Today, November 11, 2008, is the 90TH Anniversary of Veterans Day, once known as Armistice Day, which was established in 1918.
Crispus Attucks.jpg
Boston massacre2.gif
This 19th century lithograph is a variation of the famous engraving of the Boston Massacre by Paul Revere. Produced soon before the American Civil War, this image emphasizes Crispus Attucks, who had become a symbol for Abolitionists. (John Bufford after William L. Champey, ca. 1856)
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Crispus Attucks’ grave in the Granary Burying Ground

WAR OF 1812
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Studio portrait of the surviving Six Nations warriors who fought with the British in the War of 1812. (Right to left:) Sakawaraton a.k.a. John Smoke Johnson (born ca. 1792); John Tutela (born ca. 1797) and Young Warner (born ca. 1794). Taken in Brantford, Ontario.

Aam in civil war burying dead.jpg
“Burying the Dead at Hospital in Fredericksburg, Va.” (title from print). Title from Civil War caption book(?): “Fredericksburg, Virginia. Burial of Federal dead.” Shows four African American men digging graves; a bearded white man can be seen looking on, arms crossed, in the distance.
Black American federal troops participating in the march at Lincoln’s second inauguration.
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The 21st Michigan Infantry, a company of William Tecumseh Sherman‘s veterans.
William Harvey Carney, Sergeant, 54TH Massachusetts Voluneer Infantry, first Black American soldier to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
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Powhatan Beaty, First Sergeant, 5TH U.S. Colored Infantry, Medal of Honor recipient.
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Andrew Jackson Smith, Color Sergeant, 55TH Massachusettts Volunteer Infantry, Medal of Honor recipient.
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Milton Murray Holland, Sergeant Major, 5TH U.S. Colored Infantry, Medal of Honor recipient.
Susie King Taylor was the first African American to teach openly in a school for

Susie King Taylor

Susie King Taylor was the first Black American to teach openly in a school for former slaves, and the only black woman to publish a memoir of her Civil War experiences:  “Reminiscences of My Life in Camp: A Black Woman’s Civil War Memoir”.

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Harriet Tubman, soldier, spy, conductor of the Underground Railroad, in an undated photograph.
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Harriet Tubman late in life in 1911.
Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, commander who led the 54TH Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in the attack on Fort Wagner, Charleston, South Carolina, on July 18, 1863.
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Monument to Col. Shaw and the 54TH Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.
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General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Condeferate Army.
Soldiers of the Confederate Army.
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General James Longstreet,  Confederate Lieutenant General, “reconstructed rebel” and champion of ex-slaves enfranchisement rights during Reconstruction.

Segregated company of US Soldiers (likely Buffalo Soldiers), Camp Wikoff, 1898 –during the Spanish-American War National Archives and Records Administration.
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Dennis Bell, Medal of Honor recipient, for his actions in the Spanish-American War.
 Edward L. Baker (MOH).jpg
Edward L. Baker, Jr., United States Army. Recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Spanish-American War.

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U.S. soldiers of Company B, First Nebraska volunteers, in action near Manila in 1899
Pasig, Phillipnes. Oregon Volunteer Infantry on firing line, March 14, 1899.

Freddie Stowers was the only Black American to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in World War I. Stowers had led an assault on German trenches, continuing to lead and encourage his men even after being twice wounded. Stowers died of his wounds, and was shortly afterwards recommended for the Medal of Honor; however, this recommendation was never processed. In 1990, the Department of the Army conducted a review and the Stowers recommendation was uncovered. An investigation was launched, and based on results of the investigation the award of the Medal of Honor was approved. Stowers’ Medal of Honor was presented on April 24, 1991—seventy-three years after he was killed-in-action.

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Edward Allen Carter, Staff Sergeant, 56TH Armored Infantry Battalion, 12TH Armored Division, Medal of Honor recipient.
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Captain Humbert Roque ‘Rocky’ Versace, U.S. Army, Medal of Honor recipient.
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Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, USMC, Medal of Honor recipient.

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James Anderson, Jr., Private First Class, 3RD Marine regiment, 3RD Marine Division, Medal of Honor recipient.

