During WW II, my Nana, like most women during the War, embellished her sewing with patriotic messages. This little sea dog she drew herself and we know that she embroidered all sorts of naval symbols on my mother's clothes (her only child during the War). Pop was in the Navy in the Pacific. Below is a photo of Victory dogs that embellished a pillow.
When I was a child, Memorial Day activities were created around the annual parade. I remember my father pointing out the very old veterans who had fought in the Spanish-American War. He himself remembered seeing veterans of the Civil War in the parades of his youth. Every year the parade ended at the cemetary where poems, prayers and some speeches were given to honor the incredible sacrifices people had made.
When Peter was growing up, we attended a few ceremonies on Memorial Day; the parades had long since faded and there were only a handful of atttendees at the ceremony. I'm not sure there is even any of those ceremonies left in our valley.
There is something to be said for including history in our day-to-day active life (not the passive one on television) and especially for children to be a part of that experience. For my parents' generation those sacrifices were part of their daily routine of rationing, collecting scraps for the war effort, and banners on houses with men overseas.
How different our world is today. William Harvard said that "the greatest glory of a free people is to transmit that freedom to their children." I wonder, how many 15 year old children in this country actually know what today is about? How many 25 year olds?