This is a photo of one my family's G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) metal. Hard to believe it was only my grandparents' era where the Civil War was active. My Great Grandpa came home injured and always walked with a limp from that injury. Considering the conditions on the battle fields, the existing medical treatment, the internment camps - he was one of the fortunate ones.
The G.A.R. was first organized in Decatur Illinois by and for Civil War veterans to stay in touch. At one time, there was a G.A.R. post in every state and boasted a membership of almost 500,000.
Members of the G.A.R. were a patriotic group and over the years became more involved in the public life and welfare of all veterans. They were the first veterans' organization to promote membership of blacks, they established "Memorial Day", and eventually established alliance with the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (which is still active.)
At one time, they became involved in the Republican party and five of our Presidents were members of the G.A.R. After the last original Civil War member died in 1956, the official G.A.R. organization was dissolved.
Once I researched my family's membership, I began to realize there were memorials, public and private buildings, and cemeteries donated and dedicated by the G.A.R.
Today, we thank our veterans and pray for the families who have lost sons and daughters while serving our country and for veterans who returned injured and scarred. Take a moment to reflect on all our veterans, throughout the history of this country, and what it means to your way of life today. Thank God they cared enough to protect that way of life, our land and our way of government.
Fly your garden's flag with pride and thanksgiving today, it's through the sacrifice of our veterans that you have the honor.
For more G.A.R. information, visit their museum and library site: http://www.garmuslib.org/