Memorial Day l950s

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by rockgor, May 31, 2010.

  1. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    This is how we observed Memorial Day during my youth in a village in SE Minnesota.

    The program began with a parade at noon which ran from the bottom of Main Street
    to the city park, a distance of two blocks. There were four units in the parade.
    The Color Guard, the American Legion, the High School Band, and the Boy Scouts.
    Kids on bikes trailed behind.

    My father was in the Color Guard. I was in the H.S. band. My brother marched with
    the Scouts. My mother sat on the curb and watched.

    At the city park a few words were read over 6 white wooden crosses. Little
    girls in white dresses placed wreaths on the crosses. The color guard became a
    firing squad and fired three volleys of shots. Little boys scampered to pick up
    the empty cartridges.

    Taps was played by the first chair cornet player. Everyone moved to the adjacent
    High School Gym. We said the Pledge of Allegiance. This caused some minor
    confusion in the mid 50s when the Pledge was amended to include the words "under

    There were three churches in town. The clergymen alternated giving the address
    each year.

    The biggest and best church choir sang Battle Hymn of the Republic. A closing
    prayer was recited ,and the matter was closed for another year.

    Many people then adjourned to visit one of the local cemetaries.
    My father and mother have their ashes at Arlington. Most of my relatives are
    at the small country cemetery outside of town.

    Maybe the same program is still followed. Don't know. Been a lot of changes
    in the last half century.

  2. teacher

    teacher New Member

    Sounds very Norman Rockwell. I like it.

    I grew up in a city. They had several ceremonies scattered about that you could choose from. We would usually pick one of the suburb parades to go to as the City would hold their parades on Friday duing the school day.

    I remember seeing the Navy ceremony that was held downtown on the bridge that crosses the river. It was early in the morning and there was no traffic. They tossed a wreath into the water below.

    We never visted the graves. My mother prefered to remember them as they were.

    Nowadays, there are ceremonies scattered about town, but the emphasis is more on the different festivals, concerts, theatrical productions, and sales at the mall that abound for the weekend.

    Progress I guess. <sigh>

    One of the Rotary groups in the area sponsored a Moving Wall this weekend. (I posted about it on The Porch.) I wan't aware, but they did it last year too. It looks as if they plan on trying to do it next year.

    If they do, that'll be my celebration. I can't take direct sunlight anymore and this display is open all day and all night.

    Hug a service person or veteran today!
  3. Misfit101

    Misfit101 New Member

    Rock you took me back. I was born in the 50s but i remember the ceremonies of the past. Now they offer military personnel a free meal at western sizzlin. My parents are buried at fort sam houston, tx. Rows of white stones that go on forever. Im the person who shakes the hand of every vietnam vet i meet and thank them for their service to this country. I was a USO volunteer and i remember SO MANY young boys right out of high school. Im glad to see the recognition our young men and women returning home. Things change for the better sometimes.
  4. lilaclover30

    lilaclover30 New Member

    We decorated graves - so much family----the night before. On that day we went to t6he cememtery, I played in the band and played patriotic songs. Some gave a speech, someone read "In Flander's Field where Poppies Lie" and someone else read the Getty8sburg Address. That was loooong ago. loved it!!!!

    Gentle Hugs,

  5. HeavenlyRN

    HeavenlyRN New Member

    Thanks for the memories.

    I was born in '54. I remember, as a young girl scout, marching in our small town parade....which ended at our small town, VERY old, cemetery. Lots of old headstones.

    Thanks again
  6. spacee

    spacee Member

    Our town of 3,465 didn't have a cemetary in the 50's. We didn't get one til the 60's so
    I have no memory of anything done.

    We did celebrate the 4th of July with a barbeque. I also don't remember any parades
    in our town. I think we were losers! haha. No one to organize.

    The town was built in the 1930's to put men to work. So we had no grandparents,
    cousins, aunts, uncles and neither did any one else. We thought it was normal.

    Rock, why were your parents ashes buried at Arlington? I know it has something to
    do with the military and probably WWII. Don't know anything else.

    Your friend

  7. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    I guess it was kinda Normal Rockwell, Teacher. I suppose at
    the time, I thought it was what everybody did. Some years ago
    I was listening to an old radio program that was aired during
    the 40s and 50s. In that little town the parade marched out to
    the cemetery.

    Spacee, I can't imagine a town w/ no cemetery. Our little
    town didn't have a hospital or a swimming pool or a public
    phone or a stoplight, but those things don't seem quite so
    basic as a cemetery.

    BTW, I read decades ago that cemetery is a euphemism for
    graveyard. "Cemetery" comes from the Greek for dormitory;
    place to sleep.

    The mansion at Arlington was once the home of Robert E. Lee.
    After Lee declined to head the Union Army and went home to
    Virginia, the govt. confiscated his property and turned it into
    a burial place for the Union dead.

    My father has his ashes there because he served during WWII.
    After my mother died, her ashes were placed alongside his.
    My brother wanted her buried w/ the rest of the family in the
    small cemetery outside our MN village. He said, "Well, you know
    your mother. She's a romantic at heart. When she saw the
    ceremony of a military funeral, she decided that's what she
    wanted too."

    Jan, I like old cemeteries. Have no fear of ghosts. But I don't
    visit them. Just look at photos on the net. There are websites
    where one can look up the graves of the famous. Some are
    modest; some are large and expensive memorials.

    Becky, I think that's wonderful that you served w/ the USO.
    I don't know it existed after WWII. "USO" shows up in
    crosswords. The clue is usually something like: Bob Hope's
    organization or Serviceman's club.

    Did you guys ever see the WWII movies about the USO? There
    were two; had similar titles. Stagedoor Canteen and Hollywood
    Canteen. Can't remember which one I saw, but it had lots of
    movie stars who used to entertain and dance w/ the servicemen.

    On one of the Jack Benny programs from that time, the joke
    is that Jack keeps going to the move so he can watch himself
    play the violin.

    Lilac/Joan, I didn't think of Flander's Fields on Memorial Day.
    In High School we memorized it. And the Gettysburg Address too.
    Just remember a few lines now.


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