Memorial Days

For May 30, 2020

Please share this missive with your friends & neighbors.

Hi WN@TL Fans,

Memorial Day was Monday.  But for many of us, Memorial Day will also be Saturday, for our earliest memories of the holiday are from the May 30’s in the Fifties or Sixties.

I can even recall from my boyhood that some older folks still called it “Decoration Day.”  Later on I was astonished to learn from a friend who moved to Austin in the mid 1980’s that the Texans referred to the day as “that damn Yankee holiday.”  I was therefore less surprised to learn of the separate Confederate Memorial Day celebrated on different dates in different states because, well, states’ rights.

How nations revere and remember their war dead—combatants or civilians, those who died of wounds on the field of battle or those who died of disease in field hospitals—tells us something about what the nations value and what they disparage.

Not all who die are recovered, and not all who are recovered are identified.  Thus we have Cenotaphs in Whitehall, and we have graves of unknown soldiers in Arlington, to remind us of the holes left in all our lives by the deaths of our brothers & sisters.

With the coming of DNA technology has also come the possibility to place a name on unknown remains, and thereby to offer to a family the succor of knowing their loved one has been found.

The Missing in Action Recovery & Identification Project of the Biotech Center works to locate and identify remains of US service members who died in World War Two or in the Korean War.

The MIA RIP staff have shared their stories at a series of WN@TL presentations.  This week is a fitting time to recall these talks as we remember our war dead, and especially the soldier, Private Gordon, and the pilot, Lt Fazekas, who died and whose remains are now recovered, identified, and entombed in honor.

Finding Private Gordon

Finding Lieutenant Fazekas

New Directions for UW’s “Missing in Action” Program



Photo: Ryan Wubben

Hope to see you sometime soon once we can resume Wednesday Nite @ The Lab.

Tom Zinnen
Biotechnology Center & Division of Extension, Wisconsin 4-H



UW-Madison:  5.8 million owners, one pretty good public land-grant teaching, research and extension university.

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