Memorial Day is probably the most archives-centric holiday in the year. While many holidays are a flush of personal memories and family traditions, Memorial Day is more about our collective memory as fellow countrymen. And archives are a conduit to our collective memory.
NHPR wasn’t around during the Civil War, or in the years after when a national memorial day was established. But in 2006, our Front Porch program looked at the roots of the holiday. Host Shay Zeller sat down with Rick Beyer, author of The Greatest War Stories Never Told, to discuss the founding of the day, and of Arlington National Cemetery, as well as the unlikely stories behind Taps, and documenting the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima.
The program also includes the voices of veterans remembering fallen comrades; and a conversation about the evolution of public grief with Simon J Bronner, Professor of Folklore and American Studies at Penn State.