Dedication of the Union Monument at Union

Monroe Watchman
September 5, 1901

The Monument to the Confederate Soldiers of Monroe County Gloriously Dedicated

Twelve Thousand People Witness the Unveiling of this Beautiful Memorial in Granite and Marble - A Splendid Pageant, Noble Addresses, and a great Feast of Plenty and Patriotism - A Day Illustrious in the Annals of Monroe County

The magnificent demonstration last Thursday in honor of the Confederate soldiers of Monroe county has filled the heart of every good citizen with pride and rejoicing. No finer tribute was ever paid to patriotism and valor, and August 29, 1901, is destined to be forever memorable in the history of Monroe county. A perfect day of breeze and sun, an outpouring of the people which broke all records and _____ that was beyond praise and a hospitality that was boundless, all contributed to the triumphant achievement of the honorable purposes for which the day was set apart. The unveiling of the Confederate Monument and the high pleasure and satisfaction with which the noble figure of the silent soldier upon its summit were universally received gave to the day a crown which was fittingly set in place by the eloquent speeches of the distinguished men who addressed the vast assemblage.

When the Confederate advance-guard reached Union on Wednesday, Aug. 28, they found the little town alive with people who were busy as bees. Almost daily rains for three weeks had brought discouragements and for many days lowering clouds had frowned their menace from the skies. Hundreds of yards of decorative material put into place on Monday evening had been ruined in an hour by a drenching rain. And so when at last Wednesday donned the garb of a bright, bonny day, joy and hope blossomed in every patriot heart. With one consent everybody made haste to "fling the banner on the outer wall." Quickly, under Mr. R. J. Crebs and Mr. R. L. Keadle's governance three arches arose on Main street, and while the time the elements had left us was too brief for the best results, yet they speedily became things of beauty, brilliant with color, under the deft touch and direction of helpful ladies. Decorations soon began to appear on every building along the prospective line of march, and many others as well, until the red, white and red, and the Southern Cross, and the Stars and Stripes, too, greeted the eye from every point of view. Many maidens and young men hurried hither and thither in quest of decorations and many a carriage and float grew into fair fabrics of beauty as they merrily worked.

Into this pleasant hubbub came the old soldiers by twos, and threes, and single, and then as the evening wore on, by tens and dozens. There was a genuine welcome for all, and the busy Reception Committee, who are to be sincerely thanked, found a comfortable home for every veteran Confederate who came, either in the town or near it. There were glad meetings of ___ martial music of the Rocky Point Band which came early blended well with the revived memories of the great civil war and the subtle influences of the Reunion eve. A lustrous moon soon lit the scene with the silvery glory of her rays and spoke peace to the old warriors, many of whom just 39 years before to the very hour were moving amid the opening scenes of carnage upon one of the bloodiest battlefields of modern times.

And so the night past.

Dawning Of An Illustrious Day

Thursday morning the sun rose in unclouded splendor and its beams had barely kissed the mountain-tops when the first arrivals drove through the entrance to the Reunion grounds. In a minute or two another carriage load came, and then another and then a stream of vehicles, equestrians and pedestrians that flowed on with increasing volume hour after hour until nearly noon. It had been prophesied that the last great Reunion, addressed in 1897 by Senator Daniel, could not be exceeded in point of numbers, and indeed it had seemed impossible; but when 11 o'clock came it was admitted that the high-water mark had been passed. A great lake of humanity spread out over acres of the lush blue-grass surrounding the monument, and yet the streets of the village were thronged with thousands of others. Stretching away to the south-western extremity of the 100-acre field were long lines of vehicles covering acre after acre - a sight well worth the seeing - parked under the instructions of Officer of the Day John D. McCartney whose painstaking diligence was an invaluable factor in the orderly management of the field and the prevention of accidents. A number of estimates placed the crowd at 15,000, some at 20,000; others thought 10,000 would cover it; but the most of those experienced in such matters put it at 12,000, among them both Col. Arnett and Gov. Echols, and their judgment seems borne out by a calculation based upon the known capacity of the seats prepared in the grove. Certain it is that no such prodigious assemblage ever before gathered in this region of the State, and none in which good order was more admirably preserved.

