History with Holly: Decoration Day

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By Hattie Lawton Ficklin
“Decoration Day” was a favorite holiday for me when I was a child. We spent all day in town. I watched the parade, or ran behind it, in the morning. My family and I attended the ceremony at the National Cemetery after the parade. When I was in elementary school, some of the elementary children staked the flags at the cemetery for this important day. The streets were lined with tables laden with all kinds of food — cakes, fish, shrimp, chicken, pork chops, oysters, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, and many other delicacies that showed off the cooking of our parents and grandparents from which a meal could be prepared and sold. The carnival was in town, and we could ride the attractions as well as go to some of the shows. It was a day of fun from morning until evening.
The year that hurt me the most was the year that I waited all day to go to Decoration Day and my grandparents didn’t tell me to get dressed because we were going to Beaufort. When I heard the train late in the evening, I knew something had happened because we didn’t have Decoration Day. The reason was the Second World War was going on and we couldn’t have the traditional celebration that year.

Beaufort Then & Now: This moment in Beaufort’s history is an excerpt from the book “Beaufort … Then and Now,” an anthology of memories compiled by Holly Kearns Lambert. Copies of this book may be purchased at Beaufort Book Store. For information or to contribute your memory, contact Holly at lowcountrymemories@hotmail.com or beaufortmemories@gmail.com.