Up to last year, Memorial Day was swiftly on the road to becoming a holiday and no more--a day of freedom from routine without special meaning. For the younger generation's interest in the Civil War is historical rather than personal and our honor for the dead who gave up their lives in that struggle was so taken for granted that each year saw less and less deep feeling within us. We honored those heroes of '61, but we did it subconsciously and with little appreciation of the hell they had been through.
Then came this present conflict, and with it casualty lists containing names with less historical interest for us. Our friends and our kin have spilled their blood in France. Our pain and anguish is now personal; it is our very own. The lists have been growing and growing until the number of Harvard men who have given their lives has swelled to eighty. And thus we find that Memorial Day has a meaning for us after all, that its purpose is a splendid one, that we welcome this occasion to hold corporate honor for all our brave defenders, but especially those who have gone forth to meet Germans.
Those who went to Sanders Theatre yesterday and attended the exercises of the Memorial Society can appreciate this feeling. Those who heard Lieutenant Morize deliver an address filled with sympathy, high praise for our fallen, and splendid advice for ourselves, came away better Americans. It was a meeting of serious citizens, paying the only tribute they could to our new heroes, not in any careless, foregranted spirit but with full heart and devotion. No, Memorial Day has not lost its purpose for us. It is about to become a day with more meaning than all our other national days.