At 9 1/2 o'clock the glinting of colors and the rapid movement of bedecked horses and vehicles in the Davidson field on the southeastern outskirts of Union marked the assembling of the parade. The rendezvous for the veteran soldiers was in front of the Messrs. Davidson's residence, and thither the music of the Rocky Point Band summoned them. It was a busy half-hour that followed; but Marshals L. E. Campbell, C. E. Lynch and John L. Rowan were equal to the emergency, and they and their comrades of Camp Beirne Chapman, who were charged with the duty of direction and escort, are to be congratulated upon the good effect with which they accomplished the task.

The Pageant

At 10:10 - ten minutes after the hour set - the pageant moved, the Rocky Point Band leading. Then advanced the veteran soldiers of the Confederate armies, led by Col. Chas. S. Peyton, Commander of Camp Mike Foster, formerly Colonel of the 19th Va. Infantry, Garnett's Brigade, Pickett's Division, and a purer-hearted gentleman or a more gallant soldier never drew sword. His empty sleeve was pinned upon his breast and as he passed ladies cast flowers upon him. Behind him marched his comrades of the Confederate legions. Not all the old warriors wre able to take part in the procession, but their column was about 250? strong, and they marched with the conscious pride of men who had done their duty in a glorious cause and faced the world without shame. These were the men who had fought the battles and made history, and at their van Mr. R. S. McCartney carried the old flag of the 27th Va. Infantry, made by the ladies of Union in 1861 and which received its baptism of blood and fire at First Manassas when it was borne above Stonewall Jackson's battle-line to victory. As the old heroes advanced they were greeted with shouts and applause. God bless them, every one! No country ever produced braver or better soldiers or truer patriots and it is meet that they should occupy the first place in last Thursday's great demonstration and ever the first place in the hearts of our people.

Marshals Campbell and Lynch led the next division of the parade. Its first section consisted of a number of carriages bewitchingly decorated and containing the Committee of young ladies to unveil the Monument. They were: Misses Nannie Campbell and Nellie Shanklin, Sponsor and Maid of Honor respectively for Camp Mike Foster, U. C. V.; Misses Myrtle Tomlinson, Jennie Caperton, Bessie Patton, Lucy Leach, Emma Loudermilk, Zella Neel, Wylie Parker, Annie Correll, Kate Dunlap, Andrea Fullen and Harriet Pence; and the Sponsor and Maid of Honor for Camp Beirne Chapman, U. S. C. V., Misses Manna Mann and Mamie Beckett. With gaily embellished horses and vehicles converted into marvels of color and beauty, this feature of the pageant was one of its greatest attractions.

The Sponsors for the Confederate companies from Monroe county comprised the next section. They formed a brilliant cavalcade of young ladies, costumed in the Confederate grey with cap to match and wearing red, white and red sashes with the name of the company each represented lettered thereon. They rode handsome and beplumed horses and were escorted by a detachment of Camp Beirne Chapman. Their personal charms, showy array and fine riding made a most favorable impression, and certainly with such fair vicars the Confederate organizations of the county are not likely to be forgotten. These sponsors were:

Monroe Guards, 27th Va. Infantry, Miss Lona Burdett.

Bryan's Battery, Miss Mary Devine.

Chapman's Battery, Miss Elsie Beamer.

Lowry's Battery, Miss Ada Pyles.

Rocky Point Grays, Miss Etta Morgan.

Morton's Company, Edgar's Battalion of Infantry, Miss Elsie Dunlap.

Reed's Company, Edgar's Battalion, Miss Edith McNeer.

Swan's Company, Edgar's Battalion, Miss Eva Leach.

Lewis Vawter's Co., Clark's Battalion of Infantry, Miss Bessie Gwinn.

Charles Vawter's Company, Clark's Battalion, Miss Amada Rowan.

Osborne's Company, Reserves, Miss Sadie Lewis.

Beirne's Sharpshooters, 60th Va. Infantry, Miss Lola Karnes.

Thurmond's Company of Rangers, Miss Bina Bailey.

The interval between this and the remainder of the procession was filled by the Sweet Springs Band and its music.

