Memorial Military Museum

Memorial Military Museum The Jack Denehy Gallery exhibits, programs/events continue 43 years of the museum's mission: To Honor, To Preserve,To Explore Bristol's Military Heritage.

Operating as usual

Photos from our recent program in collaboration with the Bristol Public Library,  “Serving in the Middle East: Perspecti...
11/16/2021

Photos from our recent program in collaboration with the Bristol Public Library, “Serving in the Middle East: Perspectives from Those Who Were There”. Museum director, Carol Denehy (pictured below) acted as one of the moderators for this excellent special event.

Photos from Bristol Arts & Culture Fund - BACF's post
11/15/2021

Photos from Bristol Arts & Culture Fund - BACF's post

The Memorial Military Museum and the Bristol Public Library special event happening this November. See all the details i...
10/05/2021

The Memorial Military Museum and the Bristol Public Library special event happening this November. See all the details in the flier below and mark your calendars!

The Memorial Military Museum and the Bristol Public Library special event happening this November. See all the details in the flier below and mark your calendars!

05/28/2021
05/28/2021

Who is getting excited for this weekend’s kick off to Art & Seek!? Where in Bristol Conn. do you think these treasures will be found? Our first batch will be hidden very soon!

Photos from Bristol Historical Society's post
05/16/2021

Photos from Bristol Historical Society's post

Photos from Bristol Historical Society's post
05/16/2021

Photos from Bristol Historical Society's post

Photos from Bristol Historical Society's post
05/16/2021

Photos from Bristol Historical Society's post

On May 8, 1945 - known as Victory in Europe Day or V-E Day - celebrations erupted around the world to mark the end of Wo...
05/09/2021

On May 8, 1945 - known as Victory in Europe Day or V-E Day - celebrations erupted around the world to mark the end of World War II in Europe.

The war had been raging for almost five years when U.S. and Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944. The invasion signaled the beginning of the end for Adolf Hi**er and N**i Germany. In less than a year, Germany would surrender and Hi**er would be dead.

But in his speech to the nation on V-E Day, President Harry S. Truman cautioned that Allies must "work to finish the war" by defeating the Japanese in the Pacific.

76 years ago today, thousands of U. S. Marines landed on the island of Iwo Jima. February 19, 1945 was the first day of ...
02/19/2021

76 years ago today, thousands of U. S. Marines landed on the island of Iwo Jima. February 19, 1945 was the first day of the battle that became one of the major turning points in World War II.

02/09/2021

Military History Anniversaries

Today in Military History:

Feb 09 1942 – WW2: Dwight D. Eisenhower and top United States military leaders hold their first formal meeting to discuss American military strategy in the war.

02/07/2021

Military History Anniversaries

Today in Military History:

Feb 07 1943 – WW2: Imperial Japanese naval forces complete the evacuation of 10,652 Imperial Japanese Army troops from Guadalcanal during Operation Ke, ending Japanese attempts to retake the island from Allied forces in the Guadalcanal Campaign.

Memorial Military Museum
12/07/2020

Memorial Military Museum

BELLOWS FIELD
Sunday, December 7, 1941

The following is condensed from the recollections of Bristol resident Stanley Thomas. He was a mechanic in the 44th Pursuit Squadron stationed at Bellows Field.

Bellows Field was located on the windward coast of Oahu. The airfield, which was used as an aircraft gunnery range, consisted of an airstrip and tent camp along with several wooden buildings. On Sunday morning, twelve P-40s were neatly lined up on the edge of the runway…After breakfast, I walked out of the mess hall to the tent area where I talked a friend into a game of horse shoes. We were totally absorbed in the game when suddenly, with a loud roar, an aircraft came in off the water and buzzed our runway at about 200 miles per hour…the pilot pulled a sharp climbing turn to the left…Then, just before the plane disappeared behind the trees, we saw-to our dismay-big red circles on the wings. I knew what it meant, but I had difficulty accepting what I had seen. I looked at my watch, which indicated 0838.
There was a consensus of opinion that we should tow our aircraft into the maintenance area…to be dispersed. I was sitting in the cockpit of my P-40, manning the brakes…when my tug driver shouted to stop and pointed seaward. I was able to make out the outline of a B-17 bomber with smoke trailing back from one of her engines…He touched down about halfway up the runway… and rolled off the end into a shallow gully…Up to now, we knew nothing about a flight of twelve B-17 bombers which were due to arrive (at Hickham Field) from the mainland….The phones were in a mess, but somehow word did get through that Pearl Harbor was indeed under attack. A sense of urgency was now at a peak, along with a tingling of fear.

