• At Armed Forces Day 2019 Devens Museum Spotlights Country’s Three Critical Times

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    April 30, 2019

    TRAINING AT FORT DEVENS DURING 1972. Photo by Jim Phillips. 

    At Armed Forces Day 2019 Devens Museum 
    Spotlights Country's Three Critical Times

                Ft. Devens Museum?s annual celebration of Armed Forces Day this May 18th focuses on three critical times for this country as well as for the U.S. Army.

    Doors open at 10 a.m. and visitors are invited to attend three separate programs during the day at the Museum, located at 94 Jackson Road on Devens. Visitors are welcome also to browse through displays from the Museum?s collection, participate in a raffle for some significant prizes, converse with others interested in military and local history, and enjoy light refreshments until closing time, 4 p.m.

    One program, set for 2 p.m., explores the effect of the flu epidemic upon the soldiers, nurses, and doctors assigned to Camp Devens, as World War I was winding down in 1918. The program is a follow-up of the Museum?s May 17th dedication at Rogers Field of a plaque in memory of those who lost their lives in the epidemic at this cantonment. University of South Carolina History Professor Emeritus Marcia G. Synnott will tell the story of this plague as it affected those at Camp Devens. Also part of this program, Professor Linda Hixon of Worcester State University will give details of her project involving high school and college students in discovering the stories of the large number of victims of the 1918 epidemic in the Worcester area. Professor Hixon has spoken before at the Museum about another history project involving college students in finding out about the lives of those listed on a Worcester monument who had died in World War I.

    At 11 a.m. the Museum hosts three different perspectives on the Vietnam War. Screened will be a video of an interview made at the Museum some years ago with Vietnam veteran Jim Phillips, who served as an officer in two mechanized infantry units and then returned for another tour of duty in Vietnam as a pilot in an assault helicopter unit. Next, in person, Vietnam veteran Jack Saball of Groton will give his impressions of the war and of how the country has treated veterans of this war since. Following him, Shawn Driscoll, a graduate student in history at University of Massachusetts-Lowell specializing in Vietnam history, will give his views on ?new avenues and the renewed importance for teaching the Vietnam conflict to the contemporary student population.? Too often history teachers have to express the attitude that the class will take up that war ?if we get to it.? (The Museum?s emphasis on the Vietnam War continues June 15th when a group of Vietnam War re-enactors spend the day at grounds adjacent to the Museum. Some will engage in a panel discussion on Vietnam in the Museum lecture hall and, in another presentation, a Vietnam helicopter pilot will tell his experiences in the war.)

    Major General (Retired) Bruce Zukauskas will present the Museum?s third program, to start at 12:30 p.m. at the Museum. He will give an ?Overview? of the U.S. Army, discussing ?Today?s Army and Its Challenges.? The General was with the 3rd Infantry Division in Germany and the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg while serving in the Active Army 1973-1979 and later in the Army Reserves he served as deputy commander of the 94th Regional Readiness Command at Fort Devens.

    The Fort Devens Museum is located on the third floor at 94 Jackson Road, Devens and is wheelchair accessible. The museum?s regular hours are: Tuesdays, Fridays, and the 3rd Saturday of each month, each from 10 AM to 3 PM.  This Open House is open to the public, but donations are much appreciated so that we may continue to offer these special events.

    Fort Devens Museum
    94 Jackson Road, Suite 305
    Devens, MA 01434

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