The next section of the parade consisted of the Sponsors and Maids of Honor representing the 11 Confederate States. They occupied floats (except that the fair envoys for two States appeared in handsomely trimmed carriages) all beautifully decorated with bunting, flags and banners and in many cases with flower, fruits and cereals characteristic of the State represented. It had been predicted that this feature of the demonstration could not be successfully carried into effect. Nothing of the sort had ever been attempted in the county before and it was said that only in the large towns, where experienced artificers and superior facilities are at command, could floats be prepared and adorned in a manner suitable for spectacular display. It was therefore with delighted amazement that the multitude greeted these structures, each lovely as a dream and, drawn by four horses, moving easily forward like flower-hued ships of a fairy fleet. Upon their roseate decks were grouped the sponsor and her maids of honor, their snowy dresses vivified according to taste and pleasure with the Confederate colors in diversity of forms, - as radiant a company of fair women as ever blest the sight. The name of each State was emblazoned upon a wide banner bearing the Confederate shield or some other appropriate device and borne above its sponsor and her gentle retinue. Unquestionably these young ladies and their friends, whose industry and good taste wrought such a shining triumph in a new field of decorative art deserve the heartiest thanks and congratulations. These charming representatives of the States of the Southern Confederacy were:

LOUISIANA - Sponsor, Miss Ella Faust. Maids of Honor: Misses Mary Johnson, Sue Lynch, Amanda McNeer, Glenna Johnson, Lucie Clarke, Stella Johnson and Mattie Rowan.

TEXAS - Sponsor, Miss Jean Chaison. Maids of Honor: Misses Bettie Claiborne, Maggie Pence, Genevieve Larew, Clara Ellison, Belle Dunlap, Fannie Young and Leila McNeer.

ARKANSAS - Sponsor, Miss Stella McPherson. Maids of Honor: Misses Mollie Loudermilk, Allie Leach, Ethel Neel, Maggie Appling, Mattie Rowan, Carrie Neel, Glenn Pharr and Sutie Appling.

TENNESSEE - Sponsor, Miss Nannie Adair. Maids of Honor: Misses Alma Bouldin, ____, Glenna Dunlap, Rose Hansbarger, Gladdys Hansbarger, Janie Adair and Nellie Adair.

GEORGIA - Sponsor, Miss Nannie Pence. Maids of Honor: _________________, Lena Loudermilk, Effie Loudermilk, Nelle Lynch, Anna Campbell and Mrs. H. N. Ballard.

VIRGINIA - Sponsor, Miss Nettie Campbell. Maids of Honor: Misses Anna Dunlap, Edna Lynch, Cora Leach, Maggie Tomlinson, Bettie Green, Maggie Dunsmore, Mary Erskine, Glenna Johnson, ___ Davis and Lela Saunders.

FLORIDA - Sponsor, Miss Gertrude Lee. Maids of Honor: Misses Maggie Connell, Anabelle Lambert, Mary Conell, Edith Patton, Ethel Nickell, Ermie Hedrick, Vera Dunsmore and Madge Nickell.

SOUTH CAROLINA - Sponsor, Miss Sue Miller. Maids of Honor: Misses Mary Butts, Grace Koontz, Jennie Wilson, Lillian McNeer, Sallie Miller, Ada Miller, Maude Broyles and Mrs. G. E. Boone.

NORTH CAROLINA - Sponsor, Miss Bettie Thomas. Maids of Honor: Misses Rosa Miller, Minnie Coulter, Annie Thomas, Ella Ballard, Sadie Broyles, May Miller and Lucy Lively.

ALABAMA - Sponsor, Miss Stella Black. Maids of Honor: Misses Minnie Irons, Emma Nickell, May Hamilton, Lula Nickell, Beulah Early, Ollie Nickell, Esther Curry and Rachel Boyd.

MISSISSIPPI - Sponsor, Miss Ela Leach. Maids of Honor: Misses Polly Jarrett, Annie Gwinn, Georgia Coalter, Lizzie Coalter, Mary Correll, Lula Skaggs, Mabel Tracey and Grace Shields.

Camp Beirne Chapman as a mounted troop gave safe conduct and guard to each division of the young ladies.

Greeted by cheers and hand-clapping the pageant advanced with stateliness through great lanes of people. The scene was one of veritable enchantment, as the eye glanced down the vista of its route. The rich, warm colorings, the waving banners, the bright-eyed girls, and first of all the veterans of a hundred battles far up at the front with the old flag of the South floating above them - all conspired to thrill the heart and rejoice the vision.

