Skip to main content

How to Remember on Memorial Day

How to Remember on Memorial Day

Sure, parades and picnics can be fun. But the best way to remember sacrifices made for the freedoms we cherish is to read about and remember what those heroes actually accomplished. That's an important part of what American Heritage has done for 70 years: tell those important stories.

Here are some of our favorite articles on seven wars. Bookmark this page so you can return to read more!

Middle East Conflicts

The Quietest War, by Kevin Baker. We’ve kept Fallujah, but have we lost our souls?

From Saigon To Desert Storm, by Max Boot. How the U. S. military reinvented itself after Vietnam.

Vietnam War

The Bitter Triumph of Ia Drang, by Harry G. Summers, Jr. The first major engagement of the U. S. Army in Vietnam was a decisive American victory. Perhaps it would have been better for all of us if it had been a defeat.

Hill 102, by Paul Critchlow. How a patch of ground forged a man’s future, stole a part of his soul, and gave it back to him years later.

"To Heal a Nation": Creating the Vietnam Wall, by James Reston Jr. Jan Scruggs fought on multiple fronts to build the Vietnam Memorial, which was once derided as a “black gash” and “Orwellian glop.” His work inspired a nation and helped bring Americans together.

Korean War

Winter of the Yalu, by James Dill. A soldier remembers the freezing, fearful retreat down the Korean Peninsula after the Chinese armies smashed across the border

Chosin, by Robert Moskin. Fifty years ago in the frozen mountains of Korea, the Marines endured a campaign as grueling and heroic as any in history.

World War II

A Place To Be Lousy In, by Peter Andrews. The American army that beat Hitler was thoroughly professional, but it didn’t start out that way. North Africa was where it learned the hard lessons—none harder than the disaster at Kasserine. This was the campaign that taught us how to fight a war.

Medic!”, by Stephen E. Ambrose. In a hard war theirs may have been the hardest job of all. But together with Army doctors and Army nurses, they worked something very close to a miracle in the European theater.

The Biggest Theater, by Capt. Edward L. Beach. Revisiting the seas where American carriers turned the course of history, a Navy man re-creates a time of frightful odds and brilliant gambles.

World War I

The Meaning of 1918, by John Lukacs. A century after the guns fell silent along the Western Front, the work they did there remains of incalculable importance to the age we inhabit and the people we are.

Sergeant York, by Nat Brandt. In the Meuse-Argonne, this backwoods pacifist did what Marshal Foch saw as “the greatest thing accomplished by any private’ soldier of all the armies of Europe.”

When the Bonus Army Marched on DC, by Paul Dickson. In the largest protest of the Depression, World War I veterans converged on Washington, DC seeking justice. They were met with tanks, bayonets, and tear gas.

The Civil War

Why The Civil War Still Matters, by James M. McPherson. The nation's leading authority on the conflict explains why the Civil War still fascinates us.

Grant Splits Dixie, by Jack Hurst. With his command threatened by allegations of drunkenness, Ulysses S. Grant went on the attack, won two major victories, demanded “Unconditional Surrender”, and nearly split the Confederacy in half.

High Stakes at Antietam, by Stephen W. Sears. A largely accidental battle, pitting Robert E. Lee against George B. McClellan, became the single deadliest day in America's history and changed the course of the Civil War.

The War of 1812

Light-Horse Harry's Tragic Fight for Freedom of the Press, by Ryan Cole. In the bitter partisanship during the War of 1812, the decorated veteran nearly died fighting a Baltimore mob in defense of an unpopular Federalist publisher. 

The Battle of Lake Erie, by Richard F. Snow. "With half the western world at stake, See Perry on the middle lake.” —Nineteenth-century ballad 

The American Revolution

The Most Successful Revolution, by Irving Kristol. WHAT IS THERE TO CELEBRATE? 

Portrait Of A Hero, by Robert M. Weir. Courtly, gallant, handsome, and bold, John Laurens seemed the perfect citizen-soldier of the Revolution. But why did he have to seek death so assiduously?

Bernardo De Gálvez, by Thomas Fleming. The forgotten Revolutionary conquistador who saved Louisiana




Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.