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A Look Back: Battles and Wars

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By Jolene Hawkins

Looking back to the men and women that we will be remembering on Memorial Day, have you ever wondered about all the battles and wars?

The Revolutionary battle years were from 1775 to 1783.  It was also known as the American Revolution War, between the 13 North American colonies and British Empire. George Washington became the commander of the Continental Army. The battle went on for a total of seven years, with the major victory being at Yorktown VA, giving the colonies their independence from Great Britain.  Now we could form our own government and make our own laws.

June 18, 1812 found us in conflict again, as the United States and Great Britain fought over the British violations of the U S maritime rights. A note for you: during this time is when Francis Scott Key wrote the words to Star Spangled Banner.  He was not being metaphoric with the words as the rockets looked a bit like a giant bottle rockets with a long stick that spins in the air, attached to a cylindrical canister filled with gunpowder, tar and shrapnel.  The bombs bursting in air? They were 200 pound cannon balls, designed to explode above their targets. The war ended with the exchange of ratifications of the Treaty of Ghent, in 1815.  The last Veteran of the War of 1812, Hiram Silas Cronk, died in 1905, at 105 years old!

The Mexican War started 31 years later in 1846, when a Mexican cavalry unit attacked a group of U.S. soldiers in the disputed zone under the command of General Zachary Taylor.  By the end of the war in 1848, the Rio Grande, not the Nueces River, became the border for Texas and under the treaty, Mexico recognized the U.S. Annexation of Texas, and agreed to sell California and the rest of its territory north of the Rio Grande.

Twelve short years later, and the War between the States, or the Civil War, began.

In our area, there were several units that the men went into, the 154 NY Volunteers, 100th New York State volunteers, Co. F. of the 116th NYSV, the 9th Calvary, just to name a few.  Over 300 young men joined and fought.  Many of these young men came home to be buried; many were not shipped home at all.  All fought and should be remembered, as well as those that came home, lived a full life and died.

In 1898, The Spanish-American War was a conflict between the United States and Spain that ended the Spanish colonial rule in the Americas and resulted in the U.S. acquisition of territories in the western Pacific and Latin America.  It was during this time that Theodore Roosevelt and his 1st Volunteer Cavalry unit called the “Rough Riders” were first seen.

After the Spanish –American war came the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902). The Philippines were given to the United States.  President McKinley felt Germany would take over the Philippines if the United States did not.  Many Philippines wanted their independence, and the fighting began.

Next came  World War I, 1917 – 1918, also known as the War to end all Wars; World War II, 1941-1945; Korean War, 1950 – 1936; Vietnam War, 1964-1972; Namiban War, 1966 – 1990; Iran-Iraq War, Falklands War 1982, Tanker War 1984 – 1988, Gulf War 1991, to the Afghanistan War, which began after the attack on Sept. 11, 2001.

Throughout all the years, women were not able to join up and fight as the men did until after WWI.  They were, however, there to take care of the wounded men, write letters for them through organizations such as the Red Cross, transport the planes from the manufacturers to the military bases or where they were to be delivered, as civilians in WWII, entertain the soldiers through the USO, and later being able to join up and serve next to the males.  So on this Memorial Day, remember ALL of our family members who have served and are still serving to this day.

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