At The Monument

When the sheeted Monument was reached the Confederate veterans forced their way through the dense crowds to the enclosure reserved for them. A moment later way was also made thitherward for the unveiling committee. The remainder of the parade swept on and presently wheeling to the left drew up in alignment facing the monument - but a hundred yards away, for no nearer approach could be made through the huge throng.

Meanwhile Col. Peyton had appeared upon the stand in front of the Monument, his tall form in Confederate grey looming up grandly above the heads of the stupendous assemblage. Invoking silence with a gesture, he delivered an eloquent and touching address of welcome. The chiseled type of manhood about to be unveiled, he said, represented the Confederate soldier as "we were when forty years ago we went out to the war, a host of young men." He gloried in the hallowed past commemorated in this great demonstration here today, and whenever he denied the justice of the Confederate cause or forgot his love for the Confederate soldiers he would deserve to be cast off by his wife and children and receive the scorn of all gallant and honorable men. Some of his comrades before him, he said, took pride in having fought under that renowned captain and man of God, Stonewall Jackson, one of whose greatest victories was won at Second Manassas 39 years ago today; some took pride in having followed the daring cavalry leader, J. E. B. Stuart whose troopers rode around McClellan's puissant army while all the world wondered; some took pride in having followed the dashing and dauntless Pickett to the bloody heights of Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg; but all rejoiced in the proud remembrance that they were the soldiers of the matchless Lee, the stainless Christian gentleman and hero, the grandest man of the ages. The beauteous daughters of the Confederate soldiers who graced this occasion, he said, were sweet reminders of the devoted women of the Confederacy who kissed their loved ones good-bye and sent them out to the battle for home and country's sake; and, amid scenes of bloodshed and horror, volunteered to every sacrifice and privation and stripped themselves even of linen to provide bandages for the wounded. These are the sacred memories which should ever be held in the sanctuary of our hearts.

Col. Peyton concluded by introducing the Chaplain of Camp Mike Foster, Rev. Dr. M. L. Lacy. We greatly regret that we are unable to secure even a synopsis of Dr. Lacy's prayer. But indeed no syllabus could do it justice. Fervent and strong, expressive of steadfast faith in the goodness of God amid all the storms of life, breathing confidence in the righteousness of the cause for which the men of the South suffered and died and invoking the blessing of our Heavenly Father upon their example that it might be an inspiration and stimulus to the living to apply the principles of truth, honor and courage to the great problems of the present and future, his prayer made a profound impression, the best testimony of which was seen in the tears which filled many eyes.

The Veil Withdrawn

When Dr. Lacy had concluded, the young ladies assigned to the honorable task pulled the cords which held the white mantle concealing the Monument and instantly the veil fell away, disclosing with fine effect the beautiful white figure and the handsome pedestal supporting it. A shout went up from the multitude and hats and kerchiefs were waved. A moment's pause, and then there swelled upon the breeze the melody of

"Auld Lang Syne,"

Led by two cornetists, Mr. W. A. Gray conducting. No song of the heart is more tender or melting, and as the sweet old words rose to the lips of the great throng the grey-haired veterans clasped hands and sought to join in the singing. But a troop of memories rushed upon them from the past, glorified by a nation's holy passion and consecrated by the blood of brother and boyhood friend, and many wept as they sang. It was indeed a heart-stirring incident, full of pathos and emotion, and no shame to any that it was so.

The march was then taken up for the adjacent grove of kingly sugar maples where an imposing array of seats for many thousands of people had been prepared.

We will not repeat here the descriptions already published, but before following the crowd to the grove we will say that the Monument has received the highest encomiums from all who have seen it. The statue is especially admirable ____ 6 feet in height, is not only most skillfully and gracefully wrought, but the face is a noble one, speaking of resolution and sincerity. It has all the charm of youth ___ to earnestness and courage, and the pose is perfect. The snowy whiteness of the Italian marble is well calculated to impress the beholder with the purity and beauty of the conception. We know of no soldier's monument anywhere with which it does not favorably compare. May it stand for centuries to speak to generations yet unborn of the valor and virtues of the men Monroe county gave to the Confederate armies!

In the majestic grove the colossal audience was called to order at 11:15 o'clock by Judge A. N. Campbell. The speaker' stand was adorned with bunting and Confederate flags and the _____ Davis and Gen. Robert E. Lee looked down upon the meeting. Five thousand people were seated in front of and about the platform, and through the avenues of the incomparable grove and its curtains of green could be seen countless other thousands, unable to get within hearing. The ladies were out in great force, and the bright tints of their dresses and the flags and banners that caught the eye in every direction accentuated the richness of a scene at once animated and lovely.

