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Oh, draw aside the drapery of gloom,
And let the sunshine chase the cloud away
We decorate to-day:
While prayers of perfume bless the atmosphere
-James Whitcomb Riley.
The armies which, under the leadership of Washington, for eight long years waged warfare against greatly superior numbers made possible the founding of a nation “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” The heroes of the Revolution had no thought that any eye should ever “behold the broken and dishonored fragments" of the nation which they established. When the Union was threatened with disruption because of slavery, vast numbers of men coming from all walks of life fought to a successful close one of the most stupendous wars of history. They were the saviors of the nation.
The veterans of the Civil War conformed to that definition of true patriotism which holds it to be the sacrifice of personal advantage for the general good. To save the Union they rallied 'round the flag on many a battle field. But the country must be saved in times of peace no less than in times of war, and heroes of peace must rally 'round the flag, not on the battlefield, but at home, in business, at the ballot-box. The celebration of Memorial Day should in large degree call to mind the desperate conflicts and the heroic sacrifices which were necessary in order that the nation might endure. But it should also call to mind the great civic obligation which rests upon the people of this country at the present time, and which will rest upon succeeding generationsthe obligation of unselfish devotion in times of peace to the welfare of all the people, even at the cost, if need be, of personal sacrifice. With this two-fold aim clearly in mind the recurring celebration of Memorial Day, and of other patriotic holidays, will not diminish, but will increase in interest and importance as the years
In addition to the selections for Vemorial Day exercises there has been included in this year's annual material for Lincoln's birthday, Washington's birthday, Flag Day, and Peace Day. Much of this additional material is also suitable for use in connection with Memorial Day.
Some Suggestions. February twelfth of this year is the hundredth anniversary of Lincoln's birth. Exercises suitable to this notable occasion should be given in every school in the state. The exercises should be of such a character as to enlist the interest of the patrons of the school, who should be invited to be present. A feature of the program should be the recitation in concert of Lincoln's Gettysburg address by all the pupils above the middle form. In many schools it is ordinarily well to combine the celebration of the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln. This year, however, Lincoln's birthday should be celebrated apart on the proper date and every effort should be put forth to make the occasion impressive. For selections see pages 58 to 77. Material for Washington's birthday will be found on pages 78 to 87.
Flag Day (June 14) comes after the close of many if not most schools. For this reason suitable Flag Day exercises should be given in connection with the celebration of Washington's birthday, or on some other suitable day in the latter part of the school year. It would be well to have, in connection with such exercises, some reference to the proper celebration of the fourth of July. There is urgent need of more patriotism and less lockjaw resulting from this celebration. Our schools have it within their power to develop a sentiment which shall help to rescue from desecration and for purposes of patriotism the anniversary of the nation's birth. For selections see pages 44 to 57.
Peace Day (May 18) is intended to aid in the world-wide movement of substituting the principle of international arbitration for the “dread arbitrament of war” in settling disputes between nations. Only to the extent to which this substitution is accomplished can the world be said to be truly civilized. A Peace Day program requiring an hour or less for its rendition, if given in every school each year, would eventually have immense influence in promoting sentiment which will make for lasting peace. For selections see pages 88 to 94.
Memorial Day Annuals a Part of School Libraries. Teachers receiving Memorial Day Annuals for use in their schools should preserve them as part of the school library. The selections which successive issues contain will in the aggregate form a valuable source of material for use in preparing programs and in the language, literature, and history classes,
It is done!
Clang of bell and roar of gun Send the tidings up and down.
How the belfries rock and reel,
How the great guns, peal on peal, Fling the joy from town to town!
Ring, O bells!
Every stroke exulting tells Of the burial hour of crime.
Loud and long, that all may hear,
Ring for every listening ear Of Eternity and Time!
Let us kneel;
God's own voice is in that peal, And this spot is holy ground.
Lord, forgive us! What are we,
That our eyes this glory see,
For the Lord
On the whirlwind is abroad;
He has smitten with his thunder
The iron walls asunder,
Did we dare,
In our agony of prayer,
When was ever his right hand,
Over any time or land,
It is done!
In the circuit of the sun
It shall bid the sad rejoice,
It shall give the dumb a voice, It shall belt with joy the earth!
Ring and swing,
Bells of joy! On morning's wing Send the song of praise abroad;
With a sound of broken chains,
Tell the Nations that he reigns, Who alone is Lord and God!
---John Greenleaf Whittier.