(The bullet-riddled B-17D with three wounded aboard was piloted by Lt. Robert Richards, who raced toward Bellows Field in an attempt to escape the strafing fighters which were swarming around his aircraft. It was impossible to engage in combat with the fighters because the ammunition for their machine guns were packed in cosmoline!)

All the while we constantly scanned the horizon. Popping up over a ridge about ten miles away, seven tiny dots appeared. The dots got bigger all too fast. Everyone scrambled for cover… I had no rifle or ammunition or even a rock to throw at them. Our valiant first pilot (Lt. George Whitmore), by now under fire, was taking off. He was only about seventy-five feet from my position when…a Zero in a dive opened up. I saw it all. There were little spots of flames as the Zero’s tracers went through our pilot’s canopy. The P-40 turned left, stalled out and came down on a sand dune where it burned fiercely. I am convinced that the pilot was dead before the crash.

( A second pilot, Lt. Hans Christianson, was gunned down just as he was climbing into the cockpit of his plane.)

A third pilot (Lt. Sam Bishop) attempted to get off and..stayed low off the runway and built up speed while being riddled by several chasing Japanese…He ditched the damaged P-40 into the water and managed to survive even though he was shot at while swimming to shore. At this point (0945), the attack was broken off. (Five airman at Bellows Field were dead and nine others suffered wounds.) The entire squadron was enraged…During the rest of the day we were issued Springfield rifles and a bandolier of five-round clips..dug foxholes along the beach…We stayed in our foxholes most of the night. Close to dawn, in one of the tents we listened to a radio covered with a blanket. We heard the President say that we were at war with Japan. It was dawn, Monday, December 8-my birthday! Believe me, after what I had just been through, I sure felt one year older.

BELLOWS FIELD                                                                                Sunday, December 7, 1941The...
12/07/2020

BELLOWS FIELD
Sunday, December 7, 1941

The following is condensed from the recollections of Bristol resident Stanley Thomas. He was a mechanic in the 44th Pursuit Squadron stationed at Bellows Field.

Bellows Field was located on the windward coast of Oahu. The airfield, which was used as an aircraft gunnery range, consisted of an airstrip and tent camp along with several wooden buildings. On Sunday morning, twelve P-40s were neatly lined up on the edge of the runway…After breakfast, I walked out of the mess hall to the tent area where I talked a friend into a game of horse shoes. We were totally absorbed in the game when suddenly, with a loud roar, an aircraft came in off the water and buzzed our runway at about 200 miles per hour…the pilot pulled a sharp climbing turn to the left…Then, just before the plane disappeared behind the trees, we saw-to our dismay-big red circles on the wings. I knew what it meant, but I had difficulty accepting what I had seen. I looked at my watch, which indicated 0838.
There was a consensus of opinion that we should tow our aircraft into the maintenance area…to be dispersed. I was sitting in the cockpit of my P-40, manning the brakes…when my tug driver shouted to stop and pointed seaward. I was able to make out the outline of a B-17 bomber with smoke trailing back from one of her engines…He touched down about halfway up the runway… and rolled off the end into a shallow gully…Up to now, we knew nothing about a flight of twelve B-17 bombers which were due to arrive (at Hickham Field) from the mainland….The phones were in a mess, but somehow word did get through that Pearl Harbor was indeed under attack. A sense of urgency was now at a peak, along with a tingling of fear.

(The bullet-riddled B-17D with three wounded aboard was piloted by Lt. Robert Richards, who raced toward Bellows Field in an attempt to escape the strafing fighters which were swarming around his aircraft. It was impossible to engage in combat with the fighters because the ammunition for their machine guns were packed in cosmoline!)