Governor Echols

Judge Campbell presented as the first speaker Hon. Edward Echols, Lieut. Governor of Virginia, and a great burst of applause evidenced the heartiness of the welcome vouchsafed to one whom Monroe county has always been proud to claim as a native-born son. Gov. Echols' speech of 20 minutes was a genuine gem of oratory. He professed himself incapable of meeting the demands of this august occasion, though his heart was filled with the emotions of gratitude. It was to him, he said, a proud and ineffable pleasure to be remembered in this place where he once lived. He paid an eloquent tribute to Monroe county and her people, dwelling in exquisite language upon the remembrances of youth and the friends of long ago - names, said he, that move the heart and thrill the memory. Monroe county would ever be identified with the happiest associations of his life. Here he had learned from his sainted mother that fidelity to duty was the best proof of a noble character, here were spent the joyous days of his boyhood and here his earliest friendships had been formed. In a touching reference to his father, the speaker gratefully alluded to the respect and esteem shown by the people of Monroe for one whose heart beat true to the Confederate soldier and who now has passed from the shores of time. He referred in glowing phrase to the stately monument unveiled today and this splendid scene, giving them a beautiful interpretation. The speaker drew a vivid picture of the departure of the Monroe Guards in 1861 from Union, and followed it with the roll of other companies soon thereafter organized in the county. These men, he declared, were heroes and patriots and it is right that we should commemorate their valor and devotion. This monument is a memorial to our own kindred and designed to perpetuate the splendid moral lesson which their lives teach. Gov. Echols closed with a fervent invocation for the peace and welfare of our reunited country. His speech was punctuated with gusts of applause and was deeply appreciated by the vast audience. Before taking his seat he introduced Col. W. W. Arnett, of Wheeling, formerly of the 20th Va. Cavalry, whom he described "as brave and chivalrous in war as distinguished in peace."

Col. Arnett's Address

Col. Arnett well sustained his high reputation as a public speaker and delighted his hearers. We come today, said he, to retrospect the proudest chapter of our history, to touch the harp of "auld lang syne," to reaffirm our respect for the defenders of the South and to enshrine the memory of those who died for that cause. We do so in the dedication of this superb monument. The noble thought of which it is the consummation was suggested by one of your former distinguished citizens, who at the outbreak of hostilities was first made Captain of one of your companies, then Colonel of the 27th Va. Infantry, and later a General in the Confederate service. I need hardly say that I refer to the late Gen. John Echols. [Great applause]. His splendid frame contained a great and noble heart, and his contribution pledged to this monument was in keeping with both. After his lamented death his son, not so large in frame but equal in heart - took the father's place in this undertaking with surpassing generosity. We though they were going to make him Governor of old Virginia this year, and that he ought to have been Governor we will all agree. [Loud applause.] But this monument was not a possibility until the ladies took hold of it. The fact is - God bless 'em! - we can't get along without 'em in anything. [Great applause and laughter.] The speaker cited Bunker Hill Monument and the renaissance of Mt. Vernon as examples of what women have accomplished. I tell myself, said he, although I am married, that I am my own master; but I notice that along the paths I tread and in the dispositions I suppose myself to have made, invariably a lovely woman points the way. [Laughter.]

Col. Arnett eloquently answered the charge that it is treasonable to raise monuments to Confederate soldiers. It is not treasonable, he declared. Resentment stops at the grave. Why should we not honor those who fought and fell for us? Alluding to the sylvan beauty of Monroe county he said that anybody would be brave who fought for such a country for none that he had ever seen presented more allurements.

They say we of the South are non-progressive, and behind the times. Well, we never offered any boot for a swap with any other country, did we? Our men are as brave and true, and our women as chaste and beautiful as any on the footstool of God.

Of the tumults of the civil war he said: If we stand to the ___ of defeat we don't stand in the shadow of dishonor.

___________ And they say we are not entitled to the glory of the conflict. I do not refer to the honest Federal soldiers who fought us bravely but to the cruel critics who have arisen since the war, if they say the North saved the Union we answer that the South made the Union. Shall we not honor those of our own people who died? They indeed sleep upon the field of glory even though their graves may be marked only by a bramble.

