THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Friday, June 2, 1972
Memorial Dayin ilan, Mich.
THOUGH MEMORIAL DAY is ostensibly a time for
sober reflection, it has traditionally been associated
with the pomp and enthusiasm of celebration. Milan,
Michigan, on Monday was like thousands of small towns
across the nation.
Residents took flags out of cold storage and placed
them on porches or in flowerboxes along the parade
rute. Brownies and Cub Scouts and Pioneer Girls, all
marching awkwardly but proudly, followed the high
school band to the park-and there a local minister re-
newed the call for uncompromising patriotism, reciting
a tortured version of the Gettysburg Address and prais-
ing "the greatest nation under the star-spangled canopy
of heaven." What the master of ceremonies called the
"firing squad" performed the salute. Then it was on to
There were, however, some notable departures from
the traditional amid all the Americana. Electronic walkie-
talkies were used to organize the marchers; plastic wreaths
were planted on the graves; young boys followed the
parade, not on the usual bicycles with crepe-papered
spokes, but on Hondas and Kawasakis.
CONSPICUOUSLY ABSENT was the usual martial
flavor of the occasion. Speakers ticked off the standard
list of national patriots, but failed to include any present-
day heroes--references to more recent "sacrifices for free-
dom" went unuttered.
The underlying cause for this war-weariness was a
mystery to no one, especially to the minister who offer-
ed the invocation. "Let us look at the outbreak of war,"
he said, "not in terms of rightness and wrongness, but
as a failure of reconciliation . . . God help us out of
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