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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Memorial Day: 1943

Memorial Day: 1943

May 31, 1943. "Gallipolis, Ohio. Young horn player at the Decoration Day cere­monies." Photo by Arthur Siegel, Office of War Information. View full size.

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Big Target

I played a Sousaphone all four years of High School and it seemed like the bell of the horn always attracted people to try their hook shots with anything that was handy. It could be gravel, coke cans, paper wads, etc. Most of the time it happened at local parades in our hometown and not so much in other towns. Our band represented Kansas in the Inaugural Parade of Eisenhowers second inauguration in 1957 and there was certainly no throwing of objects along Pennsylvania Avenue.


After 3 years of playing the upright bass, and 3 years of hauling one of these monsters in parades and at football games, the class immediately after I left ended up with the nice, white (and light) fiberglass sousaphones. A long parade in 95+ degrees was quite a feat!

Permanent damage

I have a depression in my left trapezius directly traceable to my having played Sousaphone for a few years. My other instrument was violin -- no, I never played a duet with myself -- and my left wrist is now a reliable indicator of impending inclement weather.

But what is art without sacrifice?

Well used

Those sousaphones look pretty battered. They were probably bought in the '20s when times were better. I feel for the smaller boy - a metal sousaphone can weigh 35-40 pounds.

More from Decoration Day

Are these guys entertaining the folks from this previous Shorpy entry: Decoration Day: 1943?

From the condition of the sousaphones it looks like they are school supplied instruments. Since this appears to be out side I'm gonna guess this young man is a member of the Gallia Academy High School "Blue Devils Marching Band".

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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