All the while we constantly scanned the horizon. Popping up over a ridge about ten miles away, seven tiny dots appeared. The dots got bigger all too fast. Everyone scrambled for cover… I had no rifle or ammunition or even a rock to throw at them. Our valiant first pilot (Lt. George Whitmore), by now under fire, was taking off. He was only about seventy-five feet from my position when…a Zero in a dive opened up. I saw it all. There were little spots of flames as the Zero’s tracers went through our pilot’s canopy. The P-40 turned left, stalled out and came down on a sand dune where it burned fiercely. I am convinced that the pilot was dead before the crash.

( A second pilot, Lt. Hans Christianson, was gunned down just as he was climbing into the cockpit of his plane.)

A third pilot (Lt. Sam Bishop) attempted to get off and..stayed low off the runway and built up speed while being riddled by several chasing Japanese…He ditched the damaged P-40 into the water and managed to survive even though he was shot at while swimming to shore. At this point (0945), the attack was broken off. (Five airman at Bellows Field were dead and nine others suffered wounds.) The entire squadron was enraged…During the rest of the day we were issued Springfield rifles and a bandolier of five-round clips..dug foxholes along the beach…We stayed in our foxholes most of the night. Close to dawn, in one of the tents we listened to a radio covered with a blanket. We heard the President say that we were at war with Japan. It was dawn, Monday, December 8-my birthday! Believe me, after what I had just been through, I sure felt one year older.

Memorial Military Museum
11/20/2020

Memorial Military Museum

While the Jack Denehy Gallery is closed to the public, work continues behind the scenes on new projects. One is an exciting first for the Museum. Generous benefactors have made possible a professional video that is currently in production about a local World War II veteran still residing in Bristol. We anticipate welcoming visitors to the Gallery and programs in the near future.

While we wait, we remember that millions of service men and women who have been separated, sometimes for years, from home, family, community. One Bristol native, Captain Warren H. Beach, wrote and illustrated some of his World War experiences with the 359th Fighter Squadron, 356th Fighter Group. Four days after Thanksgiving 1943 would mark Capt. Beach’s 20th and final mission escorting B-17s on bombing raids. After his P-47 was hit, he bailed out, was captured and eventually became POW #3164 in Stalag Luft 1.

While Capt. Beach waited out the war, he wrote. Sometimes of the tragic, “A Tale that would singe and scotch (sic) and curl up the pages.” Sometimes of the irritation from “scant diet, lack of freedom, and drab monotony.” Some of his cartoons reveal his natural sense of humor. One month before the World War ended in Europe, he finally could write the following:
"Tremendous optimism…has nearly enveloped the camp 100%! We’ll be going home soon, and we think more feverishly than ever what it will be like, will people at home appear changed, will we, will this chunk out of our lives make the years to come difficult? I don’t think so. I think this immediate past of ours will enable us to face and withstand any crisis, and fully appreciate living in America.”

Warren “Gus” Beach never flew again after that fateful day of November 19, 1943. He retuned home with his ebullient personality intact to raise his family and have a successful career with Associated Spring. He retired to NH and passed away January 2002.

While the Jack Denehy Gallery is closed to the public, work continues behind the scenes on new projects. One is an excit...
11/20/2020

While the Jack Denehy Gallery is closed to the public, work continues behind the scenes on new projects. One is an exciting first for the Museum. Generous benefactors have made possible a professional video that is currently in production about a local World War II veteran still residing in Bristol. We anticipate welcoming visitors to the Gallery and programs in the near future.

While we wait, we remember that millions of service men and women who have been separated, sometimes for years, from home, family, community. One Bristol native, Captain Warren H. Beach, wrote and illustrated some of his World War experiences with the 359th Fighter Squadron, 356th Fighter Group. Four days after Thanksgiving 1943 would mark Capt. Beach’s 20th and final mission escorting B-17s on bombing raids. After his P-47 was hit, he bailed out, was captured and eventually became POW #3164 in Stalag Luft 1.

