Antique Memorial Day postcards are among the most evocative piece of vintage ephemera you can collect. With their elegant imagery mixing both patriotism and remembrance of those who died in service of this country, they are almost uniformly somber but almost uplifting at the same time. The postcards on display here mostly date from the first few decades of the 20th century, when the holiday was more often known as Decoration Day. That's due to its roots as a day to decorate the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers. Not coincidentally, these cards are heavy on the Civil War imagery.
Now here's a peach of a color photograph from the World War II era. It captures a training exercise for the U.S. Army at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Here we see six soldiers aiming their firearms at an unseen target, all the while in the shadow of a Medium Tank M3. Note the rather unique offset turret indicative of the M3 tank, which was discontinued at the end of 1942 in favor of the iconic M4 Sherman. Click for a larger version. I'm no firearms expert, but the soldier in the front left looks to be holding a Thompson M1 submachine gun with drum magazine.
“Making the Marines happy is service enough for me!” (Canteen Kate, St. John Comics, 1952)
The Normandy landings, codenamed Operation Neptune, were the landing operations of the Allied invasion of Normandy, in Operation Overlord, during World War II. The landings commenced on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (D-Day), beginning at 6:30 am British Double Summer Time (GMT+2). In planning, D-Day was the term used for the day of actual landing, which was dependent on final approval.
Here are some cool images taken during a Memorial Day parade in Washington, D.C., circa May 1942. As this was the first Memorial Day since the United States military officially entered World War II it likely took on extra significance. I'm no military expert so I can't identify any of the units in these photos. I'm assuming they're reserve units, but I could be wrong. There's a few shots in this gallery of what was referred to at the time as a Colored unit. Photography credit goes to Thomas McAvoy for Life magazine. (Click on the thumbnail for a larger version.)
In times of war, there are basically two ways for a combatant nation to fill the ranks of its armed services -- it can recruit volunteer soldiers or conscript (i.e. draft) them. The former is accomplished in any number of ways, one of which is the mass production of recruitment posters. As we approach our yearly Veterans Day remembrance, I felt a new gallery was in order, so here it is. Quasi-War (1798 - 1800) This is commonly thought to be a recruitment poster for the American Revolution, but the 11th Infantry Regiment (under Lt. Col. Aaron Ogden) referenced in the poster was not formed until 1798, when war with France loomed. For a full-resolution version of this image click here. American Civil War (1861 - 1865) Despite what you might see on Google, most Civil War re
Even if you're not a history freak like I am, you should take some time to acknowledge that today is a pretty big anniversary. Exactly 150 years ago today -- April 12, 1865 for the math-challenged -- that the American Civil War began when forces from the Confederate States of America (CSA) launched an attack on the Federal outpost of Fort Sumter in South Carolina. 34 hours after the battle began Union forces, under the command of Major Robert Anderson, surrendered to Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard's Confederates. Neither side suffered any casualties during the battle, although two Union officers died after a gun explosion during the April 14 surrender ceremony. Following the Union defeat President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteer soldiers for 90 days, as the scale of the Sout...
Here’s a fresh batch of some quality interweb finds I’ve come across over the last 7 days: A rundown of the 15 best Burger King ad campaigns by Crispin Porter + Bogusky: Long live the Burger King! (AdFreak) Tommy Shaw sits down for an awesomely candid and funny interview about his career in Styx. Hint -- it involves lots of drugs. (The AV Club) It came from Reddit -- the Good Intentions Axe Murderer / Dating Site Murderer Meme. (Next Round) Here's a less-than-memorable Budweiser slogan from 1922: "Stimulates the Appetite - Assimilates the Food." (Shorpy) You just know this couple owns every Meat Loaf album and knows all the words. (Awkward Family Photos) So how does Libya's air force compare to the coalition's? (National Post) A series of excellent "Historically Hardcor
This post was originally published on Veterans Day 2008, and has proven to be one of my more popular entries. So I'm bringing it back as my small tribute for this year. Originally known as Armistice Day, the first Veterans Day was celebrated on November 11, 1938 -- the 20th anniversary of the effective end of World War I. Starting in 1954 the scope of the holiday was expanded to commemorate all those who had fought and served for the United States. I don't have any stirring essays in me, so my small tribute to our armed forces is this collection of images portraying the history of major American military conflict. Thank you all for your service! American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) The Battle of Trenton (December 26, 1776) was a turning point in the American Revo