Saturday, November 15, 2014
November 15-16, 2014: Crowd-sourced Veterans Days
[In honor of Veteran’s Day, this week’s series has focused on cultural and historical moments and issues related to that sizeable and growing American community. As always, this crowd-sourced post is drawn from the responses and perspectives of fellow AmericanStudiers—add yours in comments, please!]
First, I’ll highlight three additional Veterans Day posts of mine that were published this week on the great new We’re History site: on Chinese Americans in the Civil War; African American Civil War veteran Parker David Robbins; and the post-World War I Bonus Army.
My We’re History colleague Heather Cox Richardson also published a Veterans Day post, on the recent posthumous Medal of Honor awarded to Alonzo Cushing.
On Facebook, Paige Swarbrick shares that her grandmother, Mary E. Dess, “wrote a story about her husband [Paige's grandfather], and the time when they were stationed in Korea and she helped open a school. It was featured in Chicken Soup for the Military Wife’s Soul.”
AnneMarie Donahue writes, “My father and his father both enlisted in the United States military forces. My grandfather served in the theater of Pacific and never saw a day of action. My father signed up to serve in Vietnam and was deployed to Germany for three years, finishing his tour in Kansas. But the veteran I want to write of is my maternal grandmother, Imelda Fitzgerald (Smith after marriage). She and her community of only 400 families had been moved from their homes in Placentia Bay to an area closer to St. John's Bay to make room for the American Naval Base. My grandmother then went and enlisted as one of the ladies of the call center. She was not an American, and she wasn't even a Canadian at the time (it was technically the Dominion of Newfoundland... no seriously that was the name of it, look it up!). She, and the other young women, learned code, technical mechanics of the phone system, assisted in landings as needed, and watched as some of the finest pilots America would see ‘puddle hopped’ to Europe. What makes her extraordinary is that this woman lost her home, farm, livestock, fishing business and way of life to the lend-lease program, a program that she did not benefit from, nor even understand. But she signed up to work for ‘the states,’ these loud, pushy people who ate and spoke at the same time, yelled everything they said, and had no idea what ‘thank you’ meant. She loved them. She would then move (uhm... illegally) to this land and make a home for herself, her husband and her 16 (anchor) babies. We owe a great deal to the people who stand on lines, and face an enemy, but we owe a debt to the people who stand behind them and fight in their own way.”
Next series starts Monday,
PS. Any other veterans texts, moments, or issues you’d share?