Deep Dive: Exploring the Collections

World War I Veterans in Decoration Day Parade, 1920

This is a photograph of a group of World War I Veterans marching in Southampton on Main Street in 1920, taking place during the Decoration Day (Memorial Day) Parade of that year. There are at least 12 soldiers within the photograph, but only 11 of their faces are visible within this shot. Of these soldiers, six of which are able to be identified. Among the soldiers are Dr. Harold Lewis, Adam Mieczkowski, Marshall G. Hay, George Howland, Benjamen Sadowsky and Louis H. Willumsen. They are seen marching with the American flag being raised above them. The photograph is in a rather weathered condition, which is due to this perhaps being one of the earliest collection items discovered in the Rogers Mansion. The photograph is monochrome with several shades of dark orange.

Decoration Day (which would later be recognized as Memorial Day) has its origins following the end of the Civil War, originally as a local observance to honor those lives lost. The term "Decoration" has its use due to the graves of such lives that were lost being decorated with flowers and flags. Following the aftermath of World War 1, the number of communities across the country observing Memorial Day spread even further, with these communities observing all fallen soldiers from all American wars up to that point. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday in May moving forward.

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