Tuesday, July 29, 2008

History Lesson for today -- The Bonus Army

It's funny how things you haven't ever heard of can become important to you in odd ways.

Last night as I was watching Keith Olbermann, he mentioned briefly that yesterday, July 28, was the anniversary of the burning of the tent city of World War I veterans in Washington D.C. by the army (under the command of General George Patton) at the command of Herbert Hoover.

I heard him say it, but it didn't fully "click" until later in the evening.

We've taken to watching a show on PBS on Monday evenings that's called The History Detectives. Last night they did a whole thing about The Bonus Army.

The federal government had promised them a bonus -- the crash of 1929 and the depression that followed left many of them jobless, homeless and penniless -- they wanted to be paid

So a group of them traveled from Oregon to Washington DC to lobby congress

Hoover considered them to be a threat to public order, and when 2 of them were shot in a "riot" on July 28, 1932, he ordered his active army to evict them from Washington (no wonder Hoover was so soundly defeated!)

The fellow on the right side of this picture is my grandfather.

He was a World War I veteran. (this picture was taken after the war when he was in college at John Brown College in Arkansas)

Suddenly, I'm interested in that bonus those veterans were supposed to be paid.

Was he entitled to it (I'm thinking he must have been)

Did he get it?

Did it make a major difference in the lives of my grandparents?

Or was it just a nice "bonus" since he was a civil servant all through the depression (he worked for the post office)

So now I'd like to know how to find out

I'll be starting by asking my mother

1 comment:

Bear Naked said...

Thanks for the history lesson about the *Bonus Army.*
I had not heard of them before.
Isn't it strange as we age, how
history is much more
interesting than when we were younger.
Perhaps it is because we are a part of modern history now.

Bear((( )))