715-392-7151
Don’t Call Me ‘Sammy’

Don’t Call Me ‘Sammy’

by Clyde Annala

The origin of Uncle Sam is uncertain, but the persona has been around since the War of 1812.  The “Uncle Sam” of today was created by magazine illustrator James Montgomery Flagg, first appearing in public July 6, 1916.  Over 4,000,000 copies of his iconic “I Want You” poster with a bearded, finger pointing, Uncle Sam were produced during World War One.

This image was extremely popular with the public and Americans started calling their soldiers ‘sammies’, or ‘Sammy’, a nephew of Uncle Sam.  The name caught on.  In July of 1917 General Pershing, commander of the American forces, reported French civilians calling his soldiers ‘sammies’.

In the Twin Ports, a daily paper, the Duluth News Tribune, started a campaign called Sammie Backers, urging older men to “adopt” a soldier to support with mail and small gifts.  It seemed America’s troops were destined to be known as ‘sammies’ until word got out through letters and chinwag that the troops hated it.

“Don’t call me ‘sammy’”, they wrote.  Nor did they want to be called yanks, especially the southern soldiers, despite public popularity of the name as celebrated in the song Over There with its patriotic proclamation that the yanks are coming.  What the soldiers fancied was “doughboy.”  That moniker seems to have been started by a populace movement among their ranks.

Doughboy is another obscure name, probably originating during the Mexican War when American infantry ended a day’s march covered in white road dust.  There is a lot of speculation on the origin of doughboy and its connection with the American military, but no one knows for sure.  Perhaps British and French troops got the last word, claiming the Americans are called doughboys because they were needed in 1914 but didn’t rise until 1917.

Well, rise they did.  Some 4,800,000 of them.  They won the war, and Americans welcomed their doughboys home, sammy all but forgotten.  The doughboy of World War One left a legacy that proudly stands alongside the “GI” of World War Two and Korea, “grunts” of Vietnam, and modern day “joe” fighting the war on terrorism.

Bee Keeping after WWI

Bee Keeping after WWI

For almost two years, the American World War 1 soldier battled a bitter war in Europe.  He saw traumatic injuries and death on a scale seldom seen before.  Many veterans came home with limbs missing and physical scars.  Others suffered from a new psychological phenomenon referred to as “shell shock” and had a very difficult time adjusting to life in mainstream America.

The government did not ignore these damaged men, but looked to find a gratifying occupation for them.  Beekeeping was one answer.  It was considered a good option because the beekeeper typically works alone, at a slower pace, and has a major contribution to society through the products from the hive.  To this end, the Government developed vocational training for veterans in beekeeping to help them integrate back into society and earn a living.

Today, similar programs are still at work to partner veterans with beekeeping ventures.  One of these programs through the University of Minnesota offers free workshops to veterans to promote the benefits of beekeeping.

Big Band Dance

Big Band Dance

Saturday, February 25, 2017

6:00pm-9:00pm

 

Swing to the sounds of the big bands.  Music is provided by the Esko High School Jazz Band.  Dancing instructions compliments of Samantha Weller, UMD/Duluth Swing Dancing Club

Admission is $5.00 per person with a family cap of $25.00

Tickets sold at the door

Snacks and soda are available for purchase

Camp Bong

Camp Bong

FOR THE KIDS!

Camp Bong is an event for children grades 2 through 6. Children will camp out in our museum and enjoy a number of activities including getting behind the wheel of a P-38 fighter plane. Camp Bong is March 31st and space is limited. Register Today!

 

2017 High School Essay Contest

2017 High School Essay Contest

In a historic press conference on April 7, 1954 President Eisenhower alluded to a “Falling Domino Principle” in which he explained the strategic importance of Vietnam in Southeast Asia. He related that if it fell into the hands of the communists, soon after the rest of the region would fall. This announcement laid the foundation for the United States involvement in Vietnam. Looking back some sixty plus years, The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center asks the question:

 “Was the United States effective in deterring the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia as a result of our presence in Vietnam?”

Remember to be original and creative in your essay writing.  Center staff will read and evaluate all essays.

 

Awards:

  • The top essay will receive a Grand Prize of $250.
  • A $50 cash prize will be awarded to the First and Second Runner-Up.
  • Three honorable mentions will receive consolation prizes.
  • Winning essays will be posted on the Center’s web site. The honorable mentions will be listed on the web site.

 

Eligibility:

  • Contest is open to all students in grades 9-12 in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
  • Your essay must be original and 500 words or less. Only one essay per student may be submitted.
  • Essays may be emailed to the Education Outreach Coordinator at the Bong Historical Center

Deadline is Friday, April 28th, 2017 at 5:00 pm.

Further guidelines, formatting requirements, and submission instructions.