Memorial Day 2019

Last week's post has program info through next Thursday, May 30, including which Trails of History sites will be open on May 27 for Memorial Day. Not all sites will be open, so please check before you go. PHMC's Trails of History sites are Blue Star Museums, offering free admission to active duty military personnel and their families.

NOTE 5/28/19: This post has been updated to include more links from Trails of History sites related to Memorial Day.

Memorial Day. There are disagreements about its origins, with multiple communities claiming to be its birthplace (this Wikipedia article lists the contenders). It is sometimes confused or conflated with Veterans Day (the VA clears that up on their website). It is the unofficial start to summer (we don't need no stinkin' solstice). At its core is the remembrance of those who have died in military service, but there are numerous other associated meanings and traditions that have evolved over the years.

US and other colorful flags and military personnel in front of stone wall of 28th Division Shrine
Photo from PA Military Museum Facebook page

Last weekend, the Pennsylvania Military Museum hosted the annual Celebration of Service, the U.S. Army reunion and memorial service sponsored by the Pennsylvania National Guard and commemorating the Pennsylvanian Citizen Soldier with a military band concert and equipment displays. Honoring those who died in service, veterans, and active duty military, the event takes place in front of the 28th Division National Shrine (see photo above). You can find many more photos of this year's event on the museum's Facebook page.

ADDED 5/28/19: On 25-26, the Pennsylvania Military Museum (PMM) presented its annual World War II Revisited program and posted photos on Facebook. The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum shared one of PMM's Facebook posts that featured Alfred L. Wilson, a Medal of Honor recipient who had served in the Civilian Conservation Corps prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1943 (read his story here). Hope Lodge reminded us of the 150 Continental soldiers killed or wounded in the Battle of Whitemarsh in 1777 (see post on Facebook). And Erie Maritime Museum described the reality of warships during the War of 1812 (read more here).

Metal cooking pots suspended over a wood burning fire
Photo from Ephrata Cloister Facebook page

Many people find time during the Memorial Day weekend for a cookout. Last weekend, as part of a fundraiser for an upcoming trip, the Student Historians at Ephrata Cloister learned about and demonstrated 18th-century cooking techniques (see photo above) using an open fire. It was a little more complicated than the hot dogs I'll probably grill, but then, what isn't? There are more images on Ephrata's Facebook page.

Perhaps your idea of the perfect Memorial Day weekend is a hike in the woods or a camping trip. You'll find plenty of info on the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources website. A visit to the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum can include some hiking and nearby camping. Be sure to check out (and heed) the museum's collection of Smokey Bear posters (see above).

Brick walking path shaded by trees at Pennsbury Manor
Photo from Pennsbury Manor Facebook page
Or you may prefer something more contemplative and quiet...

However you choose to spend your weekend, I hope you will find time for some history and reflection.


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