June 2 Veterans Legacy Program Virtual Program: History of Women in the US Military

American Women's Voluntary Services members, ca. 1942. World Telegram photo by Bill Schiff. (Library of Congress)In partnership with the National Cemetery Administration’s Veterans Legacy Program, we have been pleased to offer free professional development sessions in the spring of 2022 focusing on different aspects of America’s Unseen Soldiers and how to effectively bring that content back to the classroom. As part of this series, we are now offering two virtual sessions and a Veterans Legacy Program On Demand video module.

June 2, 2022, 5:00–7:00 p.m. ET

Women in Service across American Military History

Scholar: Professor Lynn Dumenil (Occidental College)
Virtual Tour Site: Massachusetts National Cemetery
Master Teacher: Gena Oppenheim

Women's Army Corps, 6888th Battalion, during World War II, 1945. (National Archives)

Professor Dumenil’s lecture will focus on American women’s service in World Wars I and II, and the social values that shaped that service. During World War I, very few women—almost all of them White—were enrolled in the US military, but women volunteers and civilian workers were highly visible and crucial to war mobilization. World War II ushered in significant changes: the US government actively recruited defense industry workers as well as nurses and other personnel for the US Armed Forces. Women of color found far more opportunities for work and service than in the first world war. Yet traditional notions of women’s role in the family persisted, as did widespread gender and racial discrimination. The presentation will conclude with a brief discussion of women in the military in the twenty-first century.

The pedagogy portion of the workshop will focus on a lesson plan designed for secondary-level students about the shared experiences of women who served their country during various conflicts. Many of them are honorably laid to rest in National Cemeteries across the country. Over the course of this lesson, students will analyze and assess an affidavit, a diary entry, and a letter by American women who served in the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. The objective is to have students recognize the similarities and differences in the experiences of three women who served. Then students will examine what common threads connected these women across a century and why they decided to serve despite many obstacles.

Learn more and register here.

June 14, 2022, 6:00–8:00 p.m. ET

American Indian Soldiers across American Military History

Scholar: Professor Tom Holm (University of Arizona)
Virtual Tour Site: National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona
Master Teacher: Alona Whitebird

Professor Holm's lecture will focus on World War II combat veteran Ira Hayes (Akimel O'odham) and how his life story in many ways reflects the experiences of other Native veterans. The lecture will include a discussion of Hayes’ early life on the Gila River Reservation as well as his combat years, return to civilian life, and legacy in the form of military monuments and numerous media portrayals.

The pedagogy portion of the workshop will focus on a lesson plan designed for secondary-level students focused on analysis of primary sources in order to understand some of the reasons American Indians chose to serve in the US Armed Forces despite the way they were treated by the US government. Many of these men and women have been honorably laid to rest in National Cemeteries across the country. Students will develop their understanding of this topic by carefully examining the firsthand accounts of American Indian Veterans, each with their own unique perspective and motivations.

Learn more and register here.

Veterans Legacy Program On Demand: The Soldier’s Experience

A new professional development video series explores the soldier’s experience in American military history. This free on-demand video module includes five lectures with various scholars of American history and two pedagogy sessions with Gilder Lehrman Master Teachers. Topics covered include the experiences of Revolutionary War soldiers; Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War and the years following; African American soldiers in the Civil War, WWII, and the Vietnam War; and army nurses during the Vietnam War. This is a free program. Learn more here.