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HISTORY LIVES: Memorial Day to be celebrated as usual


In the last week of May 1904, The Intelligencer announced, “Nothing unusual is scheduled to appear in the Memorial Day celebration in Doylestown. Year after year the same program has been carried out without change, and it will be the same Monday.”

• In the morning, the Daughters of Liberty will arrange the floral designs, and residents of the town and others are requested to furnish all the flowers and greens they can. The school children especially can help in this respect. It is a duty owed by Americans to show their respect, at least this small way, for the old soldiers.

• As usual, the Germania Band, of Quakertown, will furnish the music for the day, arriving shortly after ten o’clock in the morning and giving a short concert in the court house park.

• In the afternoon at 1:30 o’clock, the procession will form on Oakland avenue before the headquarters of General Bodine Post, Grand Army of the Republic, and march to the 104th Regiment monument, where the usual ceremonies will take place.

• At the court house the following program will be rendered: “Poet and Peasant Overture,” band; Memorial orders, Post Adjutant John Clemens; Music, “Pictures from the North and South,” band; Prayer, Rev. J. Riley Bergey; Intermezzo, “Anona,” band; Oration, Rev. John W. Sayres; March, “American Republic,” band; Singing, “America.”

• Proceeding to the Doylestown Cemetery, this program will be carried out: Introductory, Commander C.A. Cuffel; Dirge, Germania Band; Prayer, Rev. J. Riley Bergey; Reading the death roll, Adjutant John Clemens; Decoration of graves, Comrades C.D. Bigley, John Townsend, Jacob Clemens and Rev. J. Riley Bergey; Firing a salute, Co. G, Sixth Regiment, and Sons of Veterans; “Taps.”

NOTE: Decoration Day originated following the Civil War; by 1890 all northern states had made it an official state holiday. Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, initially honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War; but the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

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