West Virginia serves an important and unique historical perspective on this day. West Virginia broke from the Commonwealth of Virginia during the Civil War and was admitted to the Union as a seperate state on June 20 1863. I grew up in New Martinsville, West Virginia about 5 miles south of the Mason-Dixon Line that represents the historical division between North and South. The Mason-Dixon Line along with the banks of the Ohio River which I grew up on served as the division between free and slave states.
A must read for all West Virginians on this day is the "Declaration of the People of Virginia Represented in Convention at Wheeling, June 13, 1861." You can read more about the formation of West Virginia at the West Virginia Division of Culture and History online exhibit, A State of Convienience: The Creation of West Virginia.
Blawg Review has a special Memorial Day Blawg Review #59 honoring Memorial Day. The edition has some great links to look at, reflect on and pass along to your friends and family, including the following:
Andy Rooney, we need to use the past history of Memorial Day to point to the future. Be sure to tell your children about the importance of Memorial Day or Decoration Day, as my dad calls it. Memorial Day is a time for West Virginians to remember why Mountaineers Are Always Free and will continue to fight for freedom in many ways.