Plenty of our volunteers saw service in the military, in peace and war. I recall at least one who made it up and off Omaha Beach, and another who, on passing through his basic training, was informed that he was going to be an Army dentist. (He still feels this assignment should have been investigated as an act of sabotage.) In distant days before I had heard of the Newberry Library, I met a few veterans of World War I and even a disabled survivor of the Spanish-American War. And I spoke to people who had spoken to Civil War vets.
Still, on Veteran’s Day, the first person I think of is cartoonist Walt Kelly, who once objected, in his comic strip Pogo, to the Veteran’s Day moment of silence. He suggested that we had it all backwards. Maybe, he said, we should all of us shut up for the rest of the year so that we could think of something worthwhile to say on the Eleventh of November.