Inspiring Stories of Service: Erich Phillips

U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Erich Phillips joins us to share his journey in the military, what it means to receive both the Silver Star and Distinguished Service Cross as well as how he helps others process their own combat experiences.

This Month in History (July 1-30)

Four members of the 6888th. Source: United States Department of Defense.

JULY 1, 1943

Women’s Army Corps is activated

World War II created an unprecedented need for soldiers on the front lines leaving many other jobs to be fulfilled. The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was created in 1942 by Public Law 554 and converted to an active-duty status as the WAC in 1943 allowing more than 150,000 women to serve in the Army. These roles included radio operators, electricians, air-traffic controllers and postal workers. The WAC was disbanded in 1978, and all units were integrated with male units.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army.

JULY 2, 1926

U.S Army Air Corps is established

The Air Corps served as the Army’s aerial warfare service component between 1926 and 1941. After World War I, as early aviation became an important part of modern warfare, a rift developed between those who valued more traditional ground-based Army methods and those who felt aircraft were being underutilized and stifled for political reasons. During World War II, the Air Corps remained a combat arm of the Army until 1947, when it was legally abolished by legislation establishing the Department of the U.S. Air Force.

Declaration of Independence, oil on canvas by John Trumbull, 1818; in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, Washington, D.C. Architect of the Capitol.

JULY 4, 1776

The Declaration of Independence is adopted by the Second Continental Congress

The Declaration of Independence is adopted by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Enacted during the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence explained why the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain regarded themselves as thirteen independent states, no longer under British rule. With this declaration, the new states took a collective step in forming the United States of America.

28 May 1980, 55 women became the first female graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute.

JULY 6, 1976

U.S. Naval Academy admits women for the first time

The Naval Academy inducted 81 female midshipmen, and in May 1980, Elizabeth Anne Rowe became the first female graduate. She joined Janie L. Mines, the first African American woman to graduate. Four years later, Kristine Holderied became the first female midshipman to graduate at the top of her class. Nearly 5,000 women have graduated from the Naval Academy and gone on to excel in their military careers and beyond.  


The Liberty Bell. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

JULY 8, 1776

“Liberty Bell” celebrates the Declaration of Independence

The “Liberty Bell” rings out to celebrate the Declaration of Independence. The 2,000-pound copper-and-tin bell rang from the tower of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, summoning citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. 

U.S. Army Medal of Honor

JULY 12, 1862

President Lincoln signs into law the U.S. Army Medal of Honor

President Abraham Lincoln signs into law the Medal of Honor for the U.S. Army. The measure awarded the Medal of Honor, in the name of Congress, “to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities during the present insurrection.” In December 1861, Lincoln had approved another provision to create a U.S. Navy Medal of Honor.

Library of Congress| Public Domain  
Major John H. Glenn, Jr., United States Marine Corps, with his Vought F8U-1P Crusader, Bu. No. 144608, after his record-setting flight, 16 July 1957.

JULY 16, 1957

U.S. Marine Corps test pilot, John Glenn, makes the first supersonic transcontinental flight

The transcontinental speed record held by an Air Force Republic F-84 Thunderjet was three hours 45 minutes, and Glenn calculated that the F8U Crusader could go faster. Because its 586-mile-per-hour (943 km/h) air speed was faster than that of a .45 caliber bullet, Glenn called the flight Project Bullet. He flew an F8U Crusader 2,445 miles (3,935 km) from Los Alamitos, California, to Floyd Bennett Field in New York City in three hours, 23 minutes and 8.3 seconds, averaging supersonic speed despite refueling in-flight three times at speeds below 300 miles per hour (480 km/h).

Brigadier General Frank T. Hines, Chief Veterans’ Bureau, 5-20-1924. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

JULY 21, 1930

The Veterans Bureau becomes a federal administration

President Herbert Hoover makes the Veterans Bureau a federal administration. Hoover signed Executive Order 5398, elevating the Veterans Bureau to “consolidate and coordinate government activities affecting war Veterans.” U.S. Army Brigadier General Frank Hines, who had directed the Veterans Bureau for seven years, became the first VA administrator.

American armored and infantry forces pass through the battered town of Coutances, France, in the new offensive against the Nazis. Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives.

JULY 25, 1944

The U.S. First Army launches Operation Cobra

During the Normandy campaign of World War II, Lieutenant General Omar Bradley launched an offensive seven weeks after the D-Day landings. The intention was to take advantage of the Germans distracted by British and Canadian attacks around Caen, France in Operation Goodwood. It was impossible for the Germans to form successive lines of defense, and the Normandy front soon collapsed.  

National Archives and Records Administration| Public Domain
Members of the 223rd Inf Regt, 40th US Inf Division, listen to the announcement of the signing of the truce in their bunker on the Heartbreak Ridge, Korea. 7/27/1953.

JULY 27

National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day

The Korean War ended with the armistice signing in 1953. For three brutal years, the U.N. — principally the United States, fought bravely to stop the spread of communism on the Korean Peninsula. The armistice created the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to separate North and South Korea and allowed for the return of prisoners. In honor of the millions who served, the Korean War Veterans Memorial was dedicated on July 27, 1995, in Washington, D.C. “Freedom is not free,” is inscribed in the memorial display.

Buffalo Soldiers were among the first rangers in what became the National Park Service. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, Harpers Ferry Center for Media Service.

JULY 28

National Buffalo Soldiers Day

This date memorializes the action taken by Congress on July 28, 1866, to establish the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments, and the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st Infantry Regiments. The 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments played an instrumental role in the Indian Wars, protection of national parks and the safe transport of settlers through the Western frontier. Over 180,000 Buffalo Soldiers served in the Army up to the integration of the Armed Forces. Today, we honor and remember the soldiers of the first peacetime, all-black regiments in the U.S. Army.

Students of the U.S. Army chaplain school, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana in dress formation. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

JULY 29, 1775

U.S. Army Chaplain Corps celebrates its 247th anniversary

One of the oldest and smallest branches of the Army, the Continental Congress authorized one chaplain for each regiment of the Continental Army. Our nation’s Army Chaplain Corps helps build spiritual readiness to deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars.

PATUXENT RIVER, Maryland (March 3, 2017) – An undated photo from the personal collection of Alice Virginia Benzie, a Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) Sailor stationed at NAS Patuxent River in the 1940’s, shows WAVES standing in formation at NAS Patuxent River outside the hangars. By the time recruiting ended in 1945, the WAVES boasted a force of 86,000 enlisted and more than 8,000 female officers — around 2.5 percent of the Navy;s total strength at the time.

JULY 30, 1942

WAVES is created during WWII

WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) is created during World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Navy Women’s Reserve Act into law authorizing the U.S. Navy to accept women into the Naval Reserve as commissioned officers and at the enlisted level, effective for the duration of World War II. More than 100,000 WAVES served in a wide variety of capacities ranging from performing essential clerical duties to serving as instructors for male pilots-in-training. The first commander of WAVES was Mildred McAfee, president of Wellesley College. Another notable member of WAVES was Grace Hopper who later attained the rank of rear admiral.

This Month in History (June 4-30)

Deck of the USS Yorktown shortly after being hit by Japanese bombs during the Battle of Midway, northeast of the Midway Islands in the central Pacific, June 4, 1942.
2rd Class William G. Roy—U.S. Navy/NARA

JUNE 4-7, 1942

80-Year Anniversary of the Battle of Midway

Six months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy, attempted to destroy the remainder of the U.S. Pacific Fleet with a surprise attack at Midway Island. On June 7, the U.S. Navy under Admirals Chester W. Nimitz, Frank J. Fletcher and Raymond A. Spruance, successfully defeated the Japanese Navy using cryptanalysts who deciphered Japanese radio transmissions. The Navy’s victory and its successful defense of the major base located at Midway Island turned the tide of World War II in the Pacific. The U.S. lost 360 service members as well as the USS Yorktown and USS Hammann.

Assault landing, one of the first waves at Omaha. The Coast Guard caption identifies the unit as Company E, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Center of Military History.

JUNE 6, 1944

Allies Invade Normandy, known as D-Day

On the morning of June 5, 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, gave the go-ahead for the Operation Overlord. He told the troops, “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe and security for ourselves in a free world.” More than 5,000 ships, 11,000 airplanes and over 150,000 servicemen landed on five beaches along a 50 mile stretch of  France’s Normandy region. It was and remains the largest amphibious assault in history and marked the beginning of one of the most decisive battles in World War II.

Great Hall Veteran Portrait Project photos, courtesy of Stacy Pearsall.

