Memorials and Monuments

The May program page has info for the upcoming weekend and remaining days of the month. Please note that most, but not all, Trails of History sites will be open on May 29 for Memorial Day. The May listings indicate which sites are open (to the best of my knowledge). (The June program page is now available as well.)

Although it often falls outside of Memorial Day weekend, the 28th Infantry Division's annual "Celebration of Service" held on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Military Museum embodies the spirit of the holiday. The museum grounds include the 28th Division Shrine memorial wall, which honors soldiers who died in World War I and World War II, as well as later monuments to those killed in subsequent military conflicts. The May event brings together military personnel and civilians to commemorate those who have died in service to their country and to recognize all who served and who are currently serving. This year's event also honored Gold Star Families, who have lost loved ones in service. You'll find photos on Facebook posted by museum staff (photo album of event), and Gov. Tom Wolf, who attended with First Lady Frances Wolf, posted images on his official page (see below).

Currently, we are working on new exhibits for the Military Museum that we hope will reflect the broad range of service and sacrifice by Pennsylvanians in military service and on the home front, from the French and Indian War forward. This is, we recognize, a story that does not have a conclusion, as we are not likely to see an end to war. The history of who fights and who stays home is not the same for every conflict and has changed over time. It is my hope that we can engage with visitors in an exploration of what this means for us as communities, as a state, and as a nation.

And if I may add, on the subject of monuments and strictly on my own behalf, if you have not read or watched New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's speech on the removal of Confederate monuments from prominent public venues in his city, I recommend it. Not everyone will agree on his conclusions, but in my opinion, he eloquently explores complicated issues of public history and memory and the impact of our choices that we may not think about. (Text and video can be found on the City of New Orleans website.)

In other news...

Bushy Run Battlefield has geared up for the season and recently held their annual spring tea. Their spring and fall tea events have become very popular and generally sell out. The tables were themed to represent the Native American, Highlander, British, and Colonial participants in the Battle of Bushy Run, and volunteers provided short presentations on the history to those in attendance. The folks at the site also took the opportunity to promote other programs and activities planned for the summer and fall.

Highlander table at Bushy Run spring tea
Highland-themed table at Bushy Run's Spring Tea (more images on Facebook)

The 2017 PHMC Keystone Interns have started their summer with us. This year, Keystone interns can be found at the State Museum, the State Archives, the State Historic Preservation Office, and Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum. I'm hoping that, as in past summers, some of the interns will be guest blogging on Trailheads to share their projects and interests with us.

2017 PHMC Keystone Interns
2017 PHMC Keystone Interns (photo Amy Jukus)

Monday, May 22, was National Maritime Day, which we celebrate even in mostly land-locked Pennsylvania. I'll leave you with two posts from the Trails of History and wish you a safe and meaningful holiday weekend.


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