I have written before about Memorial Park, a venue in my City that is dedicated to all Lincoln Park fallen war heroes. There is a permanent granite monument honoring those service personnel, and, in pre-pandemic times, the City’s annual parade always preceded the solemn ceremony of laying the wreaths for all military factions in front of the war memorial. After that moving ceremony, a lone bugler played “Taps”.
Our City is named for President Lincoln and his visage is found all around our town. The guest of honor in the Memorial Day parade bears a striking resemblance to the 16th President, with his tall and slender physique, bearded face and stovepipe hat. He waves to the crowds lining the curb as he walks the mile-long parade route alongside his wife Mary Todd Lincoln. But there’s been none of that frivolity, followed by the solemn honoring of the dead, for two years due to COVID.
I was surprised to learn that Memorial Day’s origins were in part due to President Lincoln. Although the term “Memorial Day” has been used since the 1880s, this commemoration event/holiday was officially known as “Decoration Day” for more than a century. It was President Lincoln’s intent after the Civil War to honor the war dead that gave the ultimate sacrifice “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and his widow and his orphan” and this became part of this president’s legacy.
Flags for remembrance.
The Lincoln Park Exchange Club places about fifty flags throughout the Memorial Pavilion area every year around Memorial Day. However, every few years “The Healing Field” comes to Memorial Park, and, although I wrote about the traditional fifty flags just last year, when I read in the local newspaper that this special event would be there from May 16th to 30th, I made a point to stop by.
My visit was last week, in the morning, before leaving to walk at Council Point Park. I had hoped to see the flags flapping briskly in the wind, just like a smart salute an officer would give his superior, but it was a balmy morning and it seemed most of the flags were still. I wish I could have made a panorama shot as these photos simply don’t do “The Healing Field” justice.
What makes “The Healing Field” so special is that each of the 200 full-size (3 X 5 foot) Colonial Flag Foundation American flags honors one of our City’s military personnel. For example, each flag has an I.D. tag. There are 134 flags in honor of a Lincoln Park soldier or sailor who died in service to their country and whose name is memorialized on the Lincoln Park War Memorial. These are two examples:
Additionally, 64 flags are placed in honor of someone who is now serving, or who has served, in the armed forces.
Yesterday, in a ceremony at the Pavilion, the named flags of deceased military personnel were given to the families of the war dead, if they desired to purchase one.
The City has always honored its war dead, perhaps due to an allegiance to the president for which Lincoln Park is named, or simply because it is the right thing to do.
I will leave you with this quote by President Abraham Lincoln.
[Image of President Lincoln’s quote from Pinterest]