Sensational Sunday Experiencing WWI Through Music
Name: Sensational Sunday Experiencing WWI Through Music
Date: February 17, 2019
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM CST
Experiencing WWI through Its’ Music: From “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to be a Soldier” to “Over There” The sixth in the series titled Perspectives on the Legacy of World War I, a series of quarterly Sensational Sunday programs focused on events, impacts and activities related to World War I and how they influence North Dakotans’ ways of life, world views and philosophies. Dr. Perry Hornbacher, Professor of History at Bismarck State College At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War, later known as WWI, ended. There are many ways to bring the feelings and attitudes of the day to life: speeches, letters home, images in posters, and, very vividly, in its music. Music was and still is a powerful avenue to reach a large audience, but it is also a window through which we can experience the times ourselves. The music of WWI offers a unique perspective of history to better reflect and interpret the attitude of the day. By using the songs (and the messages within them) that made up the soundtrack for the war, we can see various perspectives, from early open calls to stay out of the war—“I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier”—to patriotic calls for support—“Over There”—and even to the reality of army life with “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning” by Irving Berlin. Music has and still is a major part of how the public perceives, interprets, and immortalizes history. Especially relevant is that music is, for the most part, a recording of the sentiments at that moment. To listen to the music of WWI is among the best ways to actually replicate the events of the day, maybe even to create an understanding of how the events of the day may have felt to those who were living through them, to hear it as if you were being asked, “How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree)?"