Fallen Civil War soldiers honored in solemn ceremony
RE-ENACTMENT Ladies of the South's Becky Tomerlin places flowers on the grave of a soldier who fought in the Civil War in a re-enactment of the original Memorial Day on Saturday at Rose Hill Cemetery. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star.
By Chris Allen Baker / staff writer
March 31, 2002
A century-old practice of remembering soldiers of the Civil War that led to the creation of a national Memorial Day was renewed Saturday at Rose Hill Cemetery in Meridian.
A Scottish bagpipe player played hymns, leading a procession of Confederate-clad soldiers to the final resting place of Confederate Lt. Charles Read. The grave was marked by Confederate battle flags and adjacent to it stood the U.S. flag, Mississippi state flag and the Christian flag.
Eight women dressed in antebellum attire placed flowers at the graves of 12 fallen Confederate soldiers and one Union soldier buried at Ross Hill, just as a group of women did in Columbus on April 25, 1866.
The Lowndes County women's 1866 marking of more than 1,400 Confederate soldiers' graves and 40 Union soldiers' graves, initially referred to as Decoration Day, eventually resulted in the national Memorial Day celebrated in May for American soldiers in all wars.
Bill East, president of the Friends of Rose Hill Cemetery, said Saturday's reenactment was important to help remember a historical event in Mississippi that changed the country.
Ella Lee Calhoun took a personal interest in the event. Her great-grandfather, Charles M. Rubush, is the only known Union Soldier buried in Rose Hill. He was also an architect who returned to Meridian after the war and helped design and build the Lauderdale County Courthouse, among other buildings.
The reenactment also included flag salutes, a rendition of "Amazing Grace," a rifle salute, and playing of "Taps" and "Dixie," which inspired the crowd to sing along.
The event was sponsored by local chapters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and Sons of Confederate Veterans.