Memorial Day, sometime in the late 1930s or 1940s, in a town not too far from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where the three nonagenarian Civil War veterans are quickly dying off, killed for an old joke they shared of finding Confederate treasure, only to show that anything held onto from the Confederacy is worthless.
An okay story, adapted from the radio show “The Old Men,” broadcast on Memorial Day weekend in 1942, named “As Simple As ABC,” in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and “The Adventure of the Gettysburg Bugle” in Calendar of Crime the following year.
The most interesting part was the introduction, which presents an overview of the remembrance of the Civil War, as true today as it was then:
These are the misty-hearted to home the Civil War is “the War” and the blue-gray armies rather more than men. Romantics, if you will, garnishers of history. But it is they who pace the lonely sentry post of the night Potomac, they who hear the creaking of the ammunition wagons, the snap of campfires, the scream of the thin gray line and the long groan of the battlefield. They personally flee the burning hell of the Wilderness as the dead rise and twist in the flames; under lanterns, in the flickering mud, they stoop compassionately with the surgeons over quivering heaps. It is they who keep the little flags flying and the ivy green on the graves of the old men.
Americans continue to live the Civil War, even to the point of weekly reenactments of it, unlike any other war anywhere else. And then there’s this.