Friday, May 22, 2020

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Battle Hymn of the Republic (1963)

Unfamiliar with Judy Garland's rendition of this week's tune? Hear it here.

Memorial Day is the federal holiday designated to honor American service people who died in battle. 

1) On May 30, 1868, President Grant presided over the Memorial Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery. Have you ever visited Arlington Cemetery? Yes. I've been to Washington DC twice and went there both times.

2) On Memorial Day, it is customary to fly the flag at half-staff until noon and then raise it to the top of the staff until sunset. Will you be flying the flag at your home this weekend? No. I'd like to, but all my windows face the same way, which means the only ones who could see my flag are the next door neighbors. I feel the same way about Christmas lights -- the decorations seems to be lacking something if you can't see them from the street as you pass by.

3) Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, because flowers and ribbons were left on graves of soldiers.  Do you find solace in visiting cemeteries? Not really.

4) The lyrics to this week's song were written by Julia Ward Howe in 1861. Her inspiration was a White House visit with Abraham Lincoln. In 2020, under normal circumstances, public tours of the White House are available but you must request your ticket in advance from your Member of Congress (House or Senate). When you travel, do you plan your trip weeks before you go? Or do you decide how your days will unfold once you reach your destination? If I'm going somewhere like our nation's capital (with many sights to see) or Vegas (with shows to be booked), I plan in advance. Otherwise, I play it by ear.

5) Judy Garland performed this week's song before a live audience as a tribute to President Kennedy, who had been assassinated just weeks before. She knew Kennedy personally and considered this a farewell to a friend. While the performance was difficult for her -- at one point she flubs the lyrics -- she believed it was important, and could perhaps help the country heal. Tell us about a song that reminds you of someone you loved who is no longer with us. This was my uncle's favorite song:


He was married twice and had countless girlfriends. I wish I'd asked him which lady was gentle on his mind. He was a very young man when it came out, so maybe it was one of those songs that brought back a happy time in his life and not a specific woman. But I'll never know because I never asked him. I regret that.

6) John F. Kennedy served in WWII and was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps medal and a Purple Heart. His brother Joe also served and was awarded the Navy Cross, but he received his citation posthumously, having died during a flying mission over East Suffolk, England. Here at Saturday 9, we consider everyone who serves a hero and want to hear about the veterans and active military members in your life. 

•  My dad was a corpsman in the Korean War. He was really good at butterfly stitches, which made him popular in the neighborhood. I remember kids with cuts and scrapes coming over with their moms to be tended to, and to avoid a trip to ER. 

•  The uncle I mentioned above served in Vietnam. I was 8 when he was discharged and I invited him to school for show and tell. I was so proud when he showed up in the doorway of my classroom, in his uniform. He looked quite tall, sitting on the radiator, taking questions from my classmates. I remember he stressed teamwork.

•  My oldest nephew was recently discharged from the Navy. He never saw any action, but his service was valuable because he readied the aircraft carriers that did. His first job out of the service began in March. He's now a firefighter in Washington state.


7) Memorial Day is considered the beginning of the summer season. Will you be enjoying warm weather this weekend? It's supposed to be in the 80s. Rainy, of course. It's rained a lot this month.

8) Berries are especially popular in summer. Which is your favorite: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries? Strawberries.

9) If you could attend a Memorial Day picnic with any fictional character, which would you choose? Jo, from Little Women. Her father was wounded in the Civil War and must have had comrades who died, so Decoration Day would have special meaning for her. Remembering how willingly the March family did without while her father was away, can you imagine how disappointed fiery Jo would be in some of us today, whining about something as simple as wearing masks, just to protect one another?


  1. Thank you for your family's service. I love that you took your uncle to school for show and tell! I'm sure he was quite impressive...there is something about a man in uniform. Good thoughts on Jo.

  2. I wish your uncle was my uncle.

  3. Song choice was wonderful.

    I would never have thought to bring my uncle to school.

  4. Great take on Jo March! Methinks I need to re-read Little Women. (I've not seen the movie but have little interest in doing so.) Back in the day I used to love Glen Campbell.

  5. While we are picnicking with Jo, I hope you and I get to ask her about the whinies. They give me a stomachache. Gentle on my Mind is a beautiful song.

  6. You and CountryDew are thinking alike about entertaining Jo March. Like I wrote to CD, I hope you have plenty of time to talk, because I have a feeling Jo would have a lot to say about the goings on today.

  7. When I was little and we used to travel around the country, my father used to get AAA Trip Tickets with the whole route mapped out, complete with coupons for tourist traps. This was before the interstates. I remember we went to DC and my father got passes to the Senate Gallery and to the Senate Dinning Hall and I had Barry Goldwater's Chili