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tv   Honoring U.S. Veterans Since the Revolutionary War  CSPAN  April 9, 2020 11:07pm-1:00am EDT

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>> from the american revolutionary institute, a discussion examining the experiences of u.s. veterans since the revolutionary war era. veterans affairs secretary robert wilkie delivers the opening remarks. >> good evening. and welcome to the headquarters
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of the american revolution institute of the society of the cincinnati. my name is william pless lunger, i am president general of the society, a position first occupied by george washington. he held the post from our founding in 1783 until his passing on december 14 1799. today is november 11, 2019 which marks the 100th anniversary of veterans day in america. originally known as armistice day, and renamed in 1954, this is a day when we recognize the service of all u.s. military veterans. we are delighted to mark this important day with a special event designed to salute america's veterans. i am especially pleased that our guests this evening include a fellow north carolinian who is the nation's secretary of
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veterans affairs, the honorary robert wilkie. the society of the cincinnati was our country's first veterans group, so it is particularly fitting the secretary will be providing remarks. you will hear more about that in a moment. we are gathered tonight to listen to a distinguished panel of noted historians who will be discussing the experience of american veterans since the revolutionary generation more than 240 years ago. i also want to encourage you to return to anderson house and visit us again and look at our very special museum exhibition, " america's first veterans." it is behind me and behind the fireplace. you may not go in there now. the exhibit opened last week and will go until the spring of 2020. now, i'm going to ask mark williams, chairman of the board of overseers of the american
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revolution institute of the society of the cincinnati, to provide a very brief summary of who we are and what we do and then to introduce our distinguished secretary. mark? [applause] mark williams: thank you. the american revolution was the world's single most important achievement for self-governance in the past 1000 years. in may of 1783, towards the end of the war, the continental officers formed an organization with two primary purposes. first, they wished to perpetuate the remembrance of the american revolution and the ideals for which they fought. second, they wanted to perpetuate the mutual
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friendships formed in the crucible of war. of note, our organization's charter goes on to state that the spirit of friendship extends to providing care for one's fellow combatants and the families. the first such expression in our history. considering a name for this organization, the officers were inspired by a famous roman leader who twice voluntarily gave up his near absolute dictatorial authority to return to being a mere, ordinary farmer. hence, the revolutionary war officers deemed an appropriate name for their organization to be the society of the cincinnati. note that the military ceding authority back to civilians may seem obvious today, but in 1783 was nothing short of
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extraordinary. nothing in happened like that before. there are numerous examples of the military remaining in control after successful revolutions. consider napoleon, lenin, mao, castro, and others. membership in the society is limited to a few thousand men because eligibility requirements consist of being the eldest male descendent of a continental officer with only a single person being able to represent that officer. we will come back to that. for the first 200 years of the society's existence, most of our focus was on the fraternal purpose. frankly, that is because there was not much need to focus on the mission purpose as our nation's founding was more rally celebrated throughout america than today. for example, schoolchildren
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routinely memorized the declaration of independence and the constitution. they learned of the sacrifice made by ordinary folks to secure our independence, to establish our republic, to create our national identity, and to commit the new nation to ideals of liberty, equality, natural rights, civil rights, and responsible citizenship. unfortunately, a couple of generations ago, this sort of education started to become tarnished. cincinnati leaders recognized they would have to start focusing more on the remembrance of that vast event, as our forebearers called it, and its associated ideals. furthermore, they recognized their limited resources of only 3500 domestic members would not be enough to accomplish their
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enormous yet vitally important goals. as a result, the society created the american revolution institute of the society of the cincinnati. here, eligibility is open to all who share our patriotic passion. as magnificent as the revolutionary war achievements were, like any human endeavor, the results of the war and the civilian government that followed were not perfect. notably, it failed to resolve slavery, women's suffrage, and particularly poignant for tonight's discussion, it did not address veterans question veterans'rights. press would fall into the trap of resin to them -- presentism, the intellectual fallacy of judging the past by current
