John Alexander Logan was born in Illinois in 1826. In 1861, he entered the Union Army as Colonel of his 31st Illinois Volunteers, where the volunteers soon nicknamed him “Black Jack” because of his black eyes, black hair, and swarthy complexion. Logan was “regarded as one of the most able officers to enter the army from civilian life.” In less than two years, the army promoted “Black Jack” to major general. When the Civil War ended, “Black Jack” organized former sailors and soldiers into the Grand Army of the Republic, where he declared “The 30th of May, 1886, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” This declaration led to the first celebration of Decoration Day, which later was proclaimed Memorial Day in 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson.
Memorial Day. A day set aside to honor brave Americans who died fighting for our nation during the Civil War, The Spanish-American War, World War One, World War Two, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan. A day to remember Porky Porostovosky and all the Americans like him. A day to remember the last letter Porky wrote in 1944 from his foxhole in France:
“I’m sorry I didn’t write sooner but we were moving so much lately and sending mail was kind of hard that I couldn’t find the time. Now we stopped are facing the enemy. I’m writing this from my little foxhole which is home for a while. I finally got to where I’ve wanted to be for a long time. Here, where I can give these Jerries my 2 cents worth.”
Three days later, Porky was killed in battle.