In remembrance of the 507TH Maintenance Company and the 1ST Battalion 2ND Marine Regiment:
1. SPC Jamaal R. Addison
2. SPC Edward J. Anguiano
3. Sgt. Michael E. Bitz
4. LCpl Thomas A. Blair
5. LCpl Brian Rory Buesing
6. Sgt. George Edward Buggs
7. Pfc. Tamario D. Burkett
8. Cpl Kemaphoom A. Chanawongse
9. LCpl Donald Cline, Jr.
10. Master Sgt. Robert J. Dowdy
11. PVT Ruben Estrella-Soto
12. LCpl David K. Fribley
13. Cpl. Jose A. Garibay
14. Pvt. Jonathan L. Gifford
15. Cpl. Jorge A. Gonzalez
16. Pvt. Nolen R. Hutchings
17. PFC Howard Johnson II,
18. SSgt Phillip A. Jordan
19. SPC James M. Kiehl
20. CWO2 Johnny Mata
21. Cpl Patrick R. Nixon
22. Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa
23. 2Lt Frederick E. Pokorney Jr.
24. Sgt. Brendon C. Reiss
25. Cpl. Randal Kent Rosacker
26. PVT Brandon Ulysses Sloan
27. LCpl Thomas J. Slocum
28. Sgt Donald Ralph Walters
29. LCpl Michael J. Williams
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Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa, first Native American woman mortally wounded in combat service, in the battle of Nasiriyah, Iraq, 2003.
Remember them always.
Shoshana Nyree Johnson, the first Black woman POW to be captured in an American war. She was injured and captured during the battle of Nasiriyah, Iraq, 2003. She lives in the United States.
Johnson after her capture
Shoshana Johnson after her capture.
 Shoshana is pictured here with Jessica Lynch.
 Jessica Lynch at Walter Reed Army Medical Center 2004.jpg
Jessica Dawn Lynch, Quartermaster PFC, injured and captured during the battle of Nasiriyah, Iraq, 2003.
She lives in  the United States.

Dana Canedy

“Follow your heart,” Charles M. King wrote in a 200-page journal for his son, Jordan, whom he first held this fall just weeks before he died in Iraq.


Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

The grave of Gunnery Sgt. John D. Fry, 28, in Waco, Tex. He leaves a wife and three children

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Jeffrey A. Williams, 20, was killed by a bomb. His mother, Sandra Williams-Smith, at home in Mansfield, Tex., says that she supported her son’s ambition, but that she never supported the war. Her feelings are shared by many other African-Americans, according to polls and military experts.

The Reach of War
Interactive Graphic

A Look at Those Who Died in Iraq
Since the war in Iraq began in March of 2003, over 2000 soldiers have died. The dead represent the highest toll since the Vietnam War.
Deaths in Iraq by Month
Demographics of Those Killed
Marine Cpl. Starr’s Letter
Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Jeffrey B. Starr died in a firefight. His father, Brian Starr, pictured, said his son believed in the war, but was tired of the harsh life. So he enrolled in community college, planning to attend after his enlistment ended in August. He was killed in April on his third tour in Iraq.

WACs operate teletype machines during World War II.
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Hazel Ying Lee, reviews her performance after a session in a Link trainer. (U.S. Air Force photo)
A WAVES Photographer 3rd Class
WAF Bugler A/2C Frances E. Courtney furnishes the bugle calls of taps and reveille for the 3452nd Student Squadron (WAF) at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base. It is believed that A/2C Courtney is the only WAF Bugler in the Air Force. 23 June 1953 (U.S. Air Force photo.)
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Diana Barnato Walker climbing into the cockpit of a Spitfire while serving with the Air Transport Auxiliary.
Among the most forgotten group of women who have given patriotic sacrifice to their country, has been Black American women:
  Black Women’s Military Contributions

Revolutionary War

African-American women played major support roles during the Colonial period by providing help to the militia.
Their assistance included roles such as moving into the “big house” to support the slaveowner’s wife when he went away to serve in the militia, taking care of wounds, and working alongside the men in building forts for safety from both the Indians and the British.
African-American females also played a major role as spies during the Revolutionary War.
They kept Colonial authorities informed on the British. With the promise of freedom from slavery as a motivating factor, the African-American woman found innovative ways to assist. According to Lucy Terry’s written accounts of the war, Black women disguised themselves as men and fought side by side with them against the British, and kept the homes so that White women could go near their husbands during engagements.
Phillis Wheatley, a very literate Black woman, used her writing ability to praise and express appreciation for General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. He showed his appreciation by inviting her to visit him at his headquarters in February of 1776.

