We lived in a New England town of 500 that rustled up enough veterans to march up the main street to the odd strains of a handful of sincere but unrehearsed musicians. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Sunday school regulars and the town selectman fell in line, followed by the volunteer fireman's truck and, finally, we the townspeople trooped along behind on our way to the cemetery.
There the honor guard from the three services fired their salutes to those who had died in wars, prayers were invoked for the living and the dead, and wreaths and flowers were laid on graves, some of them freshly dug. A heavy silence prevailed over words and ceremonies. Tears of loss mingled with sighs of relief that soon all the killing would stop.
In later years, those impressions grew into a conclusion that the Day (which was set on May 30 until leisure and commerce made it just another three-day weekend, whatever the date) was the greatest anti-war event of the year.