While Capt. Beach waited out the war, he wrote. Sometimes of the tragic, “A Tale that would singe and scotch (sic) and curl up the pages.” Sometimes of the irritation from “scant diet, lack of freedom, and drab monotony.” Some of his cartoons reveal his natural sense of humor. One month before the World War ended in Europe, he finally could write the following:
"Tremendous optimism…has nearly enveloped the camp 100%! We’ll be going home soon, and we think more feverishly than ever what it will be like, will people at home appear changed, will we, will this chunk out of our lives make the years to come difficult? I don’t think so. I think this immediate past of ours will enable us to face and withstand any crisis, and fully appreciate living in America.”

Warren “Gus” Beach never flew again after that fateful day of November 19, 1943. He retuned home with his ebullient personality intact to raise his family and have a successful career with Associated Spring. He retired to NH and passed away January 2002.

On the 11th of November, 1918, an armistice was signed that brought an end to the combat in World War I. President  Wood...
11/11/2020

On the 11th of November, 1918, an armistice was signed that brought an end to the combat in World War I.
President Woodrow Wilson in November 1919 proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words:
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory…”

The World War I victory medal in the photograph was awarded to a soldier who participated in the Great War. The medal is comprised of a rainbow colored ribbon and a bronze medallion. The front of the medallion depicts an image of winged victory holding a sword and shield. Six stars line the bottom. The back features the words “The Great War for Civilization” across the top and a staff and shield with “US” in the middle and names of the Allied countries who took part along both sides.

In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks had the idea to expand the idea of Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans. And in 1954, Congress amended the bill proclaiming November 11 a national holiday by replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and it has been known as Veterans Day since honoring all who served.

Beginning with the Civil War, rotating displays in The Jack Denehy Gallery highlight veterans’s stories with honor and respect.

Today, August 15th, is the 75th Anniversary of V-J Day, celebrating the end of WWII with Allied victory over Japan. The ...
08/15/2020

Today, August 15th, is the 75th Anniversary of V-J Day, celebrating the end of WWII with Allied victory over Japan. The pins pictured also mark V-E Day, May 8,1945, Allied victory over Germany.

06/26/2020

JUNE 25, 1950 - JULY 27, 1953

70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE START OF THE KOREAN WAR

Though relatively short, the Korean War was bloody, with nearly 5 million deaths. Over half of these were civilians. Almost 40,000 Americans died in action in Korea and more than 100,000 were wounded.
About 500 Bristol residents served in the military during the Korean War.The 8-foot polished black granite Korean War Monument on Memorial Boulevard, dedicated in 1995, honors those veterans.The names of the 15 Bristol men who were killed in action, died in a POW camp, or who died during the war, are listed on a plaque at the base of the monument.

The 15 men are remembered in the current Jack Denehy Gallery exhibit, “THEY GAVE THEIR ALL.” A notebook complied by Mike Thomas and Bob Montgomery tells the stories of many of the men. Pictures, varied artifacts and maps are displayed to represent the experiences of Bristol veterans. We look forward to presenting a program for Families and Friends to share memories from and of those who served and of that era.

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98 Summer Street
Bristol, CT
06011-1393

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Wednesday 10am - 2pm
Saturday 10am - 2pm

