Past Event

The Star-Spangled Banner and the Struggle that Forged Two Nations

A Road Scholar Program by Lee Murdock

Lee Murdock The Star-Spangled Banner and the Struggle that Forged Two Nations In the summer of 1812, President James Madison declared war against Great Britain. Why? The British navy had been seizing or impressing cargo and crews of the American merchant fleet on the high seas. British agents had been encouraging Native Americans to rise up in rebellion against white American settlers. American interests coveted the vast expanse of the Canadian frontier, which remained in Britain’s possession. The War of 1812 contributed significantly toward defining the identities of the United States and Canada. The many songs composed during the war and its aftermath — including our own national anthem — express a broad range of Native American, white American, British, and Canadian perspectives. They demonstrate that perceptions of war and its repercussions can vary widely, depending on one’s experiences of them. Skilled guitarist and singer Lee Murdock performs several of these songs and provides commentary about them based on his extensive research. Cyndee Schaffer The Journey to Mollie’s War: WACS and World War II Members of the Women’s Army Corps — WACs — were the first women other than nurses to serve overseas in World War II. Cyndee Schaffer’s mother, Mollie Weinstein Schaffer, was one of them. Drawing upon excerpts from Mollie’s letters written home during the war, this presentation provides a romantic, yet frightful, glimpse into the life of a woman in uniform during this crucial time in history. This program details Mollie’s experiences from basic training in Florida in October 1943 to the dramatic moment when the Statue of Liberty came into view upon her return in November 1945. It traces the footsteps of the women who served in Europe, following Mollie and her fellow WACs who were stationed in London, England, before D-Day and during the post-D-Day German buzz bomb attacks. The WACs were transferred to Normandy two months after D-Day and then to Paris after its liberation by the Allies. Finally, they traveled to Frankfurt, Germany, as part of the Army of Occupation and witnessed first-hