DECORATION DAY

DECORATION DAY

The tradition of honoring Manito’s fallen Veterans has existed for many years.

Manito had a post of the Grand Army of the Republic during the first phase of the organization which begin shortly after the Civil War.  The national organization slowly disintegrated and dissolved in the 1870’s but Illinois was one of the few states that maintained a State organization.  Other city and state organizations joined the Illinois group and before long the GAR re-emerged but this time as a national political force that was responsible for the election of many candidates.   An 1894 issue of the Manito Express stated that Manito’s Chapter had recently been founded but must have actually been more of a revival of the original group.   

The group of veterans as they got older began to pass away at an accelerated rate.  The GAR knew that eventually they would need new members to carry on the goals of the organization but at the same time didn’t want to allow “non-veterans” as members.   It was decided that a “Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War” be developed as a successor to the GAR.  In 1965 the last living member of the GAR died.

Adrew Pollard was the commander of the Manito Post[1].   Every “Decoration Day” the Manito Post # 762 would meet at the original old depot on  Broadway.  The town’s citizens would also gather and with the GAR leading the way the entire group would parade to Oak Grove Cemetery where the graves of all the veterans were decorated.

The picture  shows the cemetery’s old wooden archway decorated with flags.  The crowd of people are gathered around the location of some of the veteran’s graves and conducting their annual ceremony.  This scene is likely prior to WW 1


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