JUNE 12

Women Veterans Day

The first Women Veterans Day was held June 12, 2018, marking the 70th anniversary of the groundbreaking Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, signed into law by President Harry S. Truman on June 12, 1948.  We honor and recognize the more than 67,000 female Veterans in Ohio and more than 2 million female Veterans who have bravely served our nation. June 12 is currently a state-recognized commemoration in California, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army.

JUNE 14

U.S. Army 247th Birthday

From the Revolutionary War to conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, the Army is the oldest and largest branch of the U.S. Military. On June 14, 1775, the Second Continental Congress formed the Continental Army as a way for the 13 unified American colonies to fight against British forces. More than 30 million men and women have served since 1775 and today, the Army is made up of more than 700,000 soldiers.

Betsy Ross showing George Washington (left) and others how she made the U.S. flag, painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme.
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

JUNE 14, 1777

U.S. National Flag Adopted

The Second Continental Congress passed a resolution stating, “The flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white: that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation establishing June 14 as national Flag Day.

Juneteenth celebrations. Photo courtesy of The Portal to Texas History.

JUNE 19

Celebrate Juneteenth

On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed them two years earlier, and the American Civil War had largely ended, Texas was the most remote of the slave states. Due to a low presence of Union troops, enforcement of the proclamation had been slow and inconsistent. Newly freed Black people celebrated, and Juneteenth was born. Juneteenth became an official U.S. holiday in 2021.

JUNE 20

American Eagle Day

On this day in 1782, the Second Continental Congress selected the bald eagle as our country’s national symbol. In 1940, Congress passed the Bald Eagle Protection Act prohibiting the selling, owning or killing of bald eagles. In spite of this protection, the bald eagle was listed as an endangered species by 1967, due mainly to the widespread use of D.D.T., a pesticide used to eradicate mosquitoes and other pests, passed on to eagles through the fish they ate. After strict conservation efforts, eagle populations are once again thriving. This special day honors our national symbol and helps create awareness of the eagle’s importance to our ecosystem and our national pride.

JUNE 21, 1788

U.S. Constitution Ratified

New Hampshire became the ninth and last necessary state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, thereby making the document the law of the land.

G.I. Bill signing by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Photo courtesy of the FDR Library.

JUNE 22, 1944

G.I. Bill signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt

The G.I. Bill or  Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 was an unprecedented act of legislation designed to compensate returning members of the armed services known as G.I.s, for their efforts in World War II. As part of the New Deal, Roosevelt’s administration created the G.I. Bill to avoid a relapse of the Great Depression. It transformed higher education in America by giving Veterans money for tuition, living expenses, books, supplies and equipment. By 1947, Veterans made up half of the nation’s college enrollment.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.

JUNE 23

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary 83rd Birthday

Established by Congress in 1939, the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary is Semper Paratus, “Always Ready.” The 26,000-volunteer member force donates more than 3.8 million hours in support of U.S. Coast Guard missions to promote safety on and over the high seas and the nation’s navigable waters.

A U.S. howitzer position near the Kum River, 15 July. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Signal Corps.

JUNE 25, 1950

The Korean War Breaks Out

North Korea invaded South Korea beginning the war sometimes referred to as “ the Forgotten War.” This three-year conflict was the first military action of the Cold War. North Korea was supported by China and the Soviet Union while South Korean was supported by the United Nations, principally the United States. By July, American troops had entered the war to stem the tide of communism. The fighting ended with an armistice on July 27, 1953.

Berlin Airlift. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.

JUNE 26, 1948

The “Berlin Airlift” Begins

After World War II, the Allies split a defeated Germany into four zones: Soviet-occupied, American-occupied, British-occupied and French-occupied. In June 1948, the Soviet Union closed off all highways, railroads and canals from Western-occupied Berlin. In response, the U.S. and its Allies supplied residents with food, water, medicine and more from the air. Through “Operation Vittles” or the “Berlin Airlift,” more than 2.3 million tons of cargo were dropped into West Berlin for nearly a year.

Brig. Gen. Kristin K. French, commanding general, 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), congratulates Chief Warrant Officer Jeffrey Thompson, a systems technician with the 82nd Airborne Division, on completing his college degree during his deployment, May 23. French gave the opening remarks for the first ever Kandahar Airfield college graduation ceremony and handed out certificates to the graduates. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Gregory Williams)

JUNE 30, 2008

President George W. Bush Signs the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill

President Bush signed H.R. 2642 into law in an effort to pay for Veterans’ college expenses, just as the original G.I Bill did after World War II. The main provisions of the act include 100% funding of a public four-year undergraduate education to a Veteran who served three-years on active duty since September 11, 2001. The act also Veterans to transfer these benefits to a spouse or children after serving ten years.

This Month in History (May 1-30)

Rear Adm. Mike Shatynski, vice commander of Naval Surface Forces, joins the Whittier City Council and American Legion Veterans in celebrating the city’s proclamation naming May 1 Silver Star Banner Day to honor America’s wounded combat Veterans. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Brian Brannon/Released)

MAY 1

Silver Star Service Banner Day

Silver Star Service Banner Day is celebrated. It is a time to remember the sacrifices of our service members who have been wounded, sickened or killed in combat. The tradition of a service banner with blue star covered in threads of silver began during World War I. However, it went out of use when gold and blue star service banners were adopted by the U.S. The color silver symbolizes the gallantry of service members, and blue symbolizes hope. An organization, the Silver Star Families of America, brought back awareness of the banner itself and also lobbied states and the United States Congress to name May 1st as the day to recognize it. In 2010, Congress and President Barack Obama acknowledged this date of recognition.

National Archive and Records Administration| Public Domain 
1st Lt. Linda Bowser, an Air Force nurse with the 8th TFW MEDCAP team, examines a Thai girl. 1/10/1974.

MAY 6

National Nurses Day

National Nurses Day honors our nation’s nurses, both civilian and military. We honor the men and women who put their lives on the line to care for the ill and wounded. The contributions of U.S. military nurses reaches as far back as the American Revolution when women cared for the fallen on battlefields and in camps. At the end of the 19th century, Florence Nightingale introduced strict hygiene practices while caring for wounded soldiers in the Crimean War. She helped usher in the foundations of modern-day nursing and inspired others through her commitment to patient care, example of compassion and diligent and thoughtful hospital administration.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army.

MAY 6

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

Military Spouse Appreciation Day honors our nation’s military spouses. Each year, the Friday prior to Mother’s Day is dedicated to U.S. military spouses across the globe. We are immensely grateful for all military spouses – their achievements, sacrifices and patriotism that help build and shape the communities we live in today.

Jubilant American soldier hugs motherly English woman and victory smiles light the faces of happy service men and civilians at Piccadilly Circus, London, celebrating Germany’s unconditional surrender.” Pfc. Melvin Weiss, England, May 7, 1945. Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives.

MAY 8, 1945

V-E Day marks an end of World War II in Europe

V-E Day marks the end of World War II in Europe. Victory in Europe or V-E Day celebrates the World War II Allies’ formal acceptance of Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces. Some 250,000 U.S. troops were killed in the fighting in the European theater. President Harry S. Truman announced V-E Day to the American people, saying in a radio address: “Our rejoicing is sobered and subdued by a supreme consciousness of the terrible price we have paid to rid the world of Hitler and his evil band. Let us not forget, my fellow Americans, the sorrow and the heartache, which today abide in the homes of so many of our neighbors – neighbors whose most priceless possession has been rendered as a sacrifice to redeem our liberty.”

MAY 13

Children of Fallen Patriots Day

Children of Fallen Patriots Day honors the families of our fallen. This day honors the more than 20,000 children who have lost a parent in service to our country. The date of May 13 was selected because it is also the day Arlington National Cemetery was established in 1864. This is the final resting place for many war heroes and serves as a reminder of their sacrifices.  

The Victory of Montcalm’s Troops at Carillon. Early 20th century painting by Henry Alexander Ogden (1854 1936). Fort Ticonderoga Museum, NY.

MAY 15, 1756

The Seven Years’ War conflict is fought over territory in North America

The Seven Years’ War conflict is fought over territory in North America. This war began between Great Britain and France when the British sought to expand into territory claimed by the French in North America. The war came to be known as the French and Indian War, with both the British and the French and their respective Native American allies fighting for control of territory. 

October, 2018 – National Veterans Memorial and Museum Grand Opening weekend, Columbus, Ohio. Photo by John David Helms, www.johndavidhelms.com

MAY 18

International Museum Day

International Museum Day was established in 1977 by the International Council of Museums to help unify the aspirations and efforts of museums across the globe and draw the attention of the public to their global activity. Museums are catalysts for cultural exchange, development of mutual understanding, cooperation, and peace among peoples across the world — last over 37,000 museums from 158 locations participated in International Museum Day.

