While many of us these days feel like we are reliving the Bill Murray role in Groundhog Day, we are actually hurtling rather rapidly through time and, unbelievably, have reached Memorial Day, May 25, the official kickoff to summer.  Originally called Decoration Day, from the tradition of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags, the holiday was first observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the deaths of Civil War soldiers. After World War I, the holiday was expanded to honor all who sacrificed their lives while in service. The day became an official federal holiday in 1971 and is always observed on the last Monday in May. While this year’s observance probably won’t include parades, family barbeques and road trips, there are other ways we can remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. You can read more about the history of the holiday at: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/memorial-day-history.  And, check out Google’s Arts and Culture website for virtual tours of national monuments and war memorials: National Park Service;  and Virtual Tour of United States Veterans and War Memorials – National Park Service.  You can also join the Intrepid Museum on May 25 at 2 pm as it hosts its annual Memorial Day commemoration through a Virtual Memorial Day CeremonyAnd, be sure to check out the following digital titles: 

 

The Greatest Generation, by Tom Brokaw: Journalist Tom Brokaw pays tribute to the generation who grew up in the United States during the Great Depression and then went on to fight in World War II, as well as those who contributed to the war effort from the home front. This book brought the term “Greatest Generation” into the lexicon of contemporary history.  https://westchester.overdrive.com/media/5761

 

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand: This inspirational biography is the story of World War II veteran Louis Zamperini, who was shot down from his aircraft over the Pacific Ocean, spent 47 days adrift on a raft and then survived more than two and a half years as a Japanese prisoner of war. Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit. https://westchester.overdrive.com/media/481564

 

The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien: O’Brien depicts the men of Alpha Company in linked stories that recount the Vietnam War from a foot soldier’s perspective. Taught everywhere – from high school classrooms to graduate seminars in creative writing – this book is a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination and the redemptive power of storytelling. https://westchester.overdrive.com/media/574681

 

Thank You For Your Service, by David Finkel:  Pulitzer Prize winner David Finkel follows the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion ten years after their return from Baghdad. As he chronicles their struggle to adjust to life back home, Finkel creates an indelible, essential portrait of life after war for both the veterans and their families. https://westchester.overdrive.com/media/1374412

 

Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane: Hailed as one of American literature’s most influential works, The Red Badge of Courage portrays a Union soldier, Henry Flemming, who flees from horrific fighting during the Civil War. After experiencing the shame of deserting and of not possessing the “red badge of courage,” the wounds of war, Henry rejoins his regiment and proves his valor during the course of a hopeless battle. https://westchester.overdrive.com/media/76869

 

Redeployment, by Phil Klay: This National Book Award winner takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned.  Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos. https://westchester.overdrive.com/media/1343939

 

The Guns of August, by Barbara Tuchman: Tuchman captured the Pulitzer Prize and won international acclaim with this epic and comprehensive account of the opening month of World War I.  https://westchester.overdrive.com/media/256490

 

Ghost Soldiers: An Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission, by Hampton Sides: On January 28, 1945, 121 hand-selected U.S. troops slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Their mission: rescue 513 POWs languishing in a POW camp, among them the last survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March. Hampton Sides vividly recreates this daring raid, offering a minute-by-minute narration that unfolds alongside intimate portraits of the prisoners and their lives in the camp. https://westchester.overdrive.com/media/36544

 

The Korean War, by Max Hastings: Using personal accounts from interviews with more than 200 vets, Max Hastings follows real officers and soldiers through the battles of the Korean War. He brilliantly captures the Cold War crisis at home and shows what we should have learned from the war that was ultimately the prelude to Vietnam. https://ebook.yourcloudlibrary.com/library/scarsdalePL/Search/the%20korean%20war%20hastings