Wednesday, April 20, 2016

64. Memorial Day Parade: 1946

When Nancy and I were growing up in Gettysburg in the Forties, we always looked forward to the Memorial Day Parade in May.  The event in 1946 was special, because it was the first peace-time observance of Memorial Day since 1941.

Following police escorts and the parade marshals, the Gettysburg High School Band led 1,000 school children dressed in white and carrying flowers which were later strewn on the graves in the National Cemetery. It’s a tradition that continues to this day. 

Veterans from World War I and World War II marched with bands, drum and bugle corps, community organizations, and members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion. A unit of the Pennsylvania National Guard with motorized equipment was followed by the speaker John Bricker, the former Governor of Ohio, and honored guests. 

The 1946 Memorial Day Parade was reported in the press as one of the  biggest and one of the best in Gettysburg’s history

Nancy’s home in the Forties was on Baltimore Street, the perfect place to watch a Memorial Day Parade, and every year friends and family would gather in front of her house in lawn chairs to enjoy the  spectacle. A picnic for family and guests always followed the parade.

May was also time for the annual spring concert at Gettysburg High School. In 1946, the concert included  a number by the freshman chorus which was accompanied by Nancy Ogden. And “No,” Nancy Ogden and Bruce Westerdahl were not a couple yet, and we probably weren’t even dancing together then. That would happen in the fall of 1947.

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