October, 2018 – National Veterans Memorial and Museum Grand Opening weekend, Columbus, Ohio. Photo by John David Helms, www.johndavidhelms.com

MAY 21

Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day honors our nation’s service members of all U.S. military branches — past, present and future. Established in 1949, the day was conceived by President Harry Truman with inspiration by the recent unification of our military under the Department of Defense.

Clara Barton. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

MAY 21, 1881

The American Red Cross, a humanitarian aid organization, is founded

The American Red Cross, a humanitarian aid organization, is founded. The American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons, and by 1882, the U.S. ratified the Geneva Conventions — laws that, to this day, protect the war-wounded and civilians in conflict zones. This later resulted in a U.S. congressional charter, officially recognizing Red Cross services. Barton served as president for 23 years and today, her legacy lives on through the volunteers and their enduring spirit of help and hope to many across the world.

Battle of Cantigny. Photo courtesy of the Marshall Foundation.

MAY 28, 1918

Battle of Cantigny marked the first major offensive for American Expeditionary Forces

Battle of Cantigny marked the first major offensive for American Expeditionary Forces. During World War I, the U.S. 1st Division, the most experienced of the five American divisions in France, led an assault on the town of Cantigny, France, making it the first divisional attack by the American Expeditionary Forces in the war. The objective was to both reduce the effectiveness of the German Army and instill confidence among the French.

NASA| Public Domain
President Barack Obama presents former United States Marine Corps pilot, astronaut and United States Senator John Glenn with a Medal of Freedom, Tuesday, May 29, 2012, during a ceremony at the White House in Washington.

MAY 29, 2012

Presidential Medal of Freedom is presented to Senator John Glenn

Presidential Medal of Freedom is presented to Senator John Glenn. On May 29, 2012, President Barack Obama presented U.S. Marine Corps pilot, astronaut, and Senator John Glenn with the Medal of Freedom. According to the Obama White House, “It is the highest honor awarded to civilians in the U.S. The medal was established in 1963 by President Kennedy and presented to those who have made an especially meritorious contribution to the security and national interests of the U.S., world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” See what the Medal meant to him: What the Medal of Freedom Means to Me: John Glenn | whitehouse.gov (archives.gov).

A woman visits the grave of a fallen loved one in Upstate New York on Decoration Day. (Library of Congress)

MAY 30, 1868

First official Decoration Day, precursor to Memorial Day, was celebrated

First official Decoration Day, precursor to Memorial Day, was celebrated. On May 30, 1868, Ohio Rep. James A. Garfield, a former general and future U.S. president, addressed a crowd of 5,000 gathered at Arlington National Cemetery. May 30 was a day touted by the Grand Army of the Republic, an association of Union Civil War Veterans, as an official day of remembrance for people across the country. The hope was to honor the war’s dead by decorating the graves of Union soldiers.

Major Walter Reed. Courtesy of the U.S. Army.

MAY 1900

Major Walter Reed discovers breakthroughs on yellow fever

Major Walter Reed, a U.S. Army physician, led the team that confirmed the theory of the Cuban doctor Carlos Finlay that yellow fever is transmitted by a particular mosquito species, rather than by direct contact. This insight gave impetus to the new fields of epidemiology and biomedicine, and most immediately allowed the completion of work on the Panama Canal by the United States. Seven years after his death in 1909, Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, D.C. was opened.

Battle of Cold Harbor. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

MAY-JUNE 1864

Overland Campaign is fought over seven weeks

The Overland Campaign, a series of Civil War battles fought over seven weeks, began when Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all Union armies, directed the actions of the Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, against Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. The final major battle of the campaign was waged at Cold Harbor where Grant gambled that Lee’s army was exhausted and ordered a massive assault against strong defensive positions. Although Grant suffered severe troop losses during the campaign, it was a strategic Union victory and led to the eventual surrender of Lee in April of 1865.

Inspiring Stories of Service: Dead Reckoning Collective

There’s power in putting pen to paper. During National Poetry Month, we’re connecting you to the inspiring stories of Tyler Carroll and Keith Dow, both U.S. Army Veterans and co-founders of the publishing company Dead Reckoning Collective. Learn how they impact the lives of Veterans by encouraging a positive lifestyle through writing and storytelling.

Please see a selection of Veteran-focused poetry from Dead Reckoning Collective below.

“3495 Bailey”

Originally featured in Karmic Purgatory
Published by Dead Reckoning Collective (2021)

Light a smoke
Tell a joke
Order a beer
Wipe a tear
“Where you been?”
“Who’s your kin?”

Old man shares a smoke
Tells a joke
“Have a Miller”
“Can tell you’re a killer”

Take a gulp
Cold and hot
Been here a lot

“Don’t live in it forever
It fades like burnt paper “

Old leather looks a lot like scarred skin
Tells a story most can’t comprehend
Keith Walter Dow

“Warned Me”

Originally featured in Where They Meet
Published by Dead Reckoning Collective (2021)

Every step, a set of ribbons stitched on a hat
Reminds you of where they’ve been
And where you’re at
Wedged in a chair, relating to peeling linoleum
Narcotics more present than the fiends holding them
We are the resolve and we are the end result
We are the hammers, the scalpels, and the old salts
We are more though and moreover
We are walking, talking textbooks when the war’s over
As rattled as we wanna be
As broken as they all believe
When they read our story
What will they take away?
Will they know of the triumphs?
Or will they pity our decay?
Cokie

“Odes to the GWOT”

Originally featured in In Love… & War: The Anthology of Poet Warriors
Published by Dead Reckoning Collective (2019)

Here stands in the face of unprecedented transition
Testament to unchanging resolve
For which these warriors will be forever known.
Cities were our fought-for islands,
Desert and mountain, rather Grandfather’s shores.
A nation asked and thus was answered:
Our bravest men for its longest wars.
David Rose

“22 October 2021”

Originally featured in Poppies
Published by Dead Reckoning Collective (2021)

Ten years later and
We have insulated ourselves,
Turned shock and grief
Into calluses of the heart
A tree planted in your honor
Museum displays
Children named after you
Everyone pours out for you
In their own way
All I have are my words and
Ten years was too easy to count
But your legacy
Exponential through those that love you
Is immeasurable
Amy Sexauer

“Fact & Memory”

Originally featured in Fact & Memory
Published by Dead Reckoning Collective (2019)

Sometimes the two perfectly coincide
Sometimes separated by miles and miles
At times the obstacle is geographic
At times temporal logic is absent
There are times it’s a matter of when
There are times when it’s all that matters
Often times what we believe we lived different
Often times what we remember just isn’t
Keith Dow & Tyler Carol

“Hanging Up the Rifle”

Originally featured in Sober Man’s Thoughts
Published by Dead Reckoning Collective (2020)

They warned me of death,
and war’s evil endeavor,
but nobody told me
we’d chase it forever.
William Bolyard

Volunteer Spotlight: Kathy S.

Our NVMM volunteers are integral to the success of our Museum. Thanks to the support of these amazing individuals, we are able to achieve our mission to Honor, Connect, Inspire, and Educate our community, state and nation about the Veteran experience!

Meet Kathy, an NVMM volunteer who has been with us since day one.

Q: How long have you been volunteering with the NVMM?
A:
I was part of the very first new volunteer orientation class. We met literally 1 week before we opened on Oct. 27, 2018, so going on four years now.

Q: How have you connected to the Museum?
A:
Simply put, I am committed to our mission. I believe with my whole heart that our Veterans, young and not so young, deserve to be honored and thanked for their service. They need to know that their service matters, whether they were in combat or not. To thank a Veteran for his/her service and to see his/her face light up with gratitude, and sometimes surprise, is deeply satisfying for me. It could even make their entire day. Plus, I had six men in my family that were in the military, including one in WW1 and one in WW2. This is my way of honoring them.

Q: What’s your favorite story about your time as an NVMM volunteer?
A:
In 2019 I had the honor of meeting WW2 Veteran Rupert “Twink” Starr and giving him and his friends a personal tour. He was so proud of his military service, as well as his involvement in getting the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” legislature overturned. If you get a chance, look him up on Google and read about his remarkable life – I believe he will be 99 this year. And, he’s an OU Bobcat like me!!

Q: What inspires you to volunteer?
A:
It’s about serving something bigger than me, contributing to the greater good and making the world a better place.

Q: What’s a fun fact about yourself?
A:
I know how to play the Bodhran, the Irish drum.