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standards, we must recognize the revolution created an evolutionary process. that is the beauty of our heritage. while it did take us a couple of generations to grant revolutionary war veterans a pension, the important fact is we did so. and we were the first nation in the world to do so. if you have not had an opportunity to visit our museum, i strongly encourage you to do so. tonight, i am delighted to introduce the secretary of veterans affairs. secretary wilkie's background and list of accomplishments could take most of the evening. but please allow me to share a few. perhaps first and foremost, he is the son of an army officer and grew up at fort bragg. he is an attorney and currently a colonel in the air force reserves. he has more than 20 years of federal service at the national and international level,
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including being in an assistant secretary of defense as well as senior director at the national security council under condoleezza rice. prior to that, he had extensive exprience serving multiple congressmen. outside the federal sector, he has been vice president of strategic programs for a multibillion-dollar public company focusing on large-scale engineering and program management. academically, secretary wilkie holds degrees, an honors degree from wake forest, a jd from loyola, a master law from georgetown, a masters in strategic studies from the army war college. in addition, he has graduated from several military colleges. he has published articles in
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multiple military journals and has been awarded the highest non-civilian award of the defense department, the defense distinguished public service medal. please allow me to introduce you all to the honorable robert leon wilkie. [applause] mark williams: and if i may take a line from "casablanca, " i'm glad he is on our side now. >> the pin reads the american revolution institute. >> thank you all very much. this is a wonderful ending for
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us at veterans affairs, this day of days, when we celebrate 41 million americans who have put on the uniform since the first shots were fired at lexington green in april of 1775. it is important for me to echo what was just said because it is an honor for me to be here amongst the keepers of the american flame, those who fight against presentism, who understand people like the indispensable man over my shoulder are men embedded in their times and struggle as all humans do with how to make the best of what has been given to them. winston churchill said after a rather mixed academic career that i let the smart children know latin for a fashion and greek for a treat but i hit them hard when they do not know
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their history. this place drips with history. this society was founded in new work -- newburgh, new york, where one of the seminal events in the history of armies of the west was born when certain officers, including one scoundrel named gates, and i will not talk about him very much, were threatening to overthrow the order that gentleman established. and in the midst of chaos stepped george washington. he walked into the barn and started to speak, but he could not so he pulled out a piece of paper and tried to read it, but he could not do that. and he reached for spectacles. he said, forgive me, gentlemen, because i have run almost blind and my hair has grown white in
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the service of my country. the tears began to flow like rivers that night. a few weeks later, he was in new york saying goodbye to the hamiltons, the tillmans, henry knox, the founder of this society, the first president of the society, and others who had borne the cause of american freedom on their shoulders. it is those ancestors we honor most tonight. the process of turning the ideas of the american revolution and the declaration of independence into something real requires the most necessary ingredient in any fight -- soldiers. in those years, this fledgling nation got an early glimpse of the importance of the men and women who stand up to be
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counted. in january of 1776, tom paine, who helped inspire the reading of the declaration of independence across the continental army by publishing "common sense." things were not going well that winter. british troops have pushed washington out of new york and new jersey into pennsylvania. that prompted payne who was retreating with the continental army to write the first american crisis essay that december. you know the first line. " these are the times that try men's souls." but what followed was a lesser-known appeal to the spirit of america's warriors. the summer soldier and sunshine patriot will shrink from the service of their country, but
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he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered. it we have the consolation that the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph. a few days later, washington crossed the delaware and routed the mercenaries on that christmas day, a brilliant stroke that would infuse the american cause for years to come. america owes everything to those men and women who refuse to be known as the summer soldiers and the sunshine patriots. all through our history as we have spoken of national unity, the real obstacle of moving forward the boundaries of freedom, and the only danger to america comes from within. that is not a new thought. ronald reagan spoke of it often. if you look at reagan's thoughts on the american revolution, they are infused with his thoughts on the relationship between two of the
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great masters of the revolution. when independence was gained and the government was formed, partisanship ripped the bonds of friendship these two men formed first in 1775. thomas jefferson destroyed john adams in 1800. the night before jefferson's inauguration, adams slipped out of washington in bitter, sorrowful, and brokenhearted. but when both retired, they began through their letters to speak again. as reagan reminded us in 1986, they wrote on every imaginable subject. gardening, horseback riding. jefferson even talked about sneezing as a cure for hiccups. but other subjects were there. the loss of loved ones. the mystery of grief and sorrow. the importance of religion in the young country.
