An Over-Sixty Looks at Veteran’s Day

You know you’re getting old when the faces at Veteran’s Day events look more and more like yourself and less and less like your parents. Obviously it’s the natural course of things, and yet there is an unmistakable poignancy in it all. As we bid adieu to the World War II generation I can imagine what my grandparents felt when only a handful of Civil War vets remained alive, fragile souls riding in flashy automobiles in parades of the 1930s. Continue reading

Forgotten Wars?

Almost everyone remembers from history class the names of the major wars fought by the United States—the French and Indian War, the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War,  World War I and World War II. Then there are the “forgotten wars” like the The Mexican-American, Spanish-American and Korean wars and Vietnam.  With Veteran’s Day just around the corner, I decided to take a look at what we have in the collection related to the above-named conflicts.

We abound with manuscripts related to the American Revolution (there is even a collection with that name) the War of 1812 and the Civil War. World War I and World War II are rather well represented as well. For the Spanish-American War we have much less, in fact only ten manuscript items.  One of those is the minutes of the McKinley Command No. 116 of the United Spanish War Veterans that met in Norwalk. Inside the front cover is a circular letter from the state association describing “Recent Laws Passed for the Benefit of the Veterans of the Spanish-American War” passed in 1909; the minutes begin in 1901. I am reminded of the stories we hear on the news today about soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq having trouble getting medical care and other benefits. Continue reading