Monday, May 19, 2008

Remembering What Memorial Day is All About


The library will be closed May 24 through May 26 in observance of the Memorial Day weekend.
Often celebrated these days as the kick-off weekend of the summer season, Memorial Day is actually a solemn occasion meant for somber reflection upon the sacrifices made by those Americans who lost their lives in the defense of their nation.
Here's a sampling of library resources to remind us of the cost of freedom:

Where Valor Rests: Arlington National Cemetery by Rick Atkinson (973.099 WHE)
Offerings at the Wall: Artifacts From the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection by Allen B. Thomas (975.3 ALL)
Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley (940.54 BRA)
The USS Arizona: The Ship, the Men, the Pearl Harbor Attack, and the Symbol That Aroused America by Joy Waldron Jasper (940.5426 JAS)
World War II Memorial: A Testament to Freedom (DVD 940.546 WOR)

If you like fiction, trying reading Nicholas Proffitt's very moving 1983 novel entitled Gardens of Stone. This book takes a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of the 3rd United States Infantry, popularly known as The Old Guard, which is charged with the care of Arlington National Cemetery (the garden of stone alluded to in the title) and with providing honor guards and burial details for funerals held there. The book's action takes place during the Vietnam era. This novel was also made into a 1987 feature film by the same name, starring James Caan, Anjelica Huston and James Earl Jones, and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Here are some other ways you can remember Memorial Day:

Read General Logan's General Order No. 11 (May 5, 1868), establishing a memorial day observance to decorate soldiers' graves.

Read John McCrae's poem “In Flanders Fields”

Pay a virtual visit to the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

Pay a virtual visit to the USS Arizona memorial

Also, during the week of May 19-23, the library will distribute small American flags free to anyone who asks for one at the Checkout Desk. Please stop by!

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