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and of course, the final hopes of two old men, two great patriarchs of the country they helped to found and loved so deeply. it carries me back, jefferson said, to the times when the set with difficulties and dangers we were fellow laborers in the same cause, struggling for what is most valuable to man, his right to self-government. laboring always at the same oar with some wave ahead threatening to overwhelm us. and yet, passing harmless by, we rode through the storm with heart in hand. that was their last gift to us. a lesson in brotherhood and tolerance for each other, and insight that would make america strong and great as a nation. when both died on the same day within hours on july 4, 1826, 50 years after the declaration was signed, america had what
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many considered to be a divine sign. i mentioned earlier 41 million americans have one this nation's uniform since the first volunteers took after the british on lexington green. some of our greatest heroes are those two insisted on wearing the uniform even when being told they were not wanted or needed. one of them was a scratch farmer from eastern tennessee by way of north carolina who would become the greatest hero of the first world war by capturing 132 german prisoners with just a small group of men. he was one of many americans called upon to do extraordinary things. another was a small, slight, bespectacled farmer from
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jackson county, missouri, who had never commanded anything but a plow. but he lied and cheated to get into the field artillery because he could not bear the thought of his friends and neighbors going to war without him being there to help them. he commanded the battery of the 120 night field artillery called the dizzy dees. he said they were the hardest drinking group in kansas city. he was a baptist leading people with names like maloney, driscoll, and o'farrell. he wrote his future wife, i do not know what will happen when the first explosions hit and the clouds of gas come. on the day two horses were shot out from under him, one private look at him trying to recover, through the bottle thick glasses, he said, harry truman don't scare with a. the infantry from harlem was
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there, known as the harlem hell fighters. they were not allowed to enter the parade. when they reached europe, they were assigned to the french army because so many american units would not fight with them. in the two years they were in western europe, the harlem hellfighters suffered more casualties, 1500, earned more decorations, and spent more time on the western front than any unit in the american army. and when they returned, the people of new york righted a wrong. they led the parade up fifth avenue when the american army came home. back to alvin york, that ordinary man called upon to do extraordinary things. york became a voice not only
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for veterans before his nation. -- but for his nation. as the guns of europe slowly started to approach the shores of the united states again, some questioned why the united states should again become tangled in the problems of your. didn't we just fight the war to end all wars? but york would echo thomas paine's remarks from the revolution and explain precisely why america had to fight. he said liberty, freedom, and democracy are so precious that you do not fight to win them once and then stop. liberty and freedom and democracy are prizes awarded only to those people who fight to win them and then keep fighting eternally to hold them. when i am asked what animates our work at the v.a., i say it is the stories of the men and women who sacrificed everything
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for us. it was not always so. president lincoln set the tone for us during the civil war by challenging us to care for those who have borne the battle. just a few blocks from here, president lincoln would get on a horse unaccompanied and follow ambulances up to hospitals located just north of the white house. he would reach into the ambulances and start talking to the soldiers, asking how they were, what was going on, what could he do for them? but the veterans of world war i many years later did not experience what mr. lincoln hoped when he issued his proclamation in the second inaugural, that we hope for
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peace and pray for it, but in order to ensure, we not only have to honor the soldiers who bore the battle, we have to care for their families. a few short blocks from here in the early 1930's, veterans of world war i marched on this town and were met with tanks. franklin roosevelt was watching. he sent his wife into the mist to tell those troops that everything would be all right and that change was coming. a young veteran who had served with york on the western front told "the washington post, " "the army sent tanks, and franklin roosevelt sent eleanor." a few years later after world war ii was over, that great veteran of the first war came to the white house. and he understood the mistakes made between the two great wars. unlike the predecessors of the veterans administration, he called upon his favorite missourian, general omar bradley, to take control of the
