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David Blight

Reckoning with Memorial Day

As many of us—myself included—are enjoying a nice late-Spring long weekend, I thought it worthwhile to think about what Memorial Day might mean for historians, whose daily business it is to forge memories. I would like to suggest that historians, particularly US historians, view this day as our yearly day of reckoning. Indeed, as David Blight showed in his masterful analysis of the trajectory of Civil War memory in America, Race and Reunion, Memorial Day has its origins in Decoration Day, when the legacy of the Civil War was still highly contested. It later also became a sight for consolidating Read more