Saturday, May 6, 2017, marked the second annual ‘Decoration Day’ at the Stones River National Battlefield.
Approximately 75 people of different races and walks of life participated the 2017 Decoration Day at the Ebenezer Primitive Baptist Church as well as the Stones River National Battlefield.
Decoration Day began on May 1, 1865, when thousands of formerly enslaved people from Charleston, South Carolina gathered at a nearby race course that served as the burial ground for Federal soldiers. Songs of joy and patriotism rose from the crowd echoing the emotions of the men, women and children no longer bound by slavery.
The participants decorated graves with flowers and wreaths in gratitude for the sacrifice those soldiers made for the freedom of others. Picnics and games followed to celebrate the freedom that had come at such a high cost.
The first Decoration Day set the tone for the African American memory and commemoration of the Civil War for many years including the Cemetery Community near the Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Many thanks to the assembly of organizations that made today’s ‘Decoration Day’ such a success.
- The African American Heritage Society of Rutherford County
- Stones River National Battlefield
- The Friends of the Stones River National Battlefield
- Middle Tennessee State University
- Rutherford County Historical Society