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v.a. in two years, he administered 7.5 million scholarships to college for america's veterans. he built 52 hospitals in two years and he pledged america would never turn its back in the 20th century on those who had borne the battle. but once again, we fell down. as mentioned, i am the son of a combat soldier. my father was grievously wounded in the invasion of cambodia. he was a big man for his day. 6'2", 240. in those days, it was a big fellow. he was so badly wounded that he spent a year in the army hospital before he returned home to us, weighing half of what he did when he left. only through the good graces of general abrams was he allowed three years to recover and return to the division that
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alvin york served in -- alvin york served in world war i, the all-american division, the most decorated combat unit in the armed forces of the united states. my father was a senior officer in that division and was not allowed to wear his uniform off post. that was not cambridge, massachusetts, that was not california. that was fayetteville, north carolina, the heart of richard nixon country. there were no parades. counterculture said it was not right to defend soldiers. my father reeled from the crisis. i was in the company of the daughter of bob hope as i dedicated our new cemetery in los angeles. i recounted to her a story i remember experiencing with my mother. mr.
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phil donahue was on television. he was running up and down the aisles with the microphone in his hand. bob hope was his guest. he spent about the first 20 minutes of the show trying to get bob hope to say that the soldiers of vietnam are somehow different from the soldiers bob hope entertained in korea and the pacific, that somehow they were broken. bob hope finally had enough. he said the soldiers i saw were the same soldiers that i saw in okinawa, the same soldiers i saw in australia, and the same soldiers i saw after the bulge. all remember after that was my mother yelling from the other room, "god bless you, bob hope! " today, we are finally people who praise the contributions of our warriors and know in our hearts that their services all
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we have to defend our way of life. and while we can never thank them enough, we must continue to take historic steps to make sure we fight for those who fought for us. we have finally integrated the v.a. with america's broader health care network. we are giving veterans the choice so that finally, if we can't provide them with a need, -- they need, we give them the opportunity to go into the private sector. for people like my father, after 30 years of serving, of being wounded and jumping out of airplanes, they no longer have to carry around an 800-page record of their service in peacetime in wartime. we have done to other things i believe are absolutely essential.
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we have talked about history here. i'm going to make reference to one of the more obscure successors to general washington, a fellow by the name of benjamin harrison. benjamin harrison is known for one thing. he served in between two non-successive terms of grover cleveland. and that was his contribution. but served as a major general during the civil war. and he has seen death on an unimaginable scale. and he was troubled. he was troubled by the reports that continued to come in from the war department that hundreds, almost thousands, of officers and men in the frontier army were taking their lives with her own hands. that was the first cataloging a suicide by the united states government. today, 20 veterans take their lives each and every morning. of those 20, 60% are not in our v.a. this is not a crisis just of
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those who have worn the uniform. the leading cause of death for america's youth is not what it was when i was a teenager, car accidents, it is suicide. the new york city police department is now overrun with stories of veteran policemen ending their lives tragically. what we have promised this time is that we are going to take veterans, because most americans understand at some level what veterans experience, what their fellow americans go through, when they put that uniform on and when they take that uniform off. we are going to finally have our first national conversation about mental health, homelessness, and addiction. it is long past time that a
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problem we identified in the 1890's be addressed by the people of this nation, and we are going to do that. [applause] >> and to give you some historic perspective, most of the veterans who take their lives are from my father's generation. lyndon johnson left washington, d.c., 50 years ago in january. that is how long their problems have been building. and it is long past time that we address them. so, i want to leave you with a couple of stories, stories that are important to me and i believe are important to those i have served with and those i have watched growing up. the first is from the greatest of airborne warriors, matthew bunker ridgeway. general ridgway led the all-american division ii victory in north africa.
