Maybe you’ve seen the commercial from a chain steakhouse saying how proud they are of our veterans and to show how proud, they’re offering vets a free fried onion and beverage. Well, some might question whether a free full meal wouldn’t show even more pride, but at least it got me to thinking about Veterans Day and Mississippi’s military history. Until 2001, many people might not have realized how vital a role our own Camp Shelby plays in the training of our military services: not just the National Guard, but also reserve units from around the country come for training, many of them now on the their way overseas to Iraq or Afghanistan. According to wikipedia:
[Camp Shelby] is the largest state owned training site in the nation, has a long history of serving the country and is considered by many as “a national treasure.” During wartime, the camp’s mission is to serve as a major, independent mobilization station of the United States Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center is the largest reserve component training site, covering 136,000 acres (550 km2), allowing up to battalion level maneuver training, Gunnery Table 8-12, excellent FA Firing Points and a wide range of support facilities.
This is not a recent development. Camp Shelby was opened in 1917 for use in World War I, acquired by the State of Mississippi in 1934 for use by the National Guard, and mobilized on a massive scale in World War II. Not much remains from this early period, but two structures on the base are listed on the National Register, a WWI ammunition magazine, and the building known as the White House, built in 1938.
As I was thinking about Camp Shelby, I remembered this really cool set of postcards I bought a few years ago. They’re a small set of 20 cards, clearly meant to be sent as a set to family and friends during World War II. They measure about 2.5 by 1.5 inches each, with black and white photos on the front and some fairly extensive prose on the reverse. I learned alot about the Camp and about World War II from these cards, and I figure one good way to honor veterans is to reprint them here, at twice their original size. Because of the long text associated with the photos, I can’t do my normal slide show, so I’ll be posting a group for the next three days.
Admittedly, this is not a bloomin’ onion or a beverage, but I hope it’s still an acceptable way to show how proud I am of those who have served our country in war and in peace.