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American soldier and clergyman
(19th century)

It is very pleasant to have the opportunity to grasp the friendly hand of those who thought so diametrically opposite, thirty years ago. It proves time not only heals, but also cools the blood, gives more mature judgment, enabling each to overlook the past, and while we do not claim t forget those dark hours in our life, nor withdraw an iota, nor impugn the motives or sincerity of an opponent, we can each forgive and while we let the dead past bury its dead, rejoice in the sunshine of the present, that brings comfort and happiness to all parts of our native land, as we remember above and over all else, we are American citizens.
      - [Decoration Day]

The best men we had in each of these two regiments are not visibly present with us now; the best and truest of our number lie buried on the battlefields of the south; some were clad in gray, some in blue; no towering monument marks their resting place, nor massive monolith stands sentinel. Buried where they fell, baptizing the soil with their blood, forever consecrating the ground, making it holy, while their life and death tell the world the story of how an American will fight, and if necessary die for what he believes to be the right.
      - [Decoration Day]

The light that shines from a patriot's grave is a pure and holy light, and while we are guided by it we shall never go into the paths of treason and rebellion. Let that light illuminate our pathway, and the noble example of the dead strengthen our love of country and devotion to duty. When patriotism in the hearts of the people is dead all is lost. It is the life-blood and soul of the national existence, the animating fire which makes a people great, and their history grand and beautiful.
      - [Decoration Day]

They pass before us like a long procession coming from their camping grounds amid the cemeteries, the battlefields, the graveyards of he south. To us they are no longer dead, they live--we can almost hear their well-known voices as with flashing eye, active limb, courageous lion hearts, once more they are with us, side by side, the blue, the gray, the private, the officer; on they pass, those who died at Roanoke, at Camden, at South Mountain, at Antietam, at Fredericksburg, and the battlefields of the south. Hayes and McComas, Kimbal, Sturges, Gadsden, Hamilton, Barnett, Wright, Reno, Jackson and Burnside, Grant and Lee.
      - [Decoration Day]

You who went forth with a mother's benediction; you who bade farewell to the children who received your last embrace at the place of embarkation; you who faced the enemy so boldly in the charge; you who died amid the carnage of battle alone alone, while the very stars of God seemed to look in pity upon you. O yes, you, you, my countrymen, whether from Georgia, or New York, tonight, these--the remnant of more than 2,000 men--these your comrades gathered here, salute you as we bring to mind your faithfulness as soldiers, and rejoice with you that our country has passed from the hurricane to the calm; from out of all that crash, of which we were part, to liberty; union, brotherly love, and peace.
      - [Decoration Day]

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