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general eisenhower tasked him with preparing the airborne assault on hitler's force. he was in command of the screaming eagles and red devils. the night before d-day, he could not sleep. he felt out of his cot he was so restless. he was worried. he reached for the old testament and turned to the battle of jericho, up to that time, the most ferocious battle in the history of the hebrew people. he looked to god's promise, " i will not fail thee nor forsake thee." ronald reagan awarded general ridgway presidential medal of freedom in 1986. he said he heroes, and they are needed. great men step forward when courage seems in short supply. that is what we are about, not failing or for saking those who
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step forward when courage seems in short supply. just as the warriors of 1776 stepped forward to create a new dawn of the west. finally, we turn to the man whose greatest hero was the man we see above us, that was dwight eisenhower. when president eisenhower was inaugurated, he was told he had inherited a presidential yacht. he thought it was an indulgence unworthy of a democracy of war and ordered it scrapped. but there was one officer in washington whose orders general eisenhower could not countermand, mamie eisenhower. she said no, keep it, but when you take it out, only take it out with soldiers. five months after eisenhower was inaugurated, you know the kabuki dance about to take
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place. the president pulls up to appear at the navy yard. the secret service immediately deployed to separate the president from his troops. and is only a five-star general of the army could do, eisenhower yells, "halt, get behind me, i know these men! " he walked on the deck and there were 40 korean war soldiers. most were missing limbs. the others were horribly disfigured. eisenhower ordered those who could to stand at attention. and those who could do it, did it. he said you have a standing
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order from me, "you never put your uniform away. you live to remind your fellow citizens why they sleep soundly at night." that is what we are about. to never fail or for sake the ordinary men and women called upon to do these extraordinary things, who step forward when courage seems in short supply and whose existence reminds us that the cost of freedom is so high. is why the work of this society is so important, to provide us with a link to the earliest times in the founding of this republic when a few people took on the mightiest empire the world had ever seen, an empire capable in 1776 of launching an expeditionary force over 3000 miles of ocean with 30,000 troops. and they did it, and they persevered, and they set the world on fire just as tom paine predicted they would. it is up to us, as part of your inheritance here, to keep the flame of their memories alive because if we don't, it will not be a foreign power that gets its foot in the ohio or scales the rockies.
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it will be us who have brought to end this great experiment that is really the last, best hope of man. i thank you for this high honor. i thank you for being here on veterans day and for remembering those 41 million who have taken up arms since those farmers stood at lexington green and fought back the greatest force on the planet. thank you all and god bless you. [applause]
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>> the secretary is a hard act to follow, but we will do our best. i am jack warren. this weekend, our society opened an exhibition. if you have not been in, please do. not during the program. called "america's first veterans." it traces the experience of the revolutionary war veterans from the end of the revolutionary war through the 1860's when the very last veterans of the american revolution died, all of them over 100 years old by that time. the exhibition includes some remarkable treasures. that is one of the reasons you need to come back and see it or see it when the program is done
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this evening. it includes the original 1792 biography of deborah sampson, one of the first recognized women combat veterans in american history. she disguised herself as a man, easier in the day when all you had to do was draw your hair up in a ponytail when men wore ponytails as well, wore a continental uniform and was wounded in battle near tarrytown, new york. she took two musket balls in her if i -- her thigh. deborah did not want to be discovered. she dug one of those musket balls out of her leg by herself. she carried the other one her leg until the day she died in 1827. it was there when she gave birth to three children after
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the war. she was granted a disability pension in 1792 under the law establishing those pensions when the new federal government was established. her life story told in its first edition is a great treasure. another great treasure in the room is the badge of military merit. you have all heard of the badge of military merit even if you do not know it. it is a purple silk cloth about the size of a half dollar. it is the first american military decoration bestowed upon enlisted men for conspicuous service. george washington established in 1782, it was revived in 1932, weaver four to it as the purple heart. there are only two original purple hearts surviving, one is in the adjacent room.
