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Entrance to Oakwood Cemetery from Lafayette Street Macomb May 30, 1899
Entrance to Oakwood Cemetery from Lafayette Street Macomb May 30, 1899
TitleEntrance to Oakwood Cemetery from Lafayette Street Macomb May 30, 1899
Photo Number000582.JPG
CollectionDigital Image Collection (Western Illinois University)
Date Photograph TakenMay 30, 1899.
KeywordsNorth Lafayette Street Horse Buggy Memorial Day Parades Festivals Celebrations Macomb Cemeteries Cemetery Oakwood
Subject HeadingMacomb--Festivals (Memorial Day Parade)
DescriptionThis shows the Lafayette Street entrance to Oakwood Cemetery as it looked May 30, 1899. "Memorial Day, or 'Decoration Day, ' as it was often called a century ago, was a deeply meaningful community ritual through which the people of Macomb annually affirmed what the statue in Chandler Park symbolized. The observance had a kind of religious significance in that it celebrated the unity of all Americans--the national community--by memorializing the local community's role in the sacred episode that had preserved and unified the nation--the Civil War. As L.Y. Sherman said in a Memorial Day address at Quincy in 1899, 'This is a holiday not for merrymaking, but to commemorate the deeds of both the living and the dead. It is a better day than the Fourth of July because its memories are deeper and holier.' The people of the community carried out the ritual without deviation, like participants in a communion service, as if by their unified, ritualized performance they would thereby assure the perpetuation of the Union, the nation. As a 'Macomb Journal' article pointed out on May 31, 1899, 'It has been the aim of those who have charge of the day's observance to make as little deviation one year from another as possible; this being the case, the 6, 000 to 8, 000 citizens who, each recurring 30th of May, turn out and observe the occasion, know what will be done, and each individual knowing their part, the whole moves as one great machine....' The ritual included a procession to Oakwood Cemetery and a service amid the graves, at which an address was given on the war and its significance. The original of such graveyard speeches was, of course, the Gettysburg Address, which was often referred to by the Memorial Day speakers....Among other things, the Memorial Day observance was a means of acculturing the children of the community, of helping them comprehend the meaning of America through sharing in the sacred ceremony." "Macomb: A Pictorial History, " by John E. Hallwas.
Source/Publisher/DonorJacobson Norton Collection
Location of Original PhotoJacobson Norton Events Album
RightsWIU Libraries Archives & Special Collections -- All Rights Reserved. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this image, contact the WIU Archives and Special Collections at malpass-archives@wiu.edu.
Timestamp20040213133838
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