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Syracuse University Libraries

Featured Collections: Memorial Day 2024

Research Guide for Memorial Day 2024

Memorial Day 2024

Black and White Photo, a reflection of people standing in front of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Memorial Day, 1985

With the Capitol building in the background, people gather around the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington following a Memorial Day ceremony at the memorial, May 27, 1985. (AP Photo/Lana Harris) A.P. Image ID : 540189253987


This Research Guide includes suggested books, films, and websites about the Vietnam and other wars, the history and meaning of Memorial Day, VA Cemeteries, and the National Archives.

With Curator's Statement by Ocean Noah, MFA Creative Writing '24. Coordinated by Patty Giles, Reference and Instruction Librarian. Research Assistance by Amy McDonald in the Special Collections Research Center. 

Curator's Statement

Curating this year’s book display for Memorial Day allowed me to consider the difference between Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day for the first time. Memorial Day is uniquely about memory, mourning, grief, and gratitude. 

Most of the books we included in this year’s display relate to the American Vietnam War memorialization. Though it was not a conscious decision at first, this parallel makes perfect sense. The common thread is a strong relationship with Syracuse University students. From the Vietnam War Era to the present time, student and alumni veterans have contributed significantly to Syracuse University’s campus culture. 

This year, we endeavored to honor three Syracuse University alumni who made the ultimate sacrifice in their service. Amy McDonald at the Special Collections Research Center assisted me in searching for photos and biographical information for the alumni we featured in this display who were either killed in action or missing in action. Major Michael Balamoti, a cherished student and fraternity brother, was laid to rest when his remains were discovered twenty-six years after his death in Laos. First Lieutenant James Lyons, a highly decorated officer, is memorialized through a scholarship at Syracuse University for students whose parents are disabled or fallen heroes. Pfc Griswald M. Hill Jr., though more challenging to trace, left a significant mark. His senior portrait may be absent from the yearbook, but his memory lives on in the hearts of those who knew him. The occasion of Memorial Day and Hill’s missing information both serve to remind us that our memorialization work is never done. Syracuse University will remain dedicated to uncovering the stories of all of its alumni who have given their lives to their service. 

Memorial Day, the act of remembering, is an especially intellectual way to engage with war. Our book display features several academic works that critically evaluate how architecture, rhetoric, photography, and film represent the many lives lost to war. Our memories of these brave and brilliant service members inhabit our minds, hearts, and even our books. 

Warmest wishes to all Syracuse University families who have lost someone they love to their service. 


Ocean A. Noah 

MFA, Creative Writing ‘24

Books in our collection about the Vietnam War

Books in our collection about memorials and memorialization

Three Syracuse Alumni Killed in Action

The History Of Memorial Day

Videos about Memorial Day Observances (available for current SU affiliates)

Link to National Archive databases of people killed or missing in action.