque at the site that referred to those buried there as "valiant Confederate soldiers" and "unsung heroes."
Approval from the Landmarks Commission is required because the entire cemetery is deemed a city landmark and is protected by city ordinance. Review of the proposal to remove the monument is expected at the Landmarks meeting on Monday, June 4.
Sort of reminds me of the Cold War days when we made fun of Russia for trying to rewrite history to suit the Communist way of thinking under dictator Joseph Stalin.
Madison should certainly not be proud of its Mayor and City Council!
Incidentally, am saying this as a proud descendant of a lady who lived in Rochester, New York, and put her own life in danger to smuggle escaped slaves to freedom via the underground railroad in the days immediately before and during the Civil War.
STILL ON THE SOAP BOX RIGHT TO DISAGREE
That said, will repeat what has been said here before: Perhaps the most important part of freedom is the right to disagree. I may not agree with what you say, but I'll fight to the death for your right to say it.
(Unless, of course, they are saying that Christians should be killed because they will not agree to worship Allah!)
Other than that, freedom means we tolerate the beliefs of those who disagree with us as well as the thoughts of those who do. Political correctness is not something we should be demanding from those around us.
If we lose the right to dispute, because the words to do it are not politically correct, we have lost any semblance of freedom!
We should preserve history and learn from it, not try to change it to what we think it should have been!
It's upsetting that some folks in today's world are attempting to change history by destroying monuments to those who fought and died in the past for things they believed in, but which are no longer considered acceptable.
Am referring particularly to those attempting to destroy all monuments to the Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. Madison, for example. Shame on them!
That war between the states was not just about slavery, although today's history books would have us believe that it was. It started basically as a dispute over states' rights, with the Confederate states insisting that the Federal government had no right to dictate to them. Remember, at the time of the Civil War the Union was not all that old, and each state had been somewhat its won individual nation before the Union was born.
The Emancipation Proclamation was not signed at the start of the war, it was signed not too long before elections for Abraham Lincoln, and some say it was done as a campaign ploy.
The southern ladies who are often credited with observing one of the first Memorial Days decorated the graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers in their cemetery, declaring that all the fallen had left families who loved them, not just the ones who had fought on their side.
Each of those ladies had probably lost someone she loved in the bloody Civil War - which took the lives of more Americans than all the rest of the wars put together. That they were able to forgive, and honor the fallen on both sides, is a tribute to their greatness.
God bless them! And let us follow their example by honoring the rights of those who do not agree with us as well as the rights of those who do.
Rhubarb and asparagus are plentiful right now, locally grown and delicious. Enjoy them while you can! And do try the Lebanese Kebabs for a new back yard taste treat. Original recipe calls for ground lamb, but ground venison, if you're lucky enough to have some in the freezer, makes an excellent substitute.
This recipe only serves four, so you may want to double it. If you don't have fresh mint available, use about one third the amount of the dried variety. The original recipe calls for ground sumac, but that can readily be replaced with lemon pepper or lemon juice and pepper in any recipe. In the mideast they used sumac when lemons weren't available, but lemon juice is a common ingredient in their recipes today. The sumac that grows here is said to be poisonous, so don't be tempted to use it.
8 ounces ground lamb or ground venison
8 ounces ground beef
1/2 small onion, grated
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1/3 cup mint, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
Combine everything, shape into 1 1/2-inch balls and thread onto skewers. Heat grill to medium-high and grill skewers until cooked, probably 6 to 8 minutes. These are really good with Creamy Dill Cucumbers and grilled baked potatoes.
CREAMY DILL CUCUMBERS
These are good with the meatballs, or as a topping for Pork Schnitzel, which is basically boneless pork chops pounded to about a quarter inch thick, breaded and pan fried. We also like the cucumbers with real mayonnaise and then dill weed or mint stirred in instead of the yogurt mixture.
1/2 cup Greek whole milk yogurt
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped, or 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
2 or 3 mini seedless cucumbers, thinly sliced on the bias
Whisk together everything except the cucumber slices, and then stir in the cucumber.
You can cook these outdoors if you want to, but you have to use a frying pan. In our family, the pan drippings are generally used to make cream gravy. Traditionally, we didn't use the olive oil, and fried them in all butter instead, or butter and lard or shortening.
4 boneless pork chops
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs
1 cup dry bread crumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Lemon wedges, for serving
Cream Gravy, optional
Start with pork chops that are about a half to three quarters of an inch thick. Wrap a meat mallet or heavy can in plastic wrap and use it to pound the chops in a sort of sliding motion until they are completely tenderized and about a quarter of an inch thick. You now have tenderized cutlets. Rub with lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl, and mix flour and crumbs in a separate bowl. Working one at time, dip the cutlets first in the egg wash and then in the flour/crumb mixture, turning to coat completely. Press gently to be sure the crumbs stick. Heat the half the oil and half the butter in a skillet large enough to hold two of the cutlets and fry on medium heat for about two to three minutes per side or until cooked through. Add remaining oil and butter to skillet and cook remaining two cutlets. You want them golden brown, not burnt, so don't have the heat so high that the crumbs scorch.
When the cutlets are cooked, place in a warm oven to keep them hot until you make the gravy. Add salt and pepper to the drippings left from frying the cutlets. Still over medium heat, stir in about three tablespoons flour until it just starts to brown, then add two cups of milk or half and half all at once and stir constantly with a fork, scraping up the crispy bits from the bottom of the pan, until it starts to boil. Boil until it gets as thick as you want it, hopefully about 10 minutes so all the raw flour taste is gone. Some like to add a dash of poultry seasoning to this gravy. Pour over the schnitzels to serve, or serve the gravy over toast, mashed potatoes or hot baking powder biscuits.
OZARK RHUBARB PIE
This pie doesn't need a crust. Takes no time at all to make.
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup nutmeats
1 cup chopped rhubarb (or apples)
Ice cream or whipped topping, optional
Mix dry ingredients, then add everything else and stir until well mixed. Put into a well greased 8-inch pie tin. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Great on its own, or serve with ice cream or whipped topping if you like.
Thought for the week: Let us offer some prayers for those who have lived before us, who fought, each in his or her own way, for what they believed in, and for the freedoms we continue to enjoy. Let us honor their memories by doing our part to preserve those freedoms and the good foundation they left for us to build on.
(This column is written by Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz. Views expressed are her own and are in no way intended to be an official statement of the opinions of Peshtigo Times editors and publishers. She may be contacted by phone at 715-291-9002 or by e-mail to email@example.com.)
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