We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
The poem is from World War I, but the tintype is of Sammy Marvel, 1842–1864. He died in the battle of Atlanta on his twenty-second birthday. He was my great-great uncle.
Decoration Day as an event was started shortly after the Civil War but was not celebrated in many southern states until after World War I. When I was a child, it was on May 30 and had become a day when we decorated all our kinfolks’ graves. My family graves are too far away so I decorate the grave of Mother George, a Civil War nurse. She spent the war looking after Indiana troops and died of typhoid fever on her way home at the end of the war. Since I was a military nurse, I have long felt an affinity for her.