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CHARLES E. ALLISON
American clergyman and author
(1847 - 1908)

A shot fired at the old flag aroused the anger of a great people. Who can describe those historic years? The heavens were suddenly black. Fierce eagles of war flew across the lurid clouds. The awful storm rolled thunders along the sky. Reverberating, they shook the Atlantic coast and the banks of the Mississippi. They crashed over Antietam, Vicksburg, and Gettysburg. Forked lightnings played among the clouds around Lookout Mountain. Fire ran along upon the ground in Tennessee, and in Virginia, swamps and rivers were turned to blood. It was the nation's midnight. The death angel was abroad with unsheathed sword. There was a great cry in the land, for there was not a house among half a million where there was not one dead. Four years the storm raged. The iron hail rattled incessantly, prostrating armed men, and crushing woman's tender heart. It was a deluge of blood. Then muttering thunders ceased; the clouds broke away, and out of the blue sky a dove came, and lo! in her mouth was an olive leaf. More than a quarter of a century has passed. Peace still abides. "Over the cannon's mouth the spider weaves his web." But while mighty people are busied with great enterprises, they do not forget--cannot forget--the brave men who purchased peace by their valor and blood.
      - [Decoration Day]

For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue. For the noblest man that lives there still remains a conflict. He must still withstand the assaults of time and fortune, must still be assailed with temptations, before which lofty natures have fallen; but with these the conflict ended, the victory was won, when death stamped on them the great seal of heroic character, and closed a record which years can never blot.
      - [Decoration Day]

Memorial Day is one of the most significant and beautiful occasions of the year. It shows the sentiment of the people toward those who gave their lives for a good cause, and it teaches a lesson in patriotism which is without a parallel.
      - [Decoration Day]

The Union army demonstrated the stability of representative government. In the estimation of Europe the American Republic was an experiment. Would it go to pieces by the earthquake shock of civil war? Jealous kings said "Yes," but when the red lips of Grant's cannon thundered "No!" thrones trembled.
      - [Decoration Day]

When the war began thousands of young men, the flower of American youth, were looking out of college halls upon a future bright with professional honors. They flung books aside and seized rifles. They became "History's Graduates." Hundreds of thousands of young Americans were anticipating a future replete with the profits and emoluments which reward business genius and integrity. Straightway they abandoned cherished life plans in order to defend free institutions.
      - [Decoration Day]


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