Back in the (Memorial) Day

Tomb of Unknown Soldier monument, with guard, at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, circa late 1930s or early 1940s.

Tomb of Unknown Soldier monument, with guard, at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, circa late 1930s or early 1940s.

Following the Civil War through 1968, Americans observed Decoration Day, which eventually became known as Memorial Day, on May 30th.  On June 28, 1968 Lyndon Baines Johnson signed “An Act To provide for uniform annual observations of certain legal public holidays on Mondays, and for other purposes.”  The act, more commonly know as the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act,” shifted the observance of Memorial Day to the last Monday in May.

Hugh Morton likely photographed the above scene at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery dating as early as the late 1930s or early 1940s, an estimated date range based upon a period of time that we know Morton used that film format (negative film pack measuring 3 15/16 x 3 3/16 inches).  The trees are without leaves, so Morton would have made the photograph sometime during late autumn through the winter months.  The only other possible clue about the possible creation date would be the soldier’s uniform.

 

One thought on “Back in the (Memorial) Day

  1. About the picture of the TUS and The TG. Since I was a guard at the Tomb in 1948 and wore the same uniform the picture had to be taken sometime between 1947 and 1949. Most likely it was late ’48 0r ’49 since he is carrying the Garand and I carried the Springfield ’03
    The white leggings and cap bands were uniform of the day at this time.
    The Ike Jacket was the issued part of the class A uniform, but we in the Ceremonial Detachment 7011 ASU (later Ceremonial Company 3d Inf Reg} were issued the original blouse. Either was still regulation. I have photos of myself in both.
    I do not recognize the guard in this photo unfortunately. At first I thought it might have been me in it. Closer inspection says no. There isn’t enough of his face for me to make an ID. I wish I could since I was with many great soldiers and friends as TG in 1948.
    Thanks for a great photo

    At present I am a member of the Society Honor Guard Tomb Unknown Soldier
    SHGTUS

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