Memorial Day 2020

The May program page has information on the status of Trails of History sites and lists some virtual programs. It also contains a full list of links to Trails of History Facebook pages so that you can continue to enjoy our digital offerings. You'll also find some of those offerings in the Trailheads Rec Room (see links in the sidebar to the right of your screen); new material is added weekly so that you can see the most recent examples.

Lower left corner is stone pillar with a metal cross on top. A red, white, and blue wreath has been placed next to the pillar. Behind there are stone steps and a stone wall with plaques honoring 28th Division members who died in World War 1 and World War 2
A single wreath placed at the 28th Division Shrine to honor those who gave their lives in service (photo: Pennsylvania Military Museum)
The annual 28th Division Celebration of Service (scheduled for May 17 at the Pennsylvania Military Museum) and most Memorial Day events have been canceled or seriously curtailed due to COVID-19. But that doesn't mean we can't honor those who gave their lives in military service. The staff of the Pennsylvania Military Museum have provided the material for this week's post, and I thank them for their help.

In an article published earlier this week, site administrator Tyler Gum suggested several alternatives for marking Memorial Day this year (excerpts are below - you can find the full text on the museum's blog):
  • "Perhaps the simplest way to mark this day is to take five minutes and silently reflect on the meaning of the day and to consider the profound sacrifice and responsibility of an all-volunteer military force....Our military members voluntarily join and serve their communities and nation. Consider the many layers of such reality, as a society and as citizens."
  • "...Visit your local library digitally or find an online book or journal...that recounts the harrowing details of brave men and women going into harm's way to preserve our way of life here on the homefront. The greatest way to honor those now gone is to never forget them - what better way than to learn their story?"
  • "Annual events at town centers, parks, shrines, and cemeteries may be canceled. However, visiting a local cemetery or shrine on your own time, or visiting the grave of a loved one that served (perhaps not even on Memorial Day itself) and taking a stroll through its grounds is a great option."
  • "For veterans quickly aging, like those from World War II and the Korean War, their battle-buddies may no longer be alive or well enough to lend a hand....Step in for their friends by calling them, writing them a card or letter or arranging for groceries or meals to be delivered. With precautions and safety in mind, if you're at a store, offer to reach something on the shelf or to load their car."

The museum blog is a great source of stories about military service. Museum curator Jennifer Gleim has added a number of posts exploring the museum's collections and sharing the personal stories they convey. The blog is indexed to make it easier to browse. You won't be sorry.

Tomorrow (May 23) at 2 pm, the museum will host an online lecture by historian Jared Frederick, on the topic "Operation Overlord (D-Day)." Tyler Gum will moderate a brief Q & A session after the lecture. The presentation is free (donations are welcome). It will be offered via Zoom, so you must register to get the link (visit the museum's calendar page for more info).

(A past Trailheads post (way back in 2013) introduced us to several Medal of Honor recipients from Erie; this seems like a good time to revisit that post. Or to take a look at last year's Memorial Day weekend post, from the before times.)

I will leave you with a Facebook post from the 28th Division. I hope that your Memorial Day is meaningful, in whatever ways you need it to be. Be good to each other.


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