Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day in the 1970s

Back in the 1970s, we said "Happy Memorial Day" and it was OK.

It wasn't because we didn't know any better. It was just a different time.

Memorial Day was a happy time for kids in the 1970s. The school year was ending, the community pools officially opened, and there were parades and picnics.

Children clearly understood the importance and purpose of Memorial Day. In the 1970s, every elementary school classroom had an American flag, and students recited the Pledge of Allegiance each day before anything else happened.

We made figures of Betsy Ross and Benjamin Franklin in art class, took class trips to see the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell, and watched Schoolhouse Rock. By the time Soul Train was on, we were ready to go out and conquer the world. America was #1.

We knew what it meant to be American, had a strong sense of our roots, and unwavering pride in our nation. We were well aware of the cost of freedom; we saw it in the eyes of the men and women who saluted as they raised the American flag, but nobody dwelled on it. Perhaps it was still too raw, or maybe the grown-ups were protecting our innocence by being upbeat rather than solemn.

These patriotic quilts from the 1970s bring me back to the days when Memorial Day was a happier occasion. We were always indebted to the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom, but we  expressed it differently

In the 1970s, we did not have to make sure everyone knew the difference between Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veteran's Day. We knew, and we honored our fallen heroes with the type of festive, patriotic celebration they might have enjoyed. Maybe that's what they would've wanted. 


  1. This post makes me smile and sad at the same time.

  2. Thanks for saying it so well!

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  4. Thanks for writing and sharing.. the quilts bring back a lot of memories to this kid of 70s that live in Europe and went to a DOD school.

  5. Dem's my sentiments, 'zactly! Thanks for the memories.

  6. These are such great quilts! I especially like the flag one!

  7. As scouts we marched in the parade. From VFW post to the cemetery five-six blocks away. Certain tombs were decorated, words spoken and a march back to the VFW post. And then a soda of our choice, bottles were in tubs of ice. You are right we knew the difference between Memorial Day and the 4th of July. Again parades but not the cemetery and ceremony. Your post means a lot to me even if I don't focus this once on the quilts.