This week in honor of the Memorial Day holiday, Music Therapist Katie Bagley asked her elder group on a memory care unit if any of them had served in the armed forces. Many raised their hands. A few had family members who had served. But, all of these individuals ranging in age 70-90 had experienced the atmosphere of WWII. Aside from being at war, the atmosphere of that time included songs that held the country together, kept the members of the armed forces going, and evoked national pride and belonging.
With this group, Katie sang songs representative of the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard: Anchors Aweigh, From The Halls of Montezuma, Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder, Anchors Aweigh, and Caisson Song. She also sang favorites like God Bless America, My Country Tis of Thee, Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree, and Boogie Woogie Bugel Boy.
Unlike any other songs, these selections stir up a good feeling. “It’s a national pride and morale that takes over the room,” says Katie Bagley. And that good feeling is something that is important to tap into, for though the memory challenges prevail, the music connects them with their community. And it honors their story.