Col. Arnett welcomed a reunited country and cited the Spanish-American war as affording happy proofs of the good faith of the South. It was a pride and pleasure to him that the first American soldier to set foot upon the soil of Cuba was not only a Southerner but a child of his own State and the son of his old friend, Col. John M. Rowan - the gallant Capt. A. S. Rowan who carried the now famous message to Garcia. (Here, as at many other portions of his admirable speech, the _____ listened broke into tremendous applause.

Continuing the speaker said the only test was: Were you sincere? The wager of battle does not demonstrate the righteousness of a cause. Who would fall so low as to consent that his father or brother who did a soldier's duty under the Confederate flag should not be mentioned except with bated breath? He was told sometimes by the other side when other arguments had become thread-bare: "O, but we licked you and that shows who was right." "I say, you didn't. I say we just wore ourselves out thrashing you." He could prove we have the right to withdraw from the Union, the speaker said, "if they would let me." And prove it he did, with the keenest of logic, commencing with Virginia's written reservation of the right to withdraw when she ratified the Federal Constitution at the beginning. Col. Arnett told how his own son had been taught to believe that his father was a traitor by a partisan school teacher, and warned parents to teach their children the truth.

Monroe county came out of the great strife, he averred, without a stain of dishonor. Don't let them think you were not honest. You have done well and wisely to erect this monument to the boys of your county. Keep their memory green. Teach your children devotion to the American Republic and her institutions. The remnant of "the thin grey line" is dissolving fast. Soon will come the last sombre drum-taps, the order, "lights out" and the dawning of the immortal glories of the Elysian fields. And when the great roll-call is heard in the heavenly eternity may there be no absentees from the Confederate lines.

When the long-continued applause with which Col. Arnett's lofty peroration was received had subsided, Judge Campbell came forward and read a letter to Mr. Hugh Caperton from Col. Geo. M. Edgar, which, for the satisfaction of the survivors of his Battalion, we print in full below:

Paris, Ky., Aug. 26, 1901. - Dear Hugh: I have read your letter to sister Kate. I should like so much to attend the Reunion at Union on the 29th. Up to today I had hoped to go, but I find I cannot leave my business. So I write to ask you to express my regrets to the members of y Battalion and Brigade, and to request the men of my Battalion to make out a full list of the names, post offices and ages of those present. Also their companies. I wish to gather data for a history of the Battalion, and wish them all to write up, at their homes, any incidents of the battles in which they were engaged or other interesting matter and mail their communications to me at Paris, Ky. They had better make off lists of the names of each company - those present and as many who are absent from the Reunion as they can report. I wrote Captains Swan and Morton asking them to go, but I doubt if either can do so. I wish Morton to write the history, but he is disposed to put the work on me. I can not tell you how much I would like to be with you.

I must hurry to a close as I have to take the train for Lexington in a few minutes. With love to your family and kind greetings to the soldiers,

Yours truly,
Geo. M. Edgar

A Miracle Of Hospitality

The call to dinner was then sounded and upon the green award and beneath the leafy arches of the temple of the woods was spread a feast of fat things that would have fed an army. The management of the Commissary Department, thanks to the good ladies of the county, certainly left nothing to be desired and the heartiness of the hospitality was only equalled by its abundance. Men went hither and thither through the crowd begging all whom they met to come and dine, and many received not less than a dozen invitations. Brotherly love reigned supreme, and not only was the seemingly impossible task of feeding 12,000 people accomplished, but bushels and almost wagon-loads of provisions were carried back by householders disappointed in the generous hope of finding guests with appetites as big as the bounty of their would-be-hosts.

The afternoon was given up to Reunion joys, the meetings and the greetings of soldier comrades, and social pleasures generally, while the music of the Rocky Point and Sweet Springs Bands floated out upon the breezes of the blithe summer day.

Later, the enormous gathering dispersed as merrily as it had assembled, leaving in the community only a rear guard of the old soldiers who held gladly-accorded possession until the following day.

The dignity and decorum which marked this memorable event redound greatly to the credit of our county. That such a huge assemblage could be held without a fight, or a quarrel or a single ebullition of rowdyism is just ground for pride.

It was in all its aspects an illustrious day illustriously observed.

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