Skip Navigation
NPR News
A lone bugler plays "Taps" during a burial service at Arlington National Cemetery. (Getty Images)

Asleep In Dress Blues: Music For Memorial Day

May 24, 2014

Share this


Memorial Day can all too easily mark the start of grilling season and retail sales events instead of fulfilling its original purpose, honoring those who lost their lives in service to our country.

Congress made the holiday official in 1971, but the practice dates back to the 1860s, when it was known as Decoration Day, an occasion for decorating the graves of Civil War soldiers. Late May was chosen, historians say, because flowers would be in bloom throughout the country.

It was only after World War I that Decoration Day was extended to commemorate the dead from all U.S. battles. Monday we'll remember those soldiers, especially the most recent casualties. Since 2003, according to the Department of Defense, more than 6,800 men and women in the U.S. armed forces have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The horror of war continues to inspire musicians in myriad ways, and for this Memorial Day we've compiled a short list of songs. It's not really a playlist or mixtape for the day, but simply some music that celebrates our heroes, comforts the family and friends of the fallen and causes us all to think — not about this weekend's bargains but the everlasting cost of war.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR

Visitor comments

on:

NCPR is supported by:

This is a Visitor-Supported website.