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A special program "Serving in the Middle East: Perspectives from Those Who Were There" will be presented by Memorial Military Museum on Sat, Nov 13th at 2pm at the Bristol Public Library, 5 High Street, Bristol, CT, RSVP by contacting the library.
Article 8/12 WHAT AND WHY IS WAR? The first of seven articles written in celebration of the Centennial Anniversary of the Veterans Memorial Boulevard was initiated with the building of the Downs Grist Mill in the middle of the eighteenth century. Little did the first settlers of our community recognize that the land on which they built this facility, as the lifeblood of a developing community, would eventually become the eastern gateway to the Veterans Memorial Boulevard. A new and elegant gateway is now being constructed on the very land where the gristmill once stood. In 1919, Albert F. Rockwell, industrialist, and city benefactor, contributed land and financial resources to the city, with the vision of creating a majestic boulevard and a more comprehensive high school. The Veterans Memorial Boulevard was officially dedicated on Armistice Day, November 11, 1921. The high school opened in September 1922. On Seicheprey Day, April 19, 1924, a Soldiers’ Monument at the intersection of the boulevard and Mellon Street was dedicated. This memorial is now known as the World War I Monument. A detailed description of the dedication ceremony and monument was included. On Memorial Day, 1973 the Veterans Memorial Park was officially dedicated. This beautifully landscaped park is one of the largest war tribute parks within our country. The two distinct sides of this park were described with details describing each monument or memorial. The Memorial Side, on the south side of the boulevard, beginning with the Revolutionary War, is dedicated to those who died during service. The Commemorative Side on the boulevard’s north side, next to the Pequabuck River, honors all who served since colonial times WHAT AND WHY IS WAR? (Editorial Note) This article, the eighth in the series, will conclude with a poem written by my mother, Cecelia Elizabeth Carroll Dickau. It describes from a child’s perspective the significance, even at a young age, that war has on individuals and families. The Veterans Memorial Boulevard, as well as the memorials and monuments located within the Veteran Memorial Park have been described in detail within previous articles. These are the brick-and-mortar aspects associated with the remembrance and recognition of the valor and service of our military personnel throughout the years. Wars and conflicts are not only about city residents being away from their homes fighting in distant lands, but also encompass our entire society. Whether for political ideology; economic or territorial gains; revolt against a ruling authority or tyranny; maintenance of dignity, freedom, or human rights, or for a variety of other reasons, the trauma of war reaches back into the very fabric of our families, communities, and country. It is through this lens that the true significance of the Veterans Memorial Boulevard and Park should be viewed. Five significant wars and/or conflicts in which Bristol’s military service were required will be utilized to illustrate how local families and our community were involved and affected. THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR Bristol became an official town in 1785. Prior to that time, two major religions with differing beliefs, the Congregationalist, and the Episcopalians, harmoniously co-existed on Federal Hill. When the independence movement to separate from England began, the peaceful relationship between the two religions came to an abrupt and violent end. Family members often had differing religious affiliations, which pitted them against other family members. As in all wars, each side felt it was justified in its position and was willing to aggressively support their beliefs. The Episcopalians, known as Tories or Loyalists, supported the British King and the Church of England, while the Congregationalists desired a complete separation from both. Being the larger of the two churches, its members vilified, persecuted, punished and physically assaulted the Loyalists. Being afraid for their lives, they fled to the Chippens Hill area, often utilizing a well-hidden cave, later known as Tory’s Den, as a safe haven. The Episcopal Church would not return to Bristol until 1834. The Federal Hill Green was utilized as a military training ground during these times. Several community residents were killed during the War of Independence, while others died of illnesses while serving. At age eighteen, Moses Dunbar and his wife, Phoebe Jerome, left the Congregational Church to become Episcopalians. His father totally disowned him at this time. He was later captured as a Loyalist spy and was found guilty of treason. He was hanged on the site of today’s Trinity College. Residing in the eventual Bristol area, he was the only Connecticut resident to be executed for this crime. Even before becoming the town of Bristol, our community felt the physical and emotional trauma of war. THE CIVIL WAR Whether viewed from the cultural or moral issue of slavery as an institution; from the perspective of slavery as an economic necessity or from the perspective of the federal government exerting undue control over the states, our nation faced a crossroad from 1861 – 1865 during the Civil War. The unity of our country was being challenged. Similar to the Revolutionary War, and all wars, both the Union and Confederate sides felt a justification for defending their position. Local families were once again rifted with fathers, sons and brothers fighting against each other, because they held opposing beliefs. It should be recognized that rich Connecticut and Bristol residents also owned slaves, utilized