The end of the Civil War in 1865 left America reeling with over 620,000 Soldiers and Sailors from the Union and Confederate forces having been killed in battle. It was a tragedy far larger than the United States had been equipped to handle – the military had inadequate systems to account for casualties, and national cemeteries were just an idea.
Local commemorations of those lost in the War of the Rebellion occurred throughout the Northern and Southern States, with many but the first national commemoration wasn’t until May 30, 1868, when almost 5,000 people gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to decorate the graves of Union Soldiers killed during the Civil War.
By the end of World War I, Memorial Day had become a day to honor Veterans that had died during any war.
Within Newport’s cemeteries, Veterans from all major conflicts in the history of our nation are buried – from Colonial times through the Global War on Terror.
Despite the spring rain, VFW Post 406 led efforts with the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the Navy Sea Cadets, and the general public to honor the graves of over 1200 Veterans buried in Newport.