"War kills people and destroys human creation; but as though mocking war's devastation, flowers inevitably bloom through its ruins." -- David W. Blight, "The First Decoration Day"
"Over time several American towns, north and south, claimed to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. But all of them commemorate cemetery decoration events from 1866. Pride of place as the first large scale ritual of Decoration Day, therefore, goes to African Americans in Charleston. By their labor, their words, their songs, and their solemn parade of flowers and marching feet on their former owners' race course, they created for themselves, and for us, the Independence Day of the Second American Revolution." -- ibid.