Q: We feature a “What We’re Reading” section each month on our website as part of NVMM Reads. What are you reading right now?
A:
I just finished reading “A Woman of No Importance” by Sonia Purnell. It’s about Virginia Hall, an American woman working in the French Resistance during WW2.

Q: What do you like to do when you aren’t working or volunteering?
A:
I love kayaking, hiking, exploring, and ‘treasure hunting.’ Those who work with me on Saturdays will know what that means.

Q: What is your personal motto, or your favorite quote?
A:
“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121.

NVMM Reads: “The Knock at the Door”

This month, our NVMM Guest Experience team highly recommends adding “The Knock at the Door,” co-authored by Ryan Manion, Heather Kelly and Amy Looney Hefferman, to your reading list. As an incredible testament to their fallen loved ones, these women joined together, united through tragedy, to convey their experience so that others may understand. This is a book for all that have received a literal or metaphorical life-changing “knock at the door,” for anybody who has gone through loss and for anyone interested in exploring and understanding love and sacrifice.

“The Knock at the Door” begins by describing a heartbreaking personal narrative of the intense healing processes undergone by the three Gold Star authors. Immediately upon taking their first hopeful steps into adulthood, Ryan Manion, Heather Kelly and Amy Looney Heffernan were faced with the ever-feared knock at their door. As quickly as their new lives had begun, it all appeared to end with the arrival of servicemen at their doorstep. In an instant, they were forced to cope with the unimaginable loss of family members; losses which changed the entire course of their lives. Despite their struggles, these brave women describe how their losses could not prevent them from living life to the fullest and helping others understand their grief. It was through their grief that they were bonded in solemn purpose, and the community built through their trauma is a true testament to their respective characters and those of their fallen loved ones.

This book is a sorrowful, yet beautiful reminder that nobody has all the answers. It is not always a beautiful process to heal from such pain. However, there is a light in the darkness. For each person who has experienced a life changing “knock at the door,” communities such as “The Travis Manion Foundation” can give many the strength to carry on and grow through pain.

At the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, we honor and respect those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, as well as their families and friends. Our fallen service members have each directly or indirectly impacted lives through their service, dedication and courage. Travis Manion, Brendan Looney, and Rob Kelly each embodied the phrase, “If not me, then who?” a phrase which has proven to be an important phrase for many in the healing process. They gave their lives in defense of our country and our freedoms so that we wouldn’t have to.

This Month in History (April 2-26)

Four F9F-2 Panther jet fighters roar past the carrier, with dive brakes, landing gear and arresting hooks down, preparing to land on board after returning from a mission over North Korea, 23 June 1951. The planes and their pilots are from Fighter Squadron 721 (VF-721), a Naval Reserve squadron formerly based at Naval Air Station, Glenview, Illinois. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

APRIL 2, 1951

First U.S. Navy jet aircraft utilized as a bomber

First U.S. Navy jet aircraft utilized as a bomber is launched from the USS Princeton. Two F9F-2B Panthers catapulted from the Princeton to attack a railroad bridge near Songlin, North Korea.

President Harry Truman signs the Economic Cooperation Act of 1948 surrounded by the Act’s supporters. (Left to right) Senator Arthur Vandenberg, Treasury Secretary John Snyder, Representative Charles A. Eaton, Senator Tom Connally, Secretary of the Interior Julius A. Krug, Representative Joseph Martin, Representative Sol Bloom, and Attorney General Tom Clark, April 3, 1948. Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives.

APRIL 3, 1948

President Harry Truman signed the Economic Cooperation Act of 1948

President Harry S. Truman signed legislation authorizing the Economic Cooperation Act of 1948. Today, we refer to this legislation as the Marshall Plan in honor of George C. Marshall Jr., a General of the U.S. Army and the Secretary of State when the document was signed. The goal of the Marshall Plan was to both stabilize and reinvigorate the economy of Western Europe after the destruction of World War II. The Marshall Plan provided over $12 billion dollars in economic assistance to the Western European economy. Eventually, the Marshall Plan was replaced with the Mutual Security Act of 1951, also enacted by the Truman Administration, with the goal of economically lifting less developed countries up to prevent the spread of communism throughout the world.

Official Gold Star lapel pin/button.

APRIL 5

Gold Star Spouses Day

Gold Star Spouses Day is observed. The first Gold Star Spouses Day began as Gold Star Wives Day in 2010. It was later changed to be more inclusive. The term Gold Star has its origins from the service flags and banners that were first flown by families during World War I. They represented a blue star for family members serving in the armed forces and a gold star if their family member made the ultimate sacrifice during service. This day brings awareness about the sacrifices and grief spouses face. It is a reminder for all of us to remember them and their loved ones on this day and every day.

Enlisted crewmen of USCGC Tampa, all killed in action (KIA), 1918. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.

APRIL 6, 1917

Coast Guard service is transferred to the Navy

When the U.S. enters World War I, Coast Guard service is transferred to the Navy. The United States declared war on Germany, nearly three years after World War I started. On the same day, the U.S. Navy’s communications center in Arlington, Virginia, transmitted the code words “Plan One, Acknowledge,” to Coast Guard cutters, units and bases initiating the Coast Guard’s transfer from the Treasury Department to the Navy and placing the service on a wartime footing.

American survivors of the Battle of Bataan under Japanese guard before beginning the Bataan Death March. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps.

APRIL 9

National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day

National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day honors all who were Prisoners of War (POWs). This day of remembrance occurs on the anniversary of the Bataan Death March. On April 9, 1942, U.S. armed forces surrendered to Japanese forces on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. On that day the Imperial Japanese Army forced American and Filipino POWs to march 65 miles. During this exodus, the POWs were beaten, robbed, starved, tortured and executed by Imperial Japanese service members. It is estimated over 20,000 men died during the march. Those who did not perish suffered cruel treatment for two years as POWs before they made it back to the United States. Today is a reminder of their service and sacrifice.

U.S. Army soldiers in a firefight near Al Doura, Baghdad. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army.

APRIL 9, 2003

U.S. forces captured Baghdad during the Iraq War

U.S. forces captured Baghdad during the Iraq War. The Battle of Baghdad, later known as the Fall of Baghdad, was a military invasion of Iraq that took place in early 2003. On April 9, just three weeks into the invasion, U.S. forces toppled a large bronze statue of Saddam Hussein overlooking Baghdad’s Firdos Square. With Hussein in hiding and much of the city now under U.S. control, this moment came to symbolize the end of the Iraqi president’s long, often brutal reign, and a major early victory for the United States.

Confederate forces bombarding Fort Sumter, Charleston, South Carolina, on April 12, 1861, in a lithograph by Currier & Ives. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

APRIL 12, 1861

First shots of the Civil War

The first shots of the Civil War occured when Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter. The resupply of Fort Sumter became one of the first crises of President Lincoln’s administration. He notified the Governor of South Carolina, Francis W. Pickens, that he was sending supply ships, which resulted in an ultimatum from the Confederate government for the immediate evacuation of Fort Sumter. Confederates bombarded the fort from artillery batteries surrounding the harbor, thus causing the Battle of Fort Sumter.

Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox. Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives.

APRIL 12, 1865

Confederate General Lee surrendered to Union General Grant at Appomattox Court House

Confederate General Lee surrendered to Union General Grant at Appomattox Court House. “It would be useless and therefore cruel,” Robert E. Lee remarked on the morning of April 9, 1865, “to provoke the further effusion of blood, and I have arranged to meet with General Grant with a view to surrender.” Rather than destroy his army and sacrifice the lives of his soldiers, Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia. Three days later, a formal ceremony marked the disbanding of Lee’s army. On April 9, 1865, at the home of Wilmer McLean in the village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia, General Lee formally surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant bringing an end to the bloodiest conflict in American history. This happened just over four years after the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter, which then led to the first land battle at Manassas, Virginia, later that year.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.

APRIL 14

Air Force Reserve Birthday

Air Force Reserve celebrates its 74th Birthday. Since President Harry S. Truman called for the formation of the Air Force Reserve in 1948, it has been a critical part of the nation’s defense. We honor the more than 82,000 men and women who provide combat ready forces to Fly, Fight and Win.

Emancipation Celebrations. Photo courtesy of the White House Historical Association.

APRIL 16, 1862

Emancipation Day is celebrated in the District of Columbia

Emancipation Day is celebrated in the District of Columbia. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, which effectively abolished slavery in the District of Columbia. Slavery in other parts of the United States came to an end in 1865.

Boston Marathon runners nearing the finish line of the Boston Marathon, 2016. Photo courtesy of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

APRIL 18

Patriots’ Day

Patriots’ Day commemorates the battles of Lexington, Concord and Menotomy, some of the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. It occurs on the third Monday of April each year, including battle reenactments and the Boston Marathon in Massachusetts.

USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) underway after the ship struck a mine on 14 April 1988. A USMC CH-47 Sea Knight helicopter is on the helicopter pad. Naval History and Heritage Command photograph.

APRIL 18, 1988

U.S. launched Operation Praying Mantis, the largest naval battle since World War II

The United States launched Operation Praying Mantis against Iranian targets, the largest naval battle since World War II. The operation was launched in retaliation of the placement of mines in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War. The guided missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts struck a mine four days earlier, blowing a 15-foot hole in the ship’s hull. The ship should have sunk, but thanks to an extraordinary damage control effort by all hands of an extremely well-trained crew, the ship was kept afloat. Operation Praying Mantis was the largest of five major U.S. Navy surface actions since World War II. It was the first, and so far only, time the U.S. Navy has exchanged surface-to-surface missile fire with an enemy. In the one-day operation, the U.S. Navy destroyed two Iranian surveillance platforms, sank two of their ships, and severely damaged another. 

Battle of Lexington. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army.

APRIL 19, 1775

The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War

The first military engagements of the American Revolution were the battles at Lexington and Concord. About 700 British Army regulars in Boston were given secret orders to capture and destroy Colonial supplies stored by the Massachusetts Militia at Concord. Through intelligence gathering, Patriot leaders had received word weeks ahead and moved most of it to other locations. On the night before the battle, warning of the British expedition had been rapidly sent from Boston to militias in the area by several riders, including Paul Revere, with information about British plans. The initial mode of the Army’s arrival by water was signaled from the Old North Church in Boston using lanterns to communicate “one if by land, two if by sea”. The first shots of battle were fired just as the sun was rising at Lexington. Ralph Waldo Emerson describes the first shot fired by the Patriots at the North Bridge as the “shot heard round the world.”

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army.

APRIL 23

U.S. Army Reserve Birthday

U.S. Army Reserve celebrates its 114th Birthday. In 1908, the Army Reserve began as a small corps of medical professionals held in readiness for duty. Today, they serve as the Army’s global operational reserve force with a presence in 50 states, five U.S. Territories and 20 time zones across the globe. We recognize the more than 188,000 soldiers that protect our nation.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army.

APRIL 23, 1908

Medical Reserve Corps is created

Congress passed legislation that created the Medical Reserve Corps, the Army’s first Federal Reserve force. Congress created the Medical Reserve Corps to increase the Medical Department of the U.S. Army’s efficiency. The Army’s Medical Department would now consist of both a Medical Corps and a Medical Reserve Corps thereby increasing the number of medical professionals available for soldiers serving on the front lines.

Captain Beach traces the route of Triton’s submerged circumnavigation. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute.

APRIL 25, 1960

USS Triton completed the first submerged circumnavigation of the globe

The U.S. Navy submarine USS Triton completed the first submerged circumnavigation of the globe. Dubbed “Operation Sandblast,” the mission was conducted by the nuclear-powered submarine USS Triton, and was done for purposes of geophysical and oceanographic research. Commanding the submarine was Captain Edward L. Beach Jr., who already forged a stellar naval career to that point. The son of Edward L. Beach Sr., a U.S. Navy captain, Beach Jr.’s career spanned from 1939-1966, and during this time he was awarded the Navy Cross, two Silver Stars and two Bronze Stars, among other commendations.

General William T. Sherman (left) and General Joseph E. Johnston (right). Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives.

APRIL 26, 1865

Confederate General Johnston accepted terms of surrender to Union General Sherman at Bennett Place

Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston accepted terms of surrender to Union General William T. Sherman at Bennett Place near Durham, North Carolina. Following Lee’s surrender and the assassination of Lincoln, Sherman met with Johnston on April 17, 1865, to negotiate a Confederate surrender. At the insistence of Johnston, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge, Sherman conditionally agreed to generous terms. On April 20, Sherman sent a memorandum of those terms to Washington to prevent Johnston from ordering his men to go into the wilderness and conduct a destructive guerilla campaign. However, Sherman proceeded without Grant’s authority as well as President Johnson’s and his Cabinet. Grant intervened to save Sherman from dismissal and offered Johnston purely military terms, like those negotiated with General Lee. Johnston accepted those terms and then formally surrendered his army and all the Confederate forces in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida.

This Month in History (March 1-29)

Pres. John F. Kennedy (left) greeting Peace Corps volunteers at the White House, Aug. 28, 1961.
Courtesy of the Peace Corps.

MARCH 1, 1961

Peace Corps is established

President John F. Kennedy issues an executive order establishing the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps program was created during the Cold War in response to the Soviet Union’s commitment of hundreds of men and women to the service of world communism. In opposition, Kennedy wanted to involve Americans in the cause of global democracy, peace, development and freedom. Kennedy’s brother-in-law, R. Sargent Shriver, was directed to lead the Peace Corps. It was subsequently established on March 1, 1961, by executive order. The first countries to participate were Tanganyika (present-day Tanzania) and Ghana.

F-105Ds refueling en route to North Vietnam in 1965. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.

MARCH 2, 1965

Operation Rolling Thunder begins during the Vietnam War

Operation Rolling Thunder, a gradual and sustained aerial bombardment campaign, begins during the Vietnam War. On March 2, 1965, the U.S. 2nd Air Division and Republic of Vietnam Air Force began an intense air/ground battle against North Vietnam. The goal of this massive bombardment was to put military pressure on North Vietnam’s communist leaders and reduce their capacity to wage war against South Vietnam. Operation Rolling Thunder was the first sustained American assault on North Vietnam and is considered a major expansion of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

Ward Memorial Hall, Northwestern Branch, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

MARCH 3, 1865

Congress approves the establishment of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers

Congress approves legislation establishing the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. The injured who returned home from the Civil War needed long term care, often more than their families could provide. These men were not eligible for care in the homes serving career military officers. Legislation for the creation of the National Asylum of Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was introduced in Congress on February 28, 1865. Both Houses of Congress quickly passed the legislation, with President Lincoln signing the bill on March 3, 1865. In 1873, the name was changed to the National Home of Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. It was one of three predecessors to the Veterans Administration.

This 19th-century lithograph by Henry Pelham is a variation of Revere’s famous engraving, produced just before the American Civil War. It emphasizes Crispus Attucks, the black man in the center who became an important symbol for abolitionists. Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

MARCH 5, 1770

Colonists and British soldiers clash at the Boston Massacre

A protest by colonists against taxation without representation by the British parliament leads to the Boston Massacre. On March 5, 1770, Private Hugh White was guarding the King’s money stored inside the Custom House on King Street. Colonial protesters who called themselves Patriots began taunting British soldiers. White fought back and struck a colonist with his bayonet. In retaliation, colonists began to throw snowballs, ice and stones. Violence escalated, and shots were fired. Crispus Attucks, a symbol of Black American patriotism and sacrifice, was the first person killed in the fight for American Independence.

Battle of the Alamo, colour print by Percy Morgan, c. 1912. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

MARCH 6, 1836

The Battle of the Alamo comes to an end

The Battle of the Alamo ends. The Battle of the Alamo, a pivotal moment during Texas’ war for independence lasted 13 days, from February 23 to March 6, 1836. The Texians leader, Lt. Colonel William B. Travis, had repeatedly written to his superiors for reinforcements and additional supplies. He was denied each time because filling his request would have been an act of war by the United States, which had a peace treaty with Mexico. In an act of bravery and heroic defiance, Travis wrote a letter titled, “Victory or Death,” wherein he asked one final time for any brave soul willing to aid his cause and help defend the mission. Unfortunately, this letter produced no additional aid, and he was killed on the final day of battle. His sacrifice along with those who fought with him gave rise to a rally cry demanding that America support the Texas independence movement which culminated in Texas becoming our 28th state in 1845.

Presidential portrait of U.S. President Harry Truman. Photo courtesy of the Harry S. Truman Library.

