National Geographic : 1974 Jul
Memories forever W ITH GOOD REASON Grafton has observed Memorial Day, still known fondly as Decoration Day, since 1868. The village claims that proportionally more of its men served the Union cause than from anywhere else in the North. The town band marches informally (below) but no less solemnly. And schoolchildren decorate the graves of the fallen with awe and innocent understanding (right). One wrote: "To me Memorial Day is a day to remember all the soldiers that put their life into a war." Vermont knew little peace in its early years. A corridor of conflict in the French and Indian War of the mid-1700's, "the wilderness" became disputed ground between New York and New Hampshire. Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys first harassed the Yorkers and then, during the Revolution, the British. An independent republic from 1777 to 1791, Vermont joined the Union in the latter year as the 14th state. First to forbid slavery and to allow all its adult males to vote, Vermont alone in New England felt the sting of Confederate "invasion," in a combination raid and bank robbery launched against St. Albans from ostensibly neutral Canada.