Today is Veterans Day, a day the nation pauses to honor Americans across the generations who’ve served in our military.
If you are a veteran, thank you for your service.
This day originated as Armistice Day, marking the signing of the armistice between the Allied nations and Germany which went into effect at 11am on Nov. 11, 1918. It is a national holiday in France, England, and many nations who were allied in World War I; several changed the name from Armistice Day to Remembrance Day; we changed it first to All Veterans Day which then got shortened to Veterans Day.
For the past two years, MLWGS volunteer transcribers have been transcribing WW1 questionnaires for the Library of Virginia. The Library of Virginia’s has several online exhibits in their World at War collection, including one that highlights the stories of Virginia’s African American soldiers who served during World War I.
The Virginia War Memorial is hosting its 65th annual Veterans Day ceremony at 11am. The ceremony will be livestreamed on the Facebook pages of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, WTVR CBS6, and other select social media channels. They’ve also opened a new exhibit this month called “Who They Were: Lives Worth Knowing” and are offering a screening of Saving Private Ryan at 7pm. Visit their events page for details: https://vawarmemorial.org/events/
If you’d prefer to read/reflect to mark this day, the MLWGS library has several relevant nonfiction books, biographies, novels, poetry, movies, and documentaries. Some of the books are currently on display on the library circulation desk and the window sill beside the chalk wall. Here is a poem by poet and Vietnam veteran Yusef Yomunyakaa, “Facing It.”
If you prefer to reflect outdoors, consider visiting a nearby national park (e.g., Yorktown Battlefield) after school. Admission to national parks is free on Veterans Day. There are no admission fees at Petersburg Battlefield or Richmond Battlefield parks.
If you are a veteran or know someone who is, several area businesses are offering discounts and specials for veterans.
If you drop by the MLWGS Library to borrow a book or DVD, please take a moment to add something you’re grateful for to the library’s chalkboard wall.
November is National American Indian & Alaska Native Heritage Month, also known as National Native American Heritage Month. In honor of this month, here is the poem “Perhaps the World Ends Here” by Joy Harjo, who is currently serving her second term as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States. Her collection An American Sunrise and several other books related to American Indian and Alaskan Native culture are on available in the MLWGS Library.
Here are some related online resources and events happening around RVA:
- Portal to myriad related resources @ https://www.nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/ and https://www.virginia.gov/nahm/
- News articles in Indian Country Today which covers the indigenous world, including American Indians and Alaska Natives
- Special virtual program by the Virginia War Memorial (registration required) at 7pm on Nov. 30th called “Warrior Spirit: The Story of Native American Patriotism and Heroism.”
- VMFA programs and resources, including a video of Raven Custalow, a Virginia Native artist of Mattaponi and Rappahannock ancestry and an enrolled member of the Mattaponi tribe, discussing her artwork
- MLWGS students in Mrs. Reed’s Polar Seminars have studied several topics related to Alaska Native cultures. In Spring 2021, scholar Aviaja Lyberth Hauptmann presented about indigenous food and its influence on the gut biome. A recording of her presentation can be found on the Polar Seminar Guest Speaker Presentations Schoology group (MLWGS login required)