The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
from Headquarters Grand Army of the Republic, General Orders No.11, Washington, D.C., May 5, 1868, by order of John A. Logan, Commander-in-Chief
June 27, 2003
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today that Lance Cpl. Gregory E. MacDonald, 29, of Washington, D.C., was killed on June 25 in Iraq. MacDonald was killed when the light armored vehicle he was traveling in rolled over.
MacDonald was assigned to Bravo Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Frederick, Md.
August 27, 2003
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today that Spc. Darryl T. Dent, 21, of Washington, D.C., was killed on August 26 in Southeast Arimadi, Iraq. Dent was in a convoy when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle. Dent died of his injuries.
Dent was assigned to the 547th Transportation Company, U.S. Army National Guard, based in Washington, D.C.
This incident is under investigation.
September 15, 2004
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
LtCol. Kevin M. Shea, 38, of Washington, D.C., died Sept. 14 due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
For further information related to this Marine contact the Camp Pendleton Public Affairs Office at (760) 725-5044.
Today I think of Wilred Owen, greatest – and certainly my favorite – of the Great War poets. He was killed on November 4, 1918, just a week before the armistice. His Dulce et decorum est is for another day, though. Not today.
But this, from a letter he wrote in July 1918 to his friend Osbert Sitwell. He describes training the men under his command:
For 14 hours yesterday I was at work – teaching Christ to lift his cross by numbers, and how to adjust his crown; and not to imagine the thirst till after the last halt. I attended his Supper to see that there were not complaints; and inspected his feet that they should be worthy of nails. I see to it that he is dumb, and stands at attention before his accusers. With a piece of silver I buy him every day, and with maps I make him familiar with the topography of Golgotha.
Harold Owen and John Bell ed. Wilfred Owen: Collected Letters. London: Oxford University Press, 1967, letter to Osbert Sitwell – July 3, 1918, letter # 634, 562 (as quoted by Kevin Fielden The Church of England in the First World War (Masters thesis, East Tennessee State University, 2005))