They celebrated Memorial Day differently then:

It was a Wednesday, long before Congress changed the holiday to the last Monday of May with the National Holiday Act that took effect in 1971; long before Memorial Day became part of a three-day weekend marking the beginning of summer and a time to go to the lake. The biggest lake of substance was Grand, some 70 miles northeast of Tulsa.

Gasoline was still rationed — most car owners got three gallons a week — but many Tulsans used some of their fuel to take advantage of their middle-of-the-week day off to have picnics at Mohawk Park, to take dips in the Newblock Park swimming pool and to walk through the Woodward Park rose gardens that were blanketed in blooms.

Similar ceremonies were held on Memorial Days 1944 and other years before and after that date, but that 1945 ceremony was special because Germany had surrendered on May 7 and Allied forces were gaining the upper hand in the Pacific, where fighting continued until after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Japan on Aug. 6 and 9. The Japanese officially surrendered on Sept. 2 although they had announced surrender plans earlier.

I don’t know if we’ll ever reverse the course of this culture that is mostly concerned with self-indulgence at the expense of all else but gas shortages will probably make a comeback.



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