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don't miss it. those are not the great treasure. if you could see into the room, you would see the face of a very old man. that is the real icon of this exhibition. it is a painting by john nagle. nagle was a distinguished philadelphia portrait painter of the second quarter of the 19th century. and he painted this painting and called it "a pensioner of the revolution." it portrays an elderly veteran who nagle encountered on a cold night in december of 1829 on the streets of philadelphia. the man was living in a makeshift shelter. this sounds familiar, doesn't it? nagle was on his way to a friend's house for dinner, but he stopped and approached the man and engaged him in conversation, which was difficult because the man spoke rather poor english.
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he was an immigrant from germany. but nagle learned his name was joseph winter and he had come to america before the revolution, had settled in eastern pennsylvania in the town of bethlehem where he was a weaver, and he had joined the american forces and served in the continental army during the revolutionary war. after the war, he married and had children. but by 1829, his children were dead, his wife was dead. weaving requires digital dexterity. it requires good eyesight. those have faded. by 1829, he could do no more
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work. he lived in the streets the paintings are a reminder that those problems are not easily solved, the challenges that they face today. we have to deal with these challenges. all of these challenges symptomatic of the revolutionary generation survive in different ways today. tonight, we are joined by a distinguished panel of historians who have worked on the expense of american veterans to discuss these experiences, explore how their experiences were peculiar to the circumstances of their generation but also perhaps to establish some common themes. they have been waiting very patiently off to the side. let me introduce them to you. brian matthew jordan's
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assistant professor of history at sam houston state university. [applause] >> a cultural historian of the civil war and its aftermath and the author of "marching home: union veterans and their unending civil war." he is the coeditor of "the war went on: reconsidering the lives of civil war veterans." stephen ortiz is associate professor of history at binghamton university. [applause] >> he is the author of "beyond the bonus march" and "g.i. bill." he is also the editor of "veterans policies, veterans >> new perspective on veterans in the modern united states." finally, miranda summers lowe is a curator in the division of political and military history at the smithsonian.
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[applause] >> her research includes the national guard and reserve history, women's military history, and the g.i. bill. she has served in the army national guard since 2002, including deployments to iraq and the horn of africa. you are our veteran of the evening. thank you. [applause] >> veterans of the revolutionary war faced challenges associated with demobilization and reintegration into civilian life. those are now 21st century ways of describing it. many faced challenges associated with disability, financial need, financial distress, poverty, and homelessness. only after the passage of
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several decades did our nation fully honor, celebrate, and memorialize the service of revolutionary war veterans. my assumption is their experience are patterns repeated to varying degrees in the aftermath of major military actions of the 19th and 20th century. that is what i hope we can talk about tonight. before we dive in, perhaps each of you would tell us a little bit about your own work on veterans and what you see as important about this theme to understand american history more broadly. i begin with professor jordan. >> my book is a social history of the men who won the civil war but could not bear what followed. previous scholarship argues union veterans returned home from the civil war and slipped into hibernation for at least 15 years after the conflict.