mainly as household servants. This included Samuel Newell, the first pastor of the Congregational Church, and landowner William Jerome, who owned several slaves. Although treated better than their Southern counterparts, they were never-the-less sold and traded as economic commodities. Many local residents were against the war, fearing a loss of slave service and their monetary value. Those opposed to the war were known as copperheads. Clock maker Elisha N. Welch, a copperhead and Bristol’s first millionaire, was opposed to the war feeling it would devastate his southern clock market. For these reasons, city residents often held conflicting views, causing a great deal of friction within the community. Fifty-four residents of our community were killed, others died in prisoner camps, and many returned with traumatic physical and mental issues. Forestville resident and Commander of Company K of the Sixteenth Connecticut Volunteer Regiment, Newton S. Manross, was killed in the deadly Battle of Antietam during his first military action. This company was comprised mainly of Bristol/Forestville citizens. The War Between the States once again shows the depth and feelings of the community involvement away from the battlefield. WORLD WAR I World War I, originally named, “The war to end all wars”, certainly did not fulfill its optimistic premise. However, this war did lay a foundation for future growth within the city. The contribution of our community’s immigrant population, previously considered socially, politically, and intellectually inferior by the Yankee aristocratic members of the city, was of necessity recognized. Fighting next to each other, with their lives dependent on one another through communication and cooperation, relationships developed. When returning from war the immigrants became more fully assimilated within the city. World War I also brought about a new approach to an organized military, as well as a systematic community involvement to assist families and military personnel. Recognizing the myriad facets associated with war, residents willingly donated time, money, and labor. Selective Service Systems were organized around the country. This would end the haphazard volunteering used during the War Between the States. Bristol, knowing that this system was being developed, laid previous groundwork. A Draft Board was quickly organized, which held its first obligatory registration day on June 5, 1917. This would become an annual event. Candidates were summoned for physical examinations which were held at the Armory (Redmen’s Hall) on Prospect Street and later at the high school on Summer Street. Qualified men were assigned a number by the draft board and would be inducted by a lottery number system conducted in Washington D.C. Enlisted men generally disembarked from the Bristol Railroad Station. The mayor, members of the Red Cross and other personnel were there to see them off. This became a weekly occurrence. Many city residents were unable to serve for a variety of reasons: women were excluded, many men were beyond military age; some were involved in essential industries; physical limitations disqualified others and men were often exempt due to family needs or responsibilities. These thousands of Bristol residents contributed in a variety of ways to the war effort. Factories transitioned to war production needs. This created an abundance of employment opportunities, which paid abnormally high wages. Women joined the work force. Men and women often worked extended hours to meet war quotas. The Bristol Chapter of the American Red Cross solicited female volunteers to knit clothing, hospital gowns, bandages, and other supplies. These volunteers also raised funds for the war effort. A Home Service Section was established. They assisted families to secure food and other necessities. They also assisted in writing letters and sending them off to the soldiers. They also helped to complete any paperwork connected with the war, such as securing medical or death benefits. The War Savings Committee involved the entire community by conducting four Liberty Loan Drives, as well as a Victory Loan Program. National quotas were set for each community. Through the generosity of city residents, Bristol nearly doubled their requested amounts and contributed over five million dollars. The entire community became involved in war rationing. Housewives signed self-denying pledge cards indicating they would not use products essential for war. They also limited the use of sugar, flour, pork, fats, and fuel. Special days were observed throughout the city: gasless Sunday, heatless Monday (factories, stores and offices were ordered closed), wheatless Tuesday, meatless Wednesday, and pork¬-less Saturday. Cultivation of land was used for private gardens. Miscellaneous activities also supported the war. The Bristol Public Library joined a National Book Campaign and sent thousands of books and periodicals overseas. The Bristol Press and a variety of factory newsletters published soldiers’ letters back home. Every week, at all city theaters and at loan rallies, Four-Minute Speakers, only permitted four minutes but well-scripted, would address attendees regarding the war and solicit funds or items as needed. Yes, indeed, the entire city contributed to the war’s success! WORLD WAR II During World War II, many of the programs utilized during the First World War were implemented. The entire City of Bristol once again mobilized to assist the cause. Industry transitioned to war production needs. Women played an even greater role than during WWI. School children, boys and girls scouts, boys’ and girls’ club members and newspaper carriers delivered messages and purchased war stamps and bonds. They also assisted in the salvage collection of materials needed by the armed forces: paper, aluminum, other metals, fat, rubber and used