Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day in Emily of Deep Valley

Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace is a completely charming book that I highly recommend reading if you've never read it before even if you think you are beyond reading children's books. What's more, it's one of the few books I know of in which Memorial Day, called Decoration Day in the book, plays a part! I thought I'd share a passage from the Decoration Day chapter this year.

"Gosh, what a lot of bunk!"

"Bunk? Decoration Day?"

"Don't you think it's bunk?"

"Certainly not!" Her surprised indignation swept into her speech. "If I had gone out and gotten killed for my country I'd like to be thanked for it once a year."

"These fellows weren't killed"

"Well, we're all thinking about the ones who were!"

"Oh are we? How many people are thinking about anything except the impression they are making, or the picnic they are headed for, or how their feet hurt?"

"I imagine that everyone gives a little thought to what the day means," she answered slowly. It meant more to her than to most people, she realized. Those young men of the First Minnesota who had charged so bravely to their death were almost as real to her as last year's football team.

She was saturated with pride in the day, and Don's scornfulness hurt her.

"It's so nice," she said in abrupt appeal. "It comes in May when everything's so pretty. And the children are so clean and excited and the old men so happy. And it's always the same. It's--part of growing up in America.

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