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the implications of that scholarship were enormous. it's supposed bill yank was somehow complicit in the bargain that achieved reconciliation. what my scholarship has done is a different approach and to suggest a myriad of ways the war continued to annex the lives of veterans for the rest of their lives. not only did they stagger through physical and emotional scars, but they also returned home to a northern civilian society that had reached no consensus about the meaning of the war, their participation in such unprecedented violence,
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the meaning of emancipation. billy yank comes home to a society that wants to remember a war he did not fight, a war of northern civilians was not the war he fought. he finds himself adrift needing urgently to explain and contextualize his own experiences. i think the lesson and larger implications are really important. ultimately, he could perhaps get over what he had seen and experienced at antietam or shiloh. when he could not get over was the way in which northerners wanted to swiftly embrace reconciliation, the way they wanted to move so quickly be on the war, the way they wanted to frame this. he wanted to maintain authority over those experiences. he wanted to maintain his
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position as custodian of the wartime experience. that was an ongoing battle for recognition and acknowledgment. >> thank you for having me here. i'm delighted to be here on this wonderful day. my research and writing about the role of veterans and their organization, like this organization, although i tend to focus on 20th-century organizations such as the veterans of foreign wars and the american legion. the american legion celebrating their centennial. i focus on the way those organizations and veterans within them have played an active role in american political life. a previous book has dealt with the ways that beyond the bonus march the secretary spoke about, they have been very active participants in the creation of
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the way americans handle veterans'policies and benefits. there is a misconception that americans have always been unbelievably generous with veterans'benefits. they have been somehow unanimously supported. what seems to have been the case for a very long time now is that veterans and their organizations had to fight and wage intense political battles to get the benefits they think they deserve. and that is the focus of my research. >> thank you for having me here this evening. it is a great honor. my research into veterans started when i was serving as in afghanistan were historian for the army. i thought this will be simple, it is an operational story. i was charged with writing the
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mobilization sections getting into the guard and reserve. seeing how in this era there were not clear-cut lines of being at war and at home, that our service members were routinely serving three tours of duty. now, we are getting up to 5, 6, 7. as much as i would have liked to keep it all within the military history perspective, i really did have to look at what was happening between the mobilizations which pulled me into looking at the veteran experience, particularly how people were framing it in the modern era coming back into their service, whether active duty or reservist. that research guided me back many generations before to look at different iterations of veterans programs and benefits and reintegration and how those programs had evolved for the current servicemember. if you are looking at current events right now, a lot of the topics we will talk about tonight are very timely.
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these are patterns that start as early as the american revolution. >> and would like to begin because it seems important to understand the experience of veterans of the revolution. what happens to veterans at the time of demobilization? professor jordan, you have tipped your hand a little bit. i was surprised to learn from the brief remarks she made how similar that experience was to the -- from the brief remarks you may have similar that experience was. most modern americans would think the victors of the revolutionary war would be men who could expect to get free lunch for the rest of their lives, that they would be heroes from the instant they went home. in the case of the
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revolutionary war, that was definitely not the case. the army was discontented because it had not been properly paid. most of the men who were discharged in the summer of 1783 were given debt certificates by the continental army which were not worth very much in which they sold immediately for pennies on the dollar. that was how they managed to get the money they needed to get home or to buy basic clothing for civilian life. and that was it. when they reached home, the communities which had been divided by war, particularly in large parts of the country, in parts of new york and the south where loyalist and have been common, communities were anxious to put the war behind them really quickly. for this reason, not only have they suffered financially at the end of the war and the promises made to them had not been fulfilled, but they did not find themselves as welcome as we would like to think they
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were. the same experience for union veterans. >> very similar experience with the exception of yale. 1.5 million men will call themselves union veterans after the civil war. it is an enormous scale. the physical process of demobilization is remarkably efficient. 800,000 men will be demobilized a few months after appomattox. all of that expertly choreographed by the quartermaster general. no one anticipates the social problems that will accompany demobilization. wartime voluntary aid societies, christian commission which had done marvelous work during the
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war, both would shutter their headquarters in the following 1865. veterans were left to navigate their way home by themselves. there is this notion that there is a great fear of a standing army and we want you to quickly cede authority or distinction as you return home. that is very palpable in many of the speeches delivered at ceremonies welcoming veterans home and demanding quickly they get on with the work of their lives.
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