clothing. Churches and civic and fraternal organizations assisted in these activities, as well as providing significant funding. Some children and young adults served as enemy aircraft spotters on Chippens Hill. Farmers attempted to increase production, growing crops needed by the military. Public gardens were provided at no expense to families to grow food for their own consumption. Strict rationing regulations were implemented. Items such as sugar, gasoline, tires, automobiles and designated foods were extremely scarce. Families needed to contribute in this manner. The entire community was subjected to and had to endure long periods of nightly black-outs and mock air raid drills. The Bristol Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Bristol Hospital jointly sponsored nurse’s aide training classes in the event of local emergencies. Female volunteers continued to make bandages, gauze, hospital gowns and other necessities. The Red Cross also conducted emergency blood banks. Housing developments were constructed quickly to accommodate the influx of industrial workers and the eventual return of soldiers. Attacked on our own soil, the very existence of our country was jeopardized. In addition to the soldiers that left our community to preserve our freedom, the entire City of Bristol rallied to insure our country’s victory. VIETNAM WAR The Vietnam War, lasting nearly a decade, was the longest war to that time in which our country ever engaged. This was a highly divisive conflict with strong opposition and many protests occurring! Some resented the war on moral and ethical grounds, citing the violence and devastation that would transpire. Others reasoned that our country was inserting itself into another nation’s civil war. The third, and probably the most accurate premise, was that the war lacked a clear objective and appeared to be unwinnable! Bristol, as always, answered the call of duty, sending its residents into service. Seventeen local soldiers died during this conflict, with over 58,000 United States citizens offering the supreme sacrifice! Editorial note: The author of this article had a friend die in Vietnam; another was strongly affected by the Agent Orange defoliation chemicals; and a third committed su***de after returning. This is the trauma of war! Our community, like all U.S. communities, had ambivalent feelings regarding our involvement. The length of the war perhaps diminished its significance in the minds of people as they continued with their daily lives. It was over there, far away from us! Unless directly affected, some lost their connection with the war’s significance! When soldiers arrived home, at a variety of times due to the war’s longevity, there was little reaction to their return. Some felt they were treated poorly, even held accountable, as if they caused the war. There were no Welcome Home Parades or support that our heroes had received when returning from WWII! Many soldiers returned with emotional and physical injuries and will carry these scars for the remainder of their lives. Many suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), having lived 24/7 with survival hopes, while also witnessing the atrocities of combat! Anxiety, anger, shame and even guilt oftentimes still permeate the daily lives of many Vietnam veterans, many who will never share or discuss their involvement. Our community and nation owe these veterans a major debt of gratitude! THE VETERANS MEMORIAL BOULEVARD AND PARK - ITS MEANING TO OUR CITY Our community must truly understand the significance of war on our soldiers, families, and community during the past and present times. The Veterans Memorial Boulevard and Park are certainly about the dedication and valor of soldiers, but also concerns family involvement and emotions, as well as the concerned, generous spirit of our community willing to sacrifice so that the freedom we cherish can be maintained and perhaps be shared by others around the world. WHAT AND WHY IS WAR? The following poem written by my mother, Cecelia Elizabeth Carroll Dickau, shows the subtle but meaningful impact war can have on family and children. My very first childhood memory, indelibly etched, is that my father would not be home to celebrate my birthday. I am the baby in the carriage. My brothers, Ed and Art have their faces pressed against the windowpane. Two wistful faces pressed against the pane, Waiting for their Daddy, to come home again. Baby is in his carriage, he smiles and coos, When he is quiet, we know he’s lonesome too. For Daddy is a soldier, and Mommy says he will make it right, So, when we are big boys, we won’t have to fight. Mommy takes good care of us, and smiles on us at play, She sees that we are alright, each day that you are away. When it comes to airplanes and our electric trains, Somehow Daddy, things don’t seem quite the same. Though we love our Mommy, because she is good and true, Soon, if we are good boys, can’t we have our Daddy too? Perhaps it would be easier for little boys to be good, If someone would explain things, in words we understood. I guess it is pretty hard to tell boys, who are not yet four, The answer to their question, “What and Why is War?” —Cecelia Elizabeth Carroll ***************************** This coming October, the City of Bristol, its Bristol Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services, and the Bristol Historical Society, along with the Bristol Veterans Council, Memorial Military Museum, and the extended community plan to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the Memorial Boulevard which opened in 1921. The following is the eighth article in a monthly series written by Tom Dickau commemorating the centennial anniversary of the park by depicting the history behind the land, people, and events that helped shape it into the park Bristol treasures today. *****************************