Saturday, May 24, 2008

GAR of Crittenden County

After the Civil War had ended, the men who had lived together, fought together, foraged together and survived, had developed a bond that could not be broken. As time went by the memories of the filthy and vile environment of camp life began to be remembered less harshly. Friendships forged in battle survived the separation and the warriors missed the warmth of trusting companionship that they had formed.
With this as background, groups of men began joining together for camaraderie and then for political power. Emerging most powerful among the various organizations would be the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR).
For Memorial Day in Crittenden County in May 1905, their G.A.R. No. 31 met at Piney Fork Church and cemetery for the Memorial Day program. From the archives of The Crittenden Press June 2, 1905, we can learn and share their program.
The crowd was large and filled the church. The house was called to order by the Captain, J. M. Walker, after a short but very appropriate address, he called for a song. R. M. Franks and W. A. Woodall led and the congregation joined in the hymn, "My Country 'Tis of Thee." The captain then called on J. Frank Conger to deliver the welcome address. He responded to by saying he felt it a great honor for him to be called on to give the welcome address on an occasion like that as this is a day recognized by our go government as a legal holiday. A day that the people meet at the last resting place of their dead comrades and friends and show respect to them by strewing flowers on their graves. He said we could not do the dead any good by this, but the living might be benefitted and we should not only attempt to show respect tot he dead, but to the living.
At the conclusion Mr. Conger say why we had an obligation to reverence our old soldiers and our flag. He then called for a song and the audience joined in singing "God be with you till we meet again," and the old comrades joined in a farewell hand shake and were dismissed by the chaplain, Eld. W. F. Paris.

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