MARCH 12, 1947

“Truman Doctrine” is presented to Congress

President Harry S. Truman addresses Congress with the “Truman Doctrine.” President Truman appeared before a joint session of Congress to discuss the growing tensions of American Allies. Congress ultimately approved $400 million in military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey. Historians claim that this is the official start of the Cold War and Truman’s speech, also known as the Truman Doctrine, became the foundation of American foreign policy and eventually led to the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

YOKOSUKA, Japan (Nov. 24, 2021) — Master-At-Arms 3rd Class Valerie Goodblanket, military working dog (MWD) handler onboard Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, poses with her MWD, Army, during a training scenario. The exceptional skillset of MWDs are a key component to the security of base operations and the protection of its community members. (U.S. Navy photo by Taylor Curry)

MARCH 13

K9 Veterans Day

K9 Veterans Day honors military and working dogs. Even before a training program was established to train dogs for work in battle, they were serving as soldiers’ companions and protectors. During the Civil War, two dogs named Jack and Sallie, served alongside their fellow soldiers and helped raise their regiment’s morale. While many dogs served during World War I, it was not until March 13, 1942, that the Dogs for Defense program was established to train dogs to serve. With the U.S. entering World War II, Dogs for Defense called upon citizens to donate their beloved pets to be trained for battle. During the war, a mixed breed dog named Chips earned both the Purple Heart and Silver Star for saving countless U.S. soldiers’ lives on the battlefield.

Photo courtesy of the American Legion.

MARCH 15, 1919

The American Legion celebrates its 103rd Birthday

The American Legion celebrates 103 years. Formed on March 15, 1919, in Paris, France, by a thousand officers and men of the American Expeditionary Forces, the American Legion was chartered on September 16, 1919, by the United States Congress. Today, it’s the nation’s largest wartime Veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security and continued devotion to our fellow service members and Veterans.

Champaign County Historical Archives| Public Domain 
99th Pursuit Squadron, Tuskegee Airmen. Recruits of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, new-all-colored Air Corps Unit. L-R: Charles Settles, A. Crawford, James Mason, W. Herman, W. Warner, L. Young, J. Nelson, C. Chisholm, James Jackson, Norris Connally, Charles Cromchaw, Hiram Little, and John Moore.

MARCH 19, 1941

The 99th Pursuit Squadron is activated

The 99th Pursuit Squadron (which would become the Tuskegee Airmen) is activated. The U.S. War Department established the 99th Pursuit Squadron along with a few other squadrons who would become the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first Black military pilots. The 99th Pursuit Squadron was the first to deploy overseas to North Africa, Sicily and parts of Italy.

On Wednesday evening, March 19, 2003, President George W. Bush meets with his national security and communications advisors after authorizing military operations. Present, from left, are Steve Hadley, Deputy National Security Advisor; Karen Hughes, special advisor to the President; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard B. Myers; Dan Bartlett, Communications Director; Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice; and Secretary of State Colin Powell. WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY ERIC DRAPER

MARCH 19, 2003

President George W. Bush initiates war against Iraq

U.S. President George W. Bush, along with coalition forces initiated war against Iraq. President Bush announced in a televised address, “At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” The government believed that Saddam Hussein possessed or was in the process of building weapons of mass destruction.

“We Can Do It” by J. Howard Miller, was made as an inspirational image to boost worker morale. Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

MARCH 21

Rosie the Riveter Day

Rosie the Riveter Day celebrates World War II icons. Rosie the Riveter was a cultural icon of World War II, representing the women who worked in factories and shipyards, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing male workers who joined the military. “Rosies” represented American feminism and showcased the impact women had in the workforce. We honor all of the brave, powerful and inspiring women who faced challenges and pushed forward!

“Give me liberty, or give me death!” Patrick Henry delivering his great speech on the rights of the colonies, before the Virginia Assembly, convened at Richmond, March 23rd 1775, concluding with the above sentiment, which became the war cry of the revolution. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

MARCH 23, 1775

“Give me liberty, or give me death!” speech is given by Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry delivers, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” speech to the Second Virginia Convention (including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington) at St. John’s Church in Richmond. Henry is credited with convincing the convention to pass a resolution delivering Virginia troops for the Revolutionary War. A gifted orator and major figure during the American Revolution, his rousing speeches fired up America’s fight for independence. Henry became governor of Virginia in 1776 and also influenced creation of the Bill of Rights.

Private Jacob Parrott. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army.

MARCH 25

National Medal of Honor Day

National Medal of Honor Day honors our nation’s 3,530 Medal of Honor recipients. The Medal of Honor was created during the Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces who has distinguished themselves through acts of valor. Since 1941, more than half of the medals have been awarded posthumously. The first Army Medal of Honor was awarded to Private Jacob Parrott during the Civil War for his role in the Great Locomotive Chase. The only woman to receive the Medal of Honor, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, served as a surgeon during the Civil War.

Amphibious assault on Iwo Jima, a DR-8 wire communications reel is at left-center. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps.

MARCH 26, 1945

World War II Battle of Iwo Jima is won by American forces

The World War II Battle of Iwo Jima is won after heavy fighting and casualties. Iwo Jima was considered strategically important as an air base for Japanese fighter planes to intercept U.S. long-range B-29 Superfortress bombers. The U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy landed on and eventually captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Imperial Japanese Army. The invasion, designated Operation Detachment, had the goal of capturing the entire island, including the three Japanese-controlled airfields (including the South Field and the Central Field), to provide a staging area for attacks on the Japanese main islands. This five-week battle comprised some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting of the Pacific and cost U.S. forces 6,871 killed and 19,217 wounded. Medals of Honor were awarded to 22 Marines and five Sailors, 14 of them posthumously. In the words of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.”

An Act to provide a naval armament Printed copy of the act adopted by the Third Congress of the United States, in response to the depredations committed by the Algerine corsairs on the commerce of the United States and approved on 27 March 1794. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

MARCH 27, 1794

Congress passes the Naval Act of 1794

U.S. Congress passes the Naval Act of 1794 establishing a national navy. After suffering significant loss of goods and personnel to the Barbary pirates, Congress passed legislation allowing the construction of six heavy frigates, the first ships of the U.S. Navy.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

MARCH 28, 2017

National Vietnam War Veterans Day is established

National Vietnam War Veterans Day is established with the Recognition Act of 2017. March 29 was selected as National Vietnam War Veterans Day because on March 29, 1973, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, was disbanded, and the last U.S. combat troops departed the Republic of Vietnam. Please join us for a Welcome Home Ceremony on March 29 as we commemorate the five-year anniversary honoring more than six million Veterans of the Vietnam War.

NARA| Public Domain 
Tuskegee Airman – Capt. Andrew D. Turner, who in a few minutes will be escorting heavy bombers en route to enemy targets, signals to the chief of this ground crew before taking off from a base in Italy. He is a member of the 15th US Army Air Force, which has been smashing enemy objectives in Germany and the Balkans with both fighter and bomber aircraft. The pilot’s plane, a Mustang, is named for a type of wild horse that once roamed America. September 1944.

MARCH 29

Ohio celebrates Tuskegee Airmen Day

Tuskegee Airmen Day is celebrated. In Ohio, March 29 marks a special day to honor our nation’s first African American military aviators. Their story is one of a “Double Victory” against fascism overseas and racism at home. During World War II, the Tuskegee Airmen proved their skill and courage by earning one of lowest loss records of all escort fighter groups and paved the way to integrating the U.S. Armed Forces.

This Month in History (February 1-28)

The holiday proclamation was signed into law on June 30, 1948, by President Harry Truman. Photo courtesy of Asa H. Gordon Library Special Collections, Savannah State University.

FEBRUARY 1

National Freedom Day

National Freedom Day was signed into law on June 30, 1948 by President Harry Truman, but it was conceptualized by Major Richard Robert Wright, Sr. Born into slavery and freed after the Civil War, Wright believed there should be a day when freedom for all Americans is celebrated. He invited national and local leaders to meet in Philadelphia to make plans to designate February 1 as an annual memorial to the signing of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which freed all U.S. slaves. One year after Wright’s death in 1947, both houses of the U.S. Congress passed a bill to make February 1 National Freedom Day.

Blue Star Flag. Courtesy of the American Legion.

FEBRUARY 1, 1942

Blue Star Mothers of America is formed in Flint, Michigan

The Blue Star Mothers of America was formed by 300 mothers in Flint, Michigan, with the first meeting chaired by Captain George H. Maines. The Service Flag, also called the Blue Star Flag, was designed and patented by World War I U.S. Army Captain Robert L. Queisser of the 5th Ohio Infantry who had two sons serving on the frontline. The flag quickly became the unofficial symbol of households with a child in military service. 

Library of Congress| Public Domain 
Last page of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, with signatures and seals. 1848.

FEBRUARY 2, 1848

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed

The Mexican-American War ended when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed. The treaty called for the United States to pay $15 million to Mexico and pay off the claims of American citizens against Mexico up to $5 Million. It also set the Rio Grande River as a boundary for Texas, and gave the U.S. ownership of California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado as well as an area comprising most of New Mexico and approximately two thirds of Arizona. Mexicans in those annexed areas could relocate within Mexico’s new boundaries or receive American citizenship with full civil rights.

