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Events to Commemorate Veterans Day

As part of the SHSU History Department's new emphasis on military history, the department is joining with the Sam Houston Memorial Museum to host two events in commemoration of Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

Two speakers, Robert Bruce of the history department at SHSU and Dennis Showalter of Colorado College, will give presentations to address the meaning of Veterans Day, the value of public service, and the importance of the study of military history.

The organizers hope that these events will help those in attendance remember this important day while also encouraging interest in military history among university students and the community.

"We hope that these events will offer the community a chance to stop briefly in their day to remember the men and women who have lost their lives defending American freedom as well as those who continue to fight today," said event coordinator Susannah Bruce.

"Also, we want the university and the Huntsville community to know about the history department's new emphasis on military history and to strengthen the ties between the university, the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, and area veterans," added Bruce.

"All of us at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum are delighted to join with the history department in co-sponsoring the Nov. 11 Veterans Day program," said Pat Nolan, director of the museum. "Sam Houston, whose memory we enshrine, served as a U.S. Army officer, fought and was wounded at Horseshoe Bend during the War of 1812, and commanded the forces of the Texas Revolution at San Jacinto. We are honored to commemorate all of our nation"s veterans in this way."

The Nov. 11 commemorations begin at 9 a.m. with a morning address by Bruce, assistant professor of military history, on the meaning of Veterans Day. Bruce is the author of books and articles on World War I and the Civil War. He will speak at the Gillaspie Memorial Marker, which is across the street from the Sam Houston gravesite in Oakwood Cemetery.

That evening at 7 p.m., Showalter will speak on "Military History, Public Service, and the Historical Profession" at the Walker Education Center at the museum.

Showalter is a professor of history at Colorado College, the past president of the Society for Military History, and the author of numerous books and articles on the first and second World Wars, the Cold War, and the German Army. His talk will be followed by a reception in the Walker Education Center atrium. Both talks are free and open to the public.

Susannah Bruce said that she has had a tremendous outpouring of support for the program. Paul Culp, curator of the Thomason Collection, and Cheryl Patton, reference librarian, both of the SHSU Newton Gresham Library, were a tremendous help in providing sketches by Marine Col. John W. Thomason, Jr., a Huntsville native, veteran of World War I, author and artist. The Thomason sketches used to advertise this program are a small sample of those owned by the library.

James D. Patton, Walker County Clerk and co-chair of the Walker County Historical Commission, has offered his support for the program as well.

"It is very important that we celebrate Veterans Day," he said. "Historically, the earliest Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day) celebrations in Walker County were held in 1919. Many of our recent activities have continued this tradition of celebrating national holidays, which are important to remember not only after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but every year."

Charlotte Oleinik, director of the H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum, offered her support for the program as well. She has worked closely with Bruce to ensure that these events complement the activities the H.E.A.R.T.S. museum will be hosting at the Walker County Courthouse that morning between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.

"It is our hope that the townspeople and the university community will be able to attend at least one or perhaps all of these events on this important day of remembrance and gratitude," Susannah Bruce said.

Click here for more information.

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SHSU Media Contact: Brandon Autrey
Oct. 22, 2002
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