Veterans Day

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In honor of those who have served, we would like to highlight our military collections.

Lt. Butts’ medals, commendations, dog tags, and diary are all on display. His diary has been transcribed for people to read through without damaging the original. Lt. Butts’ served in Company F. More information about his service can be found on his Wikipedia page.

Company F of the 108th Regiment served in both WWI and WWII. The Company F collection includes scrapbooks, photos, and a guidon. The guidon is a swallow-tailed flag borne by a military unit to mark their position.

Just inside our front doors you can see a painting of the Medina Honor Roll, listing those from Medina who served in the armed forces during WWII. The painting was made by Ray Robinson and depicts his father, the original artist, adding names to the Honor Roll.

We also have a record of Vietnam soldiers from WNY who were killed in action and a scrapbook about the Medina Veterans Memorial.

November is a month for giving thanks for family and friends, make sure to show thanks for our veterans too.

The Baker’s Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan

An atmospheric, haunting and beautifully written story of how the people of the tiny Normandy village of Vergers cope with German occupation, and the destruction of all they hold dear. Relatives and neighbors are conscripted or assassinated. Food and fuel are meagerly rationed. Yet, the French villagers devise ingenious ways to support one another. You will be reminded of Emma’s cleverness and bravery when you eat a baguette again. The story also offers a different perspective on a major historical event….I can’t be any more specific!

Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939 by Ullrich

Ullrich covers Hitler’s life from birth to the start of WWII. At over 750 pages plus notes and annotations this is not a quick read but if you have the time, I recommend it. Ullrich guides the reader through Hitler’s struggles and development of self, as a man slowly morphs into a monster. His political prowess, his vision for Germany, and setbacks faced by the Nazi party are all thoroughly covered.

Hitler didn’t start out an anti-Semite, he was friends with Jews as a child and a young man. The German loss of WWI was the beginning of not only Hitler’s antisemitism but also the German nation’s. That is when the persecution of Jews slowly began to take hold, someone needed to be blamed for Germany’s loss and Jews were the scapegoat of choice. Starting in 1933, legislation began to be passed stripping Jews of their businesses and homes, their rights, and citizenship. Even then the official policy was to force Jews to emigrate, leave the country and you won’t be persecuted. Violence towards Jews had been occurring for many years, the government and police simply didn’t attempt to stop or even curb the violence. It wasn’t until 1938 that the Nazi regime actively encouraged violence against Jews.

On the evening of November 9, 1938, what would become known as Kristallnacht, approximately 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Those who survived their weeks of internment were released and told to leave the country or end up back in the camps. Synagogues, homes, businesses, and schools were burned to the ground. Around 100 Jews were murdered. As an added insult, the Nazi’s fined the Jewish community for all the damage that occurred.

This isn’t an easy read but I do recommend anyone with an interest in WWII, the Holocaust, Hitler, or the Jewish community to read this. The book is thoroughly researched and cited. It ends with the invasion of Czechoslovakia, before the implementation of the Final Solution, so you won’t read anything about the mass genocide or experimentation of the concentration camps.

 

Company F – Poignant Wartime Encounters

A scrapbook of newspaper articles concerning the soldiers of Company F during World War II contains many heartbreaking articles of young men injured, taken prisoner or fatally wounded. There are also some joyous accounts of chance meetings and unexpected encounters. The following are just a few:

MEDINA BOYS MEET IN THE PHILIPPINES, 28 Feb 1945

Pvt. Karl E. Posson was walking down the air strip in Leyte when he met Pfc. Eugene P. Anderson, Jr.

MEETING MEDINA MEN IN NEW GUINEA WAS A WONDERFUL THRILL, 6 Mar 1945

Cpl. Francis Kelly who had been overseas since Nov. 13, 1943 met Cpl. Leo Ranallo who had recently been home to Medina and had visited the Kelly family. Cpl. Ranallo had even seen Cpl. Kelly’s 13-month old baby, Francis Michael Jr. who was born shortly after his departure “No one can ever know how I felt to talk with someone who has seen my baby, it is something I shall never forget” said Cpl. Kelly.

BETTER THAN BETTY SAYS MEDINA SOLDIER IN ITALY MEETING, 4 Apr 1945

“It was a bigger thrill meeting someone from our hometown than seeing Betty Grable” agreed two Medinians who met in Italy. Staff Sgt. William A. Koneski met Pfc. Charles J. Stillwell at a rest area for Fifth Army troops in Monticatina, Italy.

MEDINA BROTHERS MEET IN WAR ZONE, 19 Apr 1945

Merchant Marine Ben Starr on leave in France from his base in Germany hailed a ride with an American jeep. Upon hearing that he was from Medina, the driver told him that there was a Don Starr in his unit. Ben could not locate Don at first, but when Don went to his bunk later, there was his brother Ben sleeping in his bed!

MORIARTY BROTHERS MEET IN PACIFIC AFTER MANY MONTHS

Cpl. James Moriarty met his only brother Lieut. Francis Moriarty in Guam. The brothers had not met for “thirty and one half months”.

CONTINUED SEARCH BY MEDINA BOYS ENDS IN HAPPY REUNION, 1944

After trying to meet for months while in North Africa, Pfc. Richard Dujenski of 100 Laurel St. finally met Tech. Sgt. Walter F. Skomski of 101 Laurel St. while in Italy.

MEDINA BROTHERS MEET BY CHANCE IN HOME OF AUNT, 1944

The first meeting in three years of two brothers took place at the home of their aunt in London. Pfc. Gerald Wheatley had scarcely arrived at his aunt’s when in walked his brother David. Neither knew that the other had been granted furlough.

MEDINA MEN MEET AT CHURCH SERVICES IN EAST INDIES, 17 Jan 1945

Waiting in line to go to confession at a little Chapel in the Netherland East Indies, on the day before Christmas, Tech. Sgt. David V. Wasnock met Sgt. Herbert Whitmore. The two had been school-day friends.

Perhaps this is the most amazing story:

MEDINA MAN FINDS SHELTER IN HOME OF HIS ITALIAN KIN, 12 Feb 1945

“Forced to stop in a small Italian town overnight because the mobile equipment in which he was traveling broke down and finding that the home in which he sought shelter was that of his aunt and uncle, was the experience of Cpl. Andy Coppa of Medina” Needless to say, there was great excitement!