Phillis Wheatley

War of 1812

The War of 1812 was basically a naval war. Female assistance was limited to making bandages and tending the sick and wounded sailors. Additionally, Black women were able to take care of the farms so that the White men could leave their homes and families and go off to war knowing things would run smoothly.

Civil War

Harriet Tubman became an inspiration to all who loved and valued freedom. She served as a Union spy, an unpaid soldier, a volunteer nurse, and a freedom fighter. She loved freedom so much that she left her husband and brother behind when they chose not to run the risk of escaping from freedom. During the war, she earned the name “General” Tubman from the soldiers in the field.
Harriet Tubman
Another former slave, Susan King Taylor, became famous for her volunteer service during the Civil War. She escaped from slavery at the age of 12 and was teaching freedmen by the time she was 16. During the war, Taylor met Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, who inspired her. Taylor volunteered as a nurse and launderer for Black Civil War troops as she traveled with her husband’s unit, the 33rd United States Colored Troops. She formed the Boston Branch of the Women’s Relief Corps after the war. Her memoirs, published in 1902, became the only written record of Black volunteer nurses in the Civil War.

Spanish-American War

Black American females again played the role of nurses. During this war, over 75 percent of all deaths resulted from typhoid and yellow fever. Many Black female volunteer nurses were told that they were immune to the diseases because their skin was darker and thicker. Because of this, many of them exposed themselves to the diseases and became casualties when they returned home. Because of segregated living areas, the Whites never knew the high rate of casualties that these women suffered. The Army was so pleased with the 32 contract Black nurses, however, that many congressmen tried but failed to create a permanent corps of Army nurses.

World War I

For the first time in military history, the African-American females had an official organization where they found leadership and direction to use their abilities. The National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses had been founded in 1909. In 1917, the co-founder of the Red Cross urged Black nurses to enroll in the American Red Cross, although they were not accepted until two months before the war ended in November 1918. African-American females continued to serve by making bandages, taking over jobs that men held so they could be soldiers, working in hospitals and troop centers, and serving in other relief organizations as they had in previous wars. Many served in Hostess Houses operated by the Young Women’s Christian Association, where they wrote letters home for illiterate soldiers and read incoming mail to them.

World War II

It was not until World War II (1942) that women were officially allowed to serve in great numbers in the armed forces. The Army had the Women’s Army Corps (WAC); the Navy had Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES); and the Coast Guard had the SPARS. The majority of African-American women served in the WAC. They remained in segregated units, as did the African-American men. Although the Navy intended to increase the number of African-Americans to 10 percent, there were still less than 50 Black WAVES by 1945. The U.S. Coast Guard had even less in the SPARS. Out of the highest number of women in the military during this period (271,000), only 4,000 were African-American women, simply because there just weren’t any opportunities for them. African-American women continued to serve from the Korean Conflict through Viet Nam to Operation Desert Storm.
(Black enlisted women fared much worse in the Navy, as the website, Museum of Black WWII History describes. Even enlisted Black women who were nurses in the Army had to fight for respect and recognition before they were assigned to hospitals to tend to injured soldiers:

Black Nurses

While there were 250,000 black nurses in the country, only 479 were accepted into the Army Nurse Corp.  About 130 black nurses were sent to Europe even though the military was thinking of drafting white nurses because of a nurse shortage.  It was thought to be socially improper to have black nurses care for white troops.  Because few black troops were allowed in combat units, there were not enough black casualties for the black nurses to care for.  Then the black nurses were assigned to P.O.W. hospitals.  When the black nurses objected to this treatment they were finally placed in regular hospitals to care for all the wounded near the end of the war.