Bob Hope. Photo courtesy of the National WWII Museum.

FEBRUARY 4, 1941

The USO celebrates its 81st Birthday

The USO celebrates its 81st Birthday. Founded on February 4, 1941, the USO has been the nation’s leading organization serving men and women in the U.S. military and their families throughout their time in uniform. During World War II, the USO sought to be the GI’s “home away from home” and began a tradition of entertaining the troops that continues today.

NARA | Public Domain
General Eisenhower meets with US Paratroopers
before D-Day. June 5, 1944.

FEBRUARY 11, 1943

General Dwight D. Eisenhower begins command of the allied armies

General Dwight D. Eisenhower was selected to command the allied armies in Europe. The official title given to Eisenhower was Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. He was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942 – 43 and the successful invasion of Normandy from the Western Front in 1944 – 45. From 1953 – 1961, he went on to serve as the 34th president of the United States.

U.S. Air Force| Public Domain
Newly freed prisoners of war celebrate as their C-141A aircraft lifts off from Hanoi, North Vietnam, on Feb. 12, 1973, during Operation Homecoming.

FEBRUARY 12, 1973

Operation Homecoming

Operation Homecoming began. The operation returned 591 American Prisoners of War (POWs) held by North Vietnam following the Paris Peace Accords that ended U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. From February 12 to April 4, 1973, there were 54 C-141 missions flying out of Hanoi, bringing former POWs home. Of the POWs repatriated to the United States, a total of 325 served in the U.S. Air Force, a majority of whom were bomber pilots shot down over North Vietnam or Viet Cong controlled territory. The remaining 266 consisted of 138 U.S. Navy personnel, 77 soldiers serving in the U.S. Army, 26 U.S. Marine Corps members and 25 civilian employees of American government agencies.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.

FEBRUARY 19, 1941

U.S. Coast Guard Reserve was established

The U.S. Coast Guard Reserve was established with the passage of the Coast Guard Reserve and Auxiliary Act. The Coast Guard depends on the Reserve force to mobilize with critical competencies in boat operations, contingency planning and response, expeditionary warfare, marine safety, port security, law enforcement and mission support. We honor the more than 7,000 reservists who stand always ready!

Hershel “Woody” Williams. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps.

FEBRUARY 19-23, 1945

U.S. Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 4 Hershel “Woody” Williams earns the Medal of Honor

U.S. Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 4 Hershel “Woody” Williams distinguished himself during the Battle of Iwo Jima and was presented with the Medal of Honor for his actions on October 5, 1945. The Battle of Iwo Jima, designated Operation Detachment, was a major battle on the island of Iwo Jima between the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy forces and the Imperial Japanese Army. This five-week battle comprised some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting of World War II. On February 21, Williams landed on the beach with the 1st Battalion, 21st Marines, 3rd Marine Division. Two days later, American tanks attempting to create a lane for infantry encountered a network of reinforced concrete pillboxes. Pinned down by machine gun fire, the company commander asked one of his men to attach a high explosive charge to a pole and, with support of Williams and his flamethrower and several Marine riflemen, shove the improvised weapon into an opening in the enemy’s pillbox. As they fought their way forward, all the men except Williams became casualties. Undeterred, Williams arrived at the first pillbox, pushed the flamethrower nozzle into the pillbox, fired  and killed all the soldiers inside. He then returned five times to his company, refueled and moved forward to destroy the remaining pillboxes. Williams is the last living Medal of Honor recipient from World War II.

N.A.S.A.| Public Domain 
Glenn climbs into his Friendship 7 capsule for his historic flight

FEBRUARY 20, 1962

John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr., at the time, became the first American to orbit the Earth. After a long series of delays, Friendship 7 lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Glenn named the spacecraft, Friendship 7, and had the name hand-painted on the side like one of his F-86 planes. The flight lasted a total of four hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds and allowed Glenn to circle the Earth three times. This launch was part of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union in which America was lagging. Glenn became a national hero, met President John F. Kennedy and received a ticker-tape parade in New York. On February 23, Glenn received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal as well as his sixth Distinguished Flying Cross for his Friendship 7 flight.

George Washington, full-length portrait, with right arm extended holding sword, on horseback. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

FEBRUARY 22

George Washington’s Birthday

President George Washington’s Birthday is celebrated. Washington served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continental Congress as commander of the Continental Army, he led Patriot forces to victory in the American Revolutionary War and presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which established the U.S. Constitution and federal government. He has been called the “Father of the Nation” for his leadership in the formative days of the United States.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army.

FEBRUARY 27, 1991

Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum, U.S. Army (Retired) was shot down by enemy fire

Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum, U.S. Army (Retired) was shot down by enemy fire. A native of Dayton, Ohio, she was the first woman flight surgeon to enter combat with the 2nd Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment during the Persian Gulf War. While performing a search and rescue mission, her Black Hawk helicopter was shot down by enemy fire. She suffered two broken arms, a broken finger, a gunshot wound and other injuries. Cornum was captured, taken prisoner and assaulted by one of her Iraqi captors. She was held prisoner for a week in Baghdad and released on March 5, 1991. Cornum has received many military honors, including the Bronze Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart.

NARA| Public Domain
Members of Btry. A, 5162nd Air Defense Arty. Regt., 11th Air Defense Arty. Brigade, hold an FIM-92A Stinger portable missile launcher as they pose for a photograph during Operation Desert Shield.

FEBRUARY 28, 1991

Persian Gulf War ends

The Persian Gulf War ended. A coalition of service members successfully entered Kuwait on February 24 and allowed British forces to enter 15 hours ahead of schedule. While there was resistance, by February 27, Kuwaiti forces were able to liberate Kuwait City. Later that same day,  Saddam Hussein ordered a retreat of Iraqi forces from Kuwait, and President George H. W. Bush announced, “Kuwait is liberated.” The U.S. Marine Corps arrived at the International Airport in Kuwait to secure the area, and several hours later combat operations were ended.

This Month in History (January 8-28)

President Woodrow Wilson 1856-1924. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. 

JANUARY 8, 1918

President Woodrow Wilson presented the Fourteen Points

President Woodrow Wilson presented his Fourteen Points, a statement of principles for peace negotiations to end World War I. In the speech, Wilson sought to break the Central Powers’ fighting will by promising a just peace that would guarantee national independence and self-determination for all peoples involved in the war. He also called for the establishment of an association of nations to guarantee the independence and territorial integrity of all nations — a League of Nations.

Steamship Star of the West, with reinforcements for Major Anderson, approaching Fort Sumter. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

JANUARY 9, 1861

The Star of the West is fired upon

The first shots of the Civil War were fired on the Star of the West, an American civilian steamship hired by the U.S. government to transport military supplies to Fort Sumter. Weeks after South Carolina seceded from the United States, but before the other states had done so to form the Confederacy, the ship arrived at Charleston Harbor to resupply. The ship was fired upon by cadets from the Citadel Academy and was hit three times.

The heads of the “Big Four” nations at the Paris Peace Conference, 27 May 1919. U.S. Signal Corps photo.

JANUARY 10, 1920

The Treaty of Versailles officially ends World War I

The Treaty of Versailles went into effect, officially ending World War I. It was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which led to the war. Initially, 70 delegates from 27 nations participated in the peace negotiations, however, not all nations were happy with the outcome. The treaty created resentment in Germany which was exploited by Adolf Hitler in his rise to power in Nazi Germany. Germans viewed the treaty as a humiliation and eagerly listened to Hitler’s promise to recover Germany’s lost territory and pride.  

Burning oil field during Operation Desert Storm, Kuwait. U.S. Army | Public Domain.

JANUARY 12-16, 1991

Congress authorizes military force in Iraq and Kuwait

Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing military force in Iraq and Kuwait. The Persian Gulf War was waged by coalition forces from 35 nations led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait arising from oil pricing and production disputes. On January 15, Iraq ignored the UN’s deadline to withdrawal from Kuwait. And on January 16, President George H.W. Bush addressed the nation beginning the U.S. led coalition forces strikes at the beginning of Operation Desert Storm.

Treaty of Cahuenga, which ended the Conquest of California and brought a ceasefire between the Californios and Americans.

JANUARY 13, 1847

The Treaty of Cahuenga is signed, ending the fighting of the Mexican-American War

The Treaty of Cahuenga was signed ending the Mexican-American War and conquest of California. The treaty was drafted in both English and Spanish and signed by John C. Fremont of the American forces and Andres Pico of the Mexican forces. The treaty called for Californios to give up their artillery and provided that all prisoners be immediately freed. Those Californios who promised not to take up arms were allowed to return to their homes and become citizens of the United States.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., half-length portrait, facing front. Dick DeMarsico, photographer, 1964. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

JANUARY 17, 1995

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and The National Day of Service

The National Day of Service was established on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Americans are encouraged to volunteer and improve their communities in honor of Dr. Kings life and legacy of peaceful protest against racial oppression. In 1964, at the age of 35, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The campaign for a federal holiday in his honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later.

Fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. National Archives and Records Administration| Public Domain

JANUARY 25, 1945

“The greatest American battle of the war” ends

The Battle of the Bulge ended. What Winston Churchill called, “The greatest American battle of the war,” lasted six brutal weeks, starting on December 16, 1944. The assault, also called the Battle of the Ardennes, took place during frigid weather conditions, with some 30 German divisions attacking battle-fatigued American troops across 85 miles of the densely wooded Ardennes Forest. It was the third deadliest campaign undertaken by the United States Army to this day, with approximately 19,276 causalities.

Credit: Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty
Pictured here, a group of women in the barracks, in a photo taken by a Russian photographer shortly after the camp’s liberation.

JANUARY 27

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an international memorial day designated by the United Nations to mark the January 27, 1945, liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp. The day also commemorates the killing of six million Jews and 11 million others by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

Point Adams Life Boat Station. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

JANUARY 28, 1915

Congress passed the Act to Create the Coast Guard

President Woodrow Wilson signed the Act to Create the Coast Guard. The act combined the Life-Saving Service and Revenue Cutter Service to form the Coast Guard.

Veterans Portrait Project: Marilyn Cogswell

When Marilyn Cogswell enlisted into the Marines in 1951, she was entering during a point of massive transition within the military for women. Following World War II, the United States military rapidly scaled down from 12 million troops in 1945 to 1.5 million by 1948 and the women’s programs were no exceptions. Only a handful of women were allowed to remain in, mostly as advisors and advocates which would prove useful in pushing through the Women’s Armed Forces Integration Act, signed by President Truman in 1948. While a major revolution that allowed women to serve on active duty alongside men, it was still very limiting in several ways.

For instance, only two percent of the total force could be women on active duty, though the reserve components had no cap. The Marines, specifically, only allowed for 100 officers, 10 warrant officers, and 1,000 enlisted women by June 1950, just before the outbreak of the Korean War. Additionally, while entitle to the same pay, leave, allowances, and benefits as men, a married women’s husband or children was not considered a dependent unless she provided the chief support for income. The military overall had regulated women away from positions that they had previously held during war, mainly only allowing them into administrative duties. This shortsightedness was evident when the Korean War started. Women were still barred from combat roles or vessels and aircraft that might see combat, and still seen as a way to free up men to fight overseas. But, in only allowing them into administrative duties, it took time to rebuild those schools and integrate them to their new billets. During this, combat divisions were sorely lacking in fighting strength overall. 1951 would see massive expansions to this, as mobilization issues became evident, but women were still restricted to serving stateside.

This is the United States Marine Corps that Marilyn entered. Upon graduating her basic training at Parris Island, she would be stationed at Camp Lejeune and selected to be an artist. Shortly after her assignment, she would marry a fellow marine, John MacDougall, Jr, and begin a family with him, having twins. The policy on these types of matters has been outline some above, but a women could ask for administrative discharge based solely on marriage as long as they had completed a year of service if enlisted, reflecting the society’s general negative attitude against married women who worked. When factoring motherhood, a 1943 study group set policy on the matter that would last until 1970. It stated that:

It is believed that pregnancy and motherhood Oso facto interfere with military duties. . . , Granting of maternity leave would result in having ineffectives (sic); replacement could not be procured while the woman remained on the active list; and the mother of a small child would not be readily available for reassignment. Necessary rotation of duty assignments would require the family unit to be broken up for considerable periods of time, or at least until the husband made the necessary provisions to establish the home at the mother’s new duty station . . It is believed that a woman who is pregnant or a mother should not be a member of the armed forces and should devote herself to the responsibilities which she had assumed, remaining with her husband and child as a family unit.

Without Marilyn’s discharge papers, it can only be assumed that she either asked for separation, as she had done a year of service, or was discharged for having children. She and her husband would have six children all together, though tragically four of them would pass before adulthood. Still, Marilyn’s resolve in life carried her through those impossible times. She is pictured in our Veterans Portrait Project Gallery, which was taken by Stacey Pearsall. Her photo includes both a picture of her while she served and one of Marilyn in 2017, her a year before Marilyn herself passed away.

References

“History of the Women Marines.” Women Marines Association. Accessed from https://www.womenmarines.org/wm-history.

“History.” Women in the Army. Accessed from https://www.army.mil/women/history/ 

Stremlow, Mary V. A History of the Women Marines, 1946-1977. U.S. Marine Corps, Washington, D.C. 1986. Accessed from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED280948.

Explore More Stories

Women in the Military

Women’s Equality Day

Celebrating Women’s History Month

World War II Pioneer: Dorothy Baroch

World War II Pioneer: Lieutenant Colonel Harriet West Waddy, U.S. Army

World War II Pioneer: Lieutenant Colonel Harriet West Waddy, U.S. Army

Since the founding of the United States of America, women have served beside men both on and off the battlefield. The stories of many of these women remain mostly unknown, especially the stories of African American woman. Today, we are going to share the story Lieutenant Colonel Harriet West Waddy, a Veteran from World War II who served her country despite the blatant inequality that came with being both female and African American.

Lt. Colonel Harriet West Waddy, born in 1904, was reared by her maternal grandmother after her mother passed away. While not much is known about her life growing up, it is known that she graduated from Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. During the Great Depression, Waddy worked as the aide to Mary McLeod Bethune, the director of the National Youth Administration’s Division of Negro Affairs. However, when the United States entered World War II, Waddy decided to join the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps – later renamed the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) – to serve her country and represent her fellow African Americans.

During World War II, approximately 6,500 African American women signed on with the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAC). Despite their willingness to serve, many were relegated to positions as glorified housekeepers. Waddy pushed forward and completed her Women’s Army Corps (WAC) training. Following graduation from The Adjutant General’s School of the Army, Waddy was placed in charge of 50 civilian typists. It was their responsibility to notify the families of soldiers who were killed, wounded, or missing in action. Waddy was promoted to the rank of Major in the WAC and was one of only two African American women to attain the rank of Major during the war. Her title was changed to Lt. Colonel once WAC became a part of the Army.

Waddy saw her role in WAC as an opportunity to take an active role in changing the status of African American women in the military and was appointed an advisor to the Army on racial issues. While many African Americans criticized her for remaining in the military, Waddy saw herself as fighting to help realize the ideal future. While visiting the WACs at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, Waddy took steps to try to eliminate references to white and colored from official memorandums on information boards. Her goal as an advisor was always to allow her fellow African American women an opportunity to show their abilities.

After her retirement in 1952, Waddy worked for the Federal Aviation Administration. During her lifetime, she married four times, but never had any children. Waddy enjoyed traveling and the freedom to move as she pleased. In 1999, at the age of 94, Harriet West Waddy died at a friend’s home in Las Vegas, Nevada.

To learn more about Veterans’ stories and more of what we are doing at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum to honor Women’s History month, visit nationalvmm.org. Thanks for reading and come back next week to read another blog as part of our Women’s History Month series.

Explore More Stories

Women in the Military

Women’s Equality Day

Celebrating Women’s History Month

World War II Pioneer: Dorothy Baroch

Veterans Portrait Project: Marilyn Cogswell

Honoring Black History Month

The National Veterans Memorial and Museum honors the service, bravery, sacrifice and achievements of African Americans in our armed forces. During Black History Month, we are sharing the experiences, challenges and triumphs of Black American Veterans by telling their stories.

Check back each week during February as we share a new story about Black Veterans — Crispus Attucks, the first American killed during the Revolutionary War; Harriet Tubman, a Union Army spy during the Civil War; the Tuskegee Airmen, Black Air Force pilots during WWII; the Buffalo Soldiers; the Harlem Hellfighters and countless more men and women of color – who served our country with courage, perseverance, and fortitude.

African American Veterans, fighting against foreign enemies as well as discrimination and segregation at home, have shown us bravery beyond measure and the ability to conquer incredible odds. This month and every month, we honor them for their service and thank them for our freedoms.

“Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letter, U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket, there is no power on earth that can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship.”

Frederick Douglass

Explore More Stories

World War I Medal of Honor Recipient: Corporal Freddie Stowers

The Tuskegee Airmen at Selfridge Field, Michigan

Saluting General Lloyd Austin III, U.S. Army (Retired)

WEDS-SUN 10 A.M. - 5 P.M.
Tickets