November 11, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice which ended World War I–The Great War. Ceremonies commemorating this event have been taking place across the United States and in Europe. The Great War impacted nearly every community in the United States but has often been considered the “Forgotten War.” Today there are resources online which document many of the individual stories of the war. Links to the stories of Illinois families can be found on this page of the United States World War I Commission website. Mount Prospect was just over a year old on the Armistice Day in 1918, but Mount Prospect’s citizens felt the impact of the war as well. Relics of that time can be found at the Library’s Illinois Digital Archives page. Among them are a uniform jacket and a gas mask. After the war Mount Prospect veterans formed VFW Post 1337 and the American Legion Post 525. The names of the women who were charter members of the American Legion Auxiliary of Post 525 may be seen here. Veterans in both organizations continue to be active in the community today and do much to honor those who served in the past and do so now. Never forget.
Fold3 has added new U.S. states to its collection of WWII Draft Registration Cards! The collection (via the National Archives) now also includes Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, West Virginia, Utah, Alaska, Wyoming, and Virginia. The cards in this collection are registration cards for the draft and do not necessarily indicate that the individual served in the military. You can read more here.
Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day, was first set as a U.S. legal holiday to recognize the end of World War I. This “armistice” took place on November 11, 1918. In 1938 legislation was past to formally dedicate November 11 to the “cause of world peace.” With the urging of veterans organizations, the U.S. Congress amended the Act of 1938, replacing “Armistice” with the word “Veterans.” On June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to honor all American veterans. In 1968 Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. This move was highly unpopular so in 1975 the annual observance of Veterans Day was moved again to November 11. A more complete history of this holiday can be found here at the website of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Helping veteran and other service members find ways to connect to benefits is one of the services provided by the reference staff. Thanks to Executive Order 13426 (issued in March 2007) this previously somewhat confusing and laborious task got a whole lot easier. Order 13426 established the President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors, which recommended the creation of a web portal that would provide service members, veterans, their families and authorized caregivers with a single sign-on, central access point to clinical and benefit data. This portal, now known as eBenefits, has arrived and is a great resource to research, find, access, and, in time, manage their benefits and personal information.
Veterans and service members can create an account and access their current benefits status, download their DD-214, search by location and topic for employment and education opportunities designed specifically for veterans and service members, and more. The site offers detailed tutorials on how best to use it, broken down by the type of user (e.g. veteran, current service member, related family). It even shows you how to connect with other vets via Facebook and Twitter! Without a doubt, if you or someone in your family is a veteran or active service member, it’s well worth taking a look at eBenefits, either on your own or at the library with a reference librarian—make an appointment today and let us help you navigate this comprehensive resource!
The Illinois Veterans History Project was launched by Secretary of State Jesse White to create a permanent record of the names and stories of Illinois war veterans and civilians who served our state and country during war, so that their contributions will be not be forgotten.
To participate in the Illinois Veterans History Project, veterans or their family members can obtain an Illinois Patriots Information Form online, at driver services facilities or public libraries throughout Illinois.
Veterans or their family members can complete this form and share their remembrances on the back or on a separate sheet of paper. Those who participate will receive an Official Certificate of Appreciation for their participation in this project.