Thursday, Aug. 16 marks the beginning of a series commemorating our veterans, Kansans on the Front Lines, which continues Sept. 19 and culminates Nov. 12. Come to one or all three for a more well rounded picture of our military history. All speeches start at 7pm and are held in Marvin Auditorium in the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.
Part 1 weaves together research done by military historian Tad Pritchett for his book From Farm to Field with first-hand accounts of World War II from veterans who served in the European Theatre. The military historian has invited several guests including a Navy veteran who cleared mines on Omaha Beach, a POW and a tank driver. Additionally, a Belgium teenager will explain what it meant to Belgians to be freed from the Germans. This program will focus mainly on the Battle of the Bulge, a turning point in the war in Europe.
Part 2 focuses on the Cold War era. Pritchett takes you back to a time when bomb drills were common and shares snippets from his interviews with people who have lived under Communist rule.
Pritchett served 13 months in Vietnam starting in 1968. In Part 3, he shares his experiences in the war and after, as a Marine returning from Vietnam. “We never felt like we returned from war because we were outcast,” he said. Through the series, Pritchett hopes to convey the message that freedom is not something to take for granted because it is simply too easy to lose, he said.
As part of this Nov. 12 event, see military Jeeps, trucks, cannons, motorcycles and our men in uniform from 2-4pm in the library parking lot and rotunda. Talk with members of the Rolling Thunder Chapter of the Military Preservation Association and visit other booths.
In addition to being an author and military historian, Pritchet is also president of the Northeast Kansas Chapter of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge and serves on the Board of Directors of the Combat Air Museum.
The library will be closed on Veterans Day, November 11, and our Bookmobiles will not run. For other upcoming closed dates, see tscpl.org/about/library-hours.
The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is a landmark library, and features the Millennium Café, Chandler Booktique, the Alice C. Sabatini Art Gallery, meeting rooms, and free computer training, including Facebook classes.
Hours: Mon. through Fri. 9 am to 9 pm, Sat. 9 am to 6 pm and Sun. 12 pm to 9 pm.