Essays JOHN ANTHONY C ASEY, JR. "No one, not even our sons, can appreciate the memories of camp and march, of bivouac and battle, as those who were participants therein; the scenes of the great struggle can never be to them what they were to us." The passage above was part of an address delivered by Grand Army of the Republic commander George Merrill at the organization's national convention in 1882. His remarks were made in response to debates within the Grand Army's membership concerning whether the sons of Union veterans should be allowed a more active role in the organization. Merrill argued, and the majority of those in attendance at the convention agreed with him, that it was better for the Grand Army to cease to exist rather than dilute veteran identity by allowing their sons the right to full participation. Instead, Merrill believed that the male descendents of veterans should strive to promote the legacy of their fathers through such organizations as the Sons of Veterans.1 Southern veterans' groups like the United Confederate Veterans were less exclusive than the Grand Army in the roles they offered to their sons, but still maintained a firm distinction between
American Literary Realism – University of Illinois Press
Published: Sep 21, 2011
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