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June 18, 2020 admin
“They came from Colorado, lovely Colorado” and Underground Tunnels in WWII

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Broomfield Veterans Memorial Museum brings you one more Virtual Coffee & Conversation.

Background: In 1945, the author Gertrude Stein lived as an ex-patriot in the French countryside under the Vichy French government. As a Jew and an American, she had lived in fear of the Nazi regime during the years of the war. When American soldiers from the 47th Infantry liberated her town, she gratefully welcomed them into her home. On page 34 of her 1945 book Wars I Have Seen, she described that joyous day, "How we talked that night, they just brought all America to us every bit of it, they came from Colorado, lovely Colorado, I do not know Colorado, but that is the way I felt about it lovely Colorado and then everybody was tired out and my were we happy, we were, completely and truly happy and completely and entirely worn out with emotion."

Imagine the release of tension that the liberation of France brought to people like Stein and so many others! As you do so, enjoy this presentation from Lew Moir about underground tunnels in Europe and how they were used during the war.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2gxj6M-TA0

In the Coffee & Conversation from April 2019 linked here and embedded above, Lew Moir describes four different tunnel systems used in Europe during World War II.

June 16, 2020 admin
“Fighting a Two-Front Battle”


Source: Library of Congress. Black soldier, Indian war period, Infantry, Co. D with shoulder knots, holding noncom sword, wearing aiguelette, crossed rifles with "D" on kepi, white gloves plus 3 service stripes i.e. 15 years service. [Between 1866 and 1890] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2010650832/>.

African Americans in the military have long had to fight a two-front battle. They fight against the enemy (whether against the British in the American Revolution, Confederates during the Civil War, fascists in World War II, or the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong during the Vietnam War) and they also fight against racism in the United States.

This two-front battle is a tragic outcome of the legacy of slavery and oppression of black people in the United States. The persistence and dedication of the thousands upon thousands of black members of the armed forces throughout America's history is truly remarkable. These men and women continually strove to upend the systems of discrimination and disenfranchisement in the United States, revealing their courage and determination in the face of rampant and unrelenting racism.


Source: Library of Congress. Unidentified African American soldier in uniform and overseas cap. [Between 1917 and 1918] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2017648692/>.

At the outset of World War II, James G. Thompson, a black member of the segregated U.S. Army wrote, “Being an American of dark complexion and some 26 years, these questions flash through my mind: ‘Should I sacrifice my life to live half American?’ ‘Will things be better for the next generation in the peace to follow?’…‘Is the kind of America I know worth defending?’”

Thompson's questions helped to galvanize the "Double Victory" campaign---the fight against racism at home and fascism overseas---during World War II. Sadly, Thompson's questions still have relevance today, as America continues to grapple with societal turmoil inherited from the past.

Photograph shows members of the 332nd, from left to right: Robert W. Williams, Ottumwa, IA, Class 44-E; (leather cap) William H. Holloman, III, St. Louis, Mo., Class 44-?; (cloth cap) Ronald W. Reeves, Washington, D.C., Class 44-G; (leather cap) Christopher W. Newman, St. Louis, MO, Class 43-I; (flight cap) Walter M. Downs, New Orleans, LA, Class 43-B. (Source: Photographer's notes and Tuskegee Airmen 332nd Fighter Group pilots.)
Source: Library of Congress. Frissell, Toni, photographer. Members of the 332nd Fighter Group attending a briefing in Ramitelli, Italy, March. Italy, 1945. [March] Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2007675004/.

June 4, 2020 admin
Women in the Air Force and Coast Guard


This photograph shows Lieutenant Virginia N. Justy looking at documents at a table in the United States 8th Air Force headquarters operations room, possibly outside London, England during World War II.
Source: Library of Congress. Frissell, Toni, photographer. Lt. Virginia N. Justy, 502 1/2 South Ogden St., Los Angeles, Calif., in front of Airdrome status map in ops. room. England, 1945. [January] Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2017646161/.

Continuing our focus on women in the armed forces, this post will delve into women in the Air Force and Coast Guard.

Air Force---Much like the Women's Auxiliary Corps (WAC) for the Army during World War II, the Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) provided essential support to the United States' war effort. Women pilots who had been trained by WASP flew 80 percent of all ferrying missions, delivering over 12,000 aircraft. Stationed at air bases across the U.S. during the war, they proved their worth time and time again.


Coast Guard women honor World War heroes of U.S. Coast Guard. The members of the United States Coast Guard who gave their lives during the World War were signally honored in Washington today by the League of Coast Guard Women when they journeyed to Arlington National Cemetery to place a wreath on the Coast Guard Memorial. Mrs I.W. Buckalow, of Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, is shown placing the wreath Delegates from the various units of the League of Coast Guard Women in all parts of the country are also shown in the photograph.
Source: Library of Congress. Harris & Ewing, photographer. United States United States, 1928. November 9. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2016889083/.

Coast Guard---
A few women served in the Naval Coastal Defense Reserve during World War I, but World War II saw a much larger group of women join them. Formed around the same time as the other auxiliaries during World War II, the Coast Guard Women's Reserve welcomed a total of 11,868 enlisted women and 978 female officers throughout the course of the war, paving the way for women in the Coast Guard up through today.

Sources:

Cole, Jean Hascall and Wendy Cole, (1992). Women Pilots of World War II. University of Utah Press. 

Tilley, John A., (1992). A History of Women in the Coast Guard.


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