Navy Waves

Lieutenant Harriet Pickens and Ensign Francis Wills were the only two black Wave officers in the Navy during the war.  There were also 70 black enlisted women in the Navy.


The 6888th Postal Unit:

PDF]VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS • ENSURING RIGHTS, RECO… 2008, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. ….. Assigned to the 6888th Central. Postal Directory Battalion, these… –

  • February 8, 1996-Vol27n17: Military sociology is Moore’s spe… A veteran of a six-year career in the Army, Moore reached the rank of staff of the 850 members of the 6888th Battalion of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), for ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of World War II. The Commission oversees the planning and construction of memorials on foreign soil.

    During WWII the first all black WAC group to serve overseas was the 6888th Postal Unit in England and then France. Here Major Charity Adams reviews the troops in Birmingham England. (National Archives). 

    Desert Storm

    African-American women served with distinction during Operation Desert Storm, as officers, noncommissioned officers, and enlisted soldiers. Of the 35,000 females who went to Desert Storm, an estimated 40 percent of them were African-Americans. According to SSG Betty Brown of the Washington, DC, Army National Guard, all of these women endured the heat and the primitive conditions: no electricity, no running water, no bathrooms, and the sanitation details (cleaning the 10 gallon trash cans that served as toilets).
    An African-American woman, LT Phoebe Jeter, who headed an all-male platoon, ordered 13 Patriots fired (anti-missile missiles), destroying at least two Scuds (Iraqi surface-to-surface missiles). (15:100) Another African-American woman, CPT Cynthia Mosely, commanded Alpha Company, 24th Support Battalion Forward, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), a 100-person unit that supplied everything from fuel to water to ammunition. Her unit resupplied fuel for all of the forward brigades because it was closest to the front lines.

    Ensign Matice Wright, the Navy`s first black female naval flight officer,poses for DOD photograph.
    Wright was assigned to Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 3 (VQ-3). Date: 01 MAY 1993

    These women who served in the military since pre-colonial days have paved the way for new recruits and current active duty females to follow. When we look at the statistical data of African-American women entering the military, we find that Black women in FY 1993 comprised 33 percent of Army female recruits, 22 percent of Navy female recruits, 17 percent of Marine Corps female recruits and 18 percent of Air Force female recruits. (21:2-10) Today the statistics tell us that 30.3 percent of the military is African-American women; approximately 33.6 percent serve as enlisted, and 13.1 percent serve as commissioned and warrant officers.
    Sgt Danyell E. Wilson, first black woman Tomb Sentinel
    The following African-American females have attained the rank of general officer: currently on active duty, BG Marcelite Jorden-Harris, Director Maintenance, Headquarters United States Air Force/LG, and retired from the U.S. Army BG Clara L. Adams-Ender and BG Sherian G. Cadoria. genharris
    BGEN Marcelite Harris.

    Military Firsts

    • March 8, 1945, Phyllis Mae Daily, the first Black nurse was sworn into the Navy Nurse Corps in New York City.
    • February 12, 1948, the first Black nurse joined the Regular Army Nurse Corps.
    • In July 1974, Reverend Alice Henderson was commissioned as a chaplain, becoming the first female chaplain, Black or White.
    • Also in July 1974, five Black women out of a group of 15 women became cadets at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
    • In May 1975, Lieutenant Donna P. Davis became the first Black woman doctor in the Naval Medical Corps.
    • In November 1979, Second Lieutenant Marcella A. Hayes is the fifty-fifth woman out of 48,000 officers to graduate from the Army Aviation School in Ft Rucker, Alabama. She became the first Black woman pilot in the U.S. armed forces.
    • In September 1979, Hazel Winifred Johnson became the first Black woman promoted to the rank and position of Brigadier General, Chief of the Army Nurse Corps
    • In December 1980, Ensign Brenda Robinson became the first Black female aviator in the U.S. Navy assigned to the Fleet Logistics Squadron Forty in Norfolk, Virginia.
    • On May 18, 1983, Angela Dennis of Arkansas became one of the first two Black women to graduate from the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut.
    Source: Ms. Jacqueline Hodge, an Instructional Systems Specialist at the U.S. Armor School at Fort Knox, Kentucky, served as a participant in the Topical Research Intern Program at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) in March 1995. She conducted extensive research on African-American women and prepared this report. The Institute thanks Ms. Hodge for her contributions to the research efforts.


    I found this excellent interview of one of the women veterans of the 6888th Postal Unit. Here is an except of the interview of Captain Violet Hill Gordon, interviewed by Judith Kent:

    Today is March 25, the year 2002. This interview is being conducted in Palm Coast, Florida in the private home of Mrs. Violet Hill Gordon, the veteran who will be interviewed. The interviewer, Judith Kent, is present representing the Flagler County Public Library where both she and Mrs. Gordon are volunteers and trustees.
    Testing, testing. Mrs. Gordon, would you state for the record what branch of the service you served in?


    I served in the Women’s Army Corps, which originally was the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps.
    In what war did you serve?
    World War II.
    And your rank?
    I was discharged as a Captain. I entered the training for the Officer Candidate class, the first one for women. That meant that I began as an enlisted person for training. At the end of the training period, which was, I believe six weeks; I earned the rank of what was then called, “The Second Commanding Officer”.
    Where did you serve during your enlistment?
    My Officer Candidate Training took place in Ft. Des Moines, Iowa. At the completion of that I was assigned to Ft. Huachuca, Arizona where the first detachment of Black women were sent. There I served as the Second Commanding Officer. In other words, I was the Executive Officer. I served in that capacity until I was transferred to? until I moved with a detachment to Ft. Lewis, Washington.
    And from there?
    I served there until I received orders to report, I believe to Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia for an overseas assignment. That involved assignment to? well; it involved going overseas to the European Theater where I served as an officer in the Six Triple Eight Central Postal Directory. [changed to 6888th Postal Battalion by Mrs. Gordon on 3/29/02] That was my assignment until I was discharged.
    Let’s go back now to 1942 and your enlistment. Where were you living at that time?
    In Chicago, Illinois.
    Why did you join?


    There is also the National Association Of Black Military Women (NABMW) – A short outline on the NABMW history can be found at: National Association of Black Military Women Contact for the National Association of Black Military Women is:

    c/o LTC Kathaleen Harris
    5695 Pine Meadows Ct.
    Morrow, GA 30260
    email: KHNABMW@AOL.COM

    To those who fought on opposite sides of battle.
    To those who died on the battlefield.
    To those still among the living, and still in uniform, serving their country proudly.
    To the women and men who risk life and limb to protect my life as an American citizen, to the brave women and men who face certain death, to the many women and men, who daily put their lives on the line in defense of my rights and for my protection against all enemies, both foreign and domestic, to the deceased women and men who gave the ultimate sacrifice, I honor and give remembrance to you all.
    Wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery.jpg


    Filed under Uncategorized

    3 responses to “VETERANS DAY: NOVEMBER 11, 2008

    1. hello my friend,
      my goodness!!
      this is a wonderful post given in for us to remember the men and women who serve this country!

      i love the black and white photos and the history behind each one.

      gives me so much to think about–concerning the peoples lives in the photos. i’m a big fan of history–

      i’ll have to give myself more time to read in deatil all that you have provided–i know it took some time for you to put all this together–i thank you my sister for doing so.
      a wonderful sacrifice that you have given–
      i’m not ex-military–but i have a place in my heart for them–i’ve taught many children over 18 years that have enlisted into the military–family members, friends, friends of friends, friends family members—

      thank you again for posting this wonderful view of our past as a country!

    2. Ann


      You are most welcome. I am glad you like the post.

      I felt that in order to truly *honor* veterans—-all must be honored on this very important day to remember their sacrifices.

      But, I, in all honesty, believe every day should be Veterans Day 😉

      Thanks for your comments, and thanks for stopping by.


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