In the years following the bitter Civil War, a former Union general took a holiday originated by former Confederates and helped spread it across the entire country.

The holiday was Memorial Day, and the 2018 commemoration on May 28 marks the 150th anniversary of its official nationwide observance. The annual commemoration was born in the former Confederate States in 1866 and adopted by the United States in 1868. It is a holiday in which the nation honors its military dead.

Gen. John A. Logan, who headed the largest Union veterans fraternity at that time, the Grand Army of the Republic, is usually credited as being the originator of the holiday.

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Even this Confederate general thought monuments were a bad idea. His reasons make sense.

He thought they would continue to divide the country. He was right.

On Aug. 17, Donald Trump started the day as only he could: with a full-throated defense of the Confederacy.

Responding to renewed calls to remove Confederate monuments around the country, Trump decried action, defending them on aesthetic (yes, the man who plates everything in gold and slaps his name on it has thoughts on style) and historical grounds. Sigh.

While Trump might not take advice from those in the #FakeNewsMedia, there's one person he should hear on this issue: Robert E. Lee.

Yes, that Robert E. Lee. Confederate Gen. Robert. E. Lee.

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James Madison is known as the "father of the Constitution." But while he and the convention delegates built the country on paper, slaves were building it everywhere else.

Today, Madison's historic home Montpelier is open to the public. Visitors can explore the mansion, the Madison family cemetery, acres of picturesque hills, and learn more about Montpelier's enslaved community by touring slaves' quarters.

The mansion at Montpelier. All images via James Madison's Montpelier, used with permission. Photo by Pam Soorenko.

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For months, this girl painted a frightening picture of Aleppo. Today, she's finally safe.

Bana al-Abed is safe, but there are still others who need our help.

There's some good news from Aleppo: 7-year-old Bana al-Abed and her family have been safely evacuated out of the Syrian city.

Over the course of the past several months, Bana and her mother Fatemah have live-tweeted the reality of life in a war zone. With more than 340,000 followers, Bana's Twitter account has helped put a face to the horrors facing the city.

Last week, Bana's followers watched as she and her mother tweeted final messages and waited for the end. Their fate uncertain, supporters braced for the worst.

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