Memorial Day, previously known as Decoration Day, began after the Civil War to honor the fallen Union and Confederate soldiers. Many men and women have fought and died protecting our country and fighting for our freedom since then and we continue to acknowledge them each year. Throughout the years many songs have been used during time of war, but none strike the emotions quite like the music during WWII. This was the first time in history where music was mass produced and available to majority of households in the United States, giving music a very powerful role during the war. One can’t help but listen to Vera Lynn sing “We’ll Meet Again” and imagine families saying farewell to their loved ones as they were shipped across the seas not knowing if they would in fact meet again. And when one considers listening to the song after learning the death of a loved one, the song becomes even more powerful.
Not to mention “I’ll Be Seeing You” which strikes a particular heart string for me
“White Christmas” and “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” were most certainly songs listened to by the soldiers while overseas and away from their loved ones. White Christmas was so popular in fact that it stayed the #1 song well past Christmas. Unfortunately, as these songs may have served as motivation to return home, not all were offered that chance.
Not only do we as citizens owe these men and women our respect and gratitude, music therapy owes a great deal to these soldiers. Music’s ability to soothe, distract and uplift the spirit was beginning to be understood, noticed and implemented. Nurses were some of the first to use music to treat wounded soldiers which resulted with a number of women including Isa Maud Ilsen, Margaret Anderton, and Harriet Ayer Seymour taking it upon themselves to establish music therapy in hospitals and institutions for veterans returning from war. One can only imagine what music may have provided for the soldiers who were too badly injured to recover and return home. I like to think that those who were lucky enough to have music provided were offered a moment of peace and familiarity in a time of pain and uncertainty.
So a heartfelt thank you to all of the men and women who have fallen protecting us. Our country is forever grateful for the sacrifices you have made. You will not be forgotten.