In its 2nd year of existence the GAR instilled a duty on the service men either serving or former, in having a day each year that they would be required to honour those who were killed in war. Originally called Decoration Day, today it has evolved into what is called Memorial Day. Those originally honoured have expanded to all those who died while in service. Americans now celebrate it on the last Monday of May. It was originally held on another day but has become sadly, more akin to the marking of the beginning of summer. For convenience it has been affixed on a Monday, the last of each May, to give all a long weekend. Quite a move from the original intent.
Here is general Logan's Order #11 from back in 1868....
Original dates and purposes aside, people on both sides of the Canada/US border gather several times a year to honour those men and women who now serve or have served in the past. And so it should be.
The plaque pictured here was of a type designed many years ago by a group of veterans and others including the then President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. A fellow named Charles MacGillivary, a MOH recipient for heroism during the WW ll Battle of the Bulge in France. Charles was from PEI. His MOH was earned just about 700 Km east of where Hayes earned his MOH during the famous battle at Cherbourg France between the Confederate powerful raider the CSS Alabama and the Union's USS Kearsarge. Hayes was Captain of one of its powerful cannons. Ironically the distance between Cherbourg at the where the battle of the Bulge took place is also around 700 Km.
The Hayes marker indicates that John's wife Mary is buried with him. In front of their marker is the familiar star of the GAR, an organization which regular readers have read much about in past blogs here. But on the right is something new. Here you see the flag that was introduced by the federal government back in 2002. It was designed by a fellow from Jefferson County Iowa. Rather fitting since the MOH was actually first proposed by an Iowa Senator back in 1961. He was at the time, the Senate's Chair of the Naval Committee and proposed the medal for the navy. A similar proposal came months later for an army medal.
In contacts with me recently, a descendant of John Hayes tells, with pride, of his purchase of the flag, and travelling to the grave site to place the flag.
The designer of the above flag comes from Jefferson County, Iowa. When the flag was approved, that same county was given the honour of flying the very first of these flags, and did so over a grave of a WW ll air force MOH veteran's grave. All Medal of Honor recipients, deceased or living, are entitled to one.
This year, on Memorial Day the "Sons" went to the Iowa Cemetery where Hayes and dozens of other Civil War veterans and no doubt many others are also buried and performed suitable ceremonies. A service was also held at the marker for Canadian John Hayes.
This image is believed to be part of that later ceremony. Unfortunately the Hayes graves does not appear to be in the image. But note the GAR star marker in the foreground near 2 other markers.
Using "Google Earth" I managed to capture this air shot of the Cemetery, as shown on the left. By enlarging, at right there is something interesting to see. When you have a second look at the GAR monument near the top of this blog, and then come down to this enlargement, have a close look at the top of the photo. At mid point the shadow is the giveaway. It appears to be GAR monument.
Back on Wednesday.