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Remembering Gettysburg & the “Greatest Generation” of WWII

Written By Editor on 7/4/23 | 7/4/23

Remembering Gettysburg & the “Greatest Generation” of WWII

As the Summer concert season approaches the 77th NY Regimental Balladeers are concentrating our music interests and devotion to living history in honor of the soldiers who fought at the Battle of Gettysburg, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and all the citizens of the “Greatest Generation” who supported the troops at the home front during WWII. “CHEERS for the RED, WHITE & BLUE: America’s Music Landscape 1776-1976” and “We’ll Meet Again: A VICTORY DAYS WWII BOND RALLY” will observe the meaning and impact of these events in our shared American story. 

One hundred and sixty years ago the Battle of Gettysburg was fought in early July. Confederate and Union casualties totaled 46,000, the highest losses of any one Civil War battle. There were 8,000 dead. The carnage, destruction, wounding of combatants and loss of life that devastated the Pennsylvania farming town of 2,400 inhabitants in the early summer of 1863 prompted President Abraham Lincoln to travel by rail to visit that November to dedicate a national cemetery. Lincoln honored the fallen dead and framed those soldiers’ sacrifices as necessary to the survival of the nation. He stated that the Union had to remain dedicated “to a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” 

“CHEERS for the RED, WHITE & BLUE: America’s Music Landscape 1776-1976” highlights the music that our 16th President heard or was inspired by such as “Lincoln & Liberty”, “Rally ‘Round the Flag” and “Sweet Chariot”. Pianist, Helen Beedle will present two compositions by artists Teresa Carreno and L.M. Gottschalk who performed for Lincoln. These selections introduce a Lincoln music tribute along with Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” and the reading of the Gettysburg Address. Wanda Burch will share songs from MUSIC in the Midst of Madness: A Respite from the Turmoil of the Civil War with segues throughout the concert by author and historian Ron Coddington that will note excerpts and images from his publication Gettysburg FACES Portraits and Personal Accounts. Additional music selections will tell the stories of valor and sacrifices of our ancestors who lived during the Revolutionary War, WWI, WWII, Korean and Vietnam War eras.

On Friday evening August 4th the annual Heritage Music Gathering remembers the home front’s war effort to support the troops at a recreation of a 1940s Bond Rally. The event is free and all members of the community are encouraged to connect personally to the past and experience a taste of life in the 1940s at the home front during WW II.

The United States spent $300 billion fighting the Axis powers and supplying our allies. The U.S. Treasury offered Americans a series of War Bonds as an investment in their country. The money helped to pay for tanks, planes, ships, uniforms, weapons, medicine, food and everything else the military needed to fight and win. People were implored to do their part through posters picturing Uncle Sam or a soldier/sailor in the theatre of war. Celebrities like Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra and Bette Davis traveled the country putting on Bond Rallies or Radio shows promoting War Bond sales.

“We’ll Meet Again”: A Victory Days WWII Bond Rally steps back in time with a recreation of an evening of music, radio broadcasts, displays, samples of typical rations, USO coffee & donuts tent, living history impressions of WWII personalities and a variety of activities that will bring the era to life. 

The evening activities are dedicated to the memory of Tom Bristol and Louise McRoberts. Tom passed away at the age of 99 at his home in Windham, NY this past Spring. At the age of 17 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corp where he served as a tail gunner on a B-25 in the Pacific theater. He completed 54 combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, and Air Medal. Louise McRoberts from East Windham, NY died at the age of 98 in February 2023. She served in the Women’s Army Corps in 1944 and was dispatched to a medical unit to help care for wounded soldiers returning to the U.S. during the Battle of the Bulge. She later was deployed to Germany as an air-raid warden. 

Join us for a BBQ and Ice Cream Social at 5 pm. Visitors are encouraged to bring their families and friends as we remember our parents and grandparents of the “Greatest Generation” whose sacrifices preserved the liberty and freedoms we currently enjoy and led to the post-war reconstruction of Europe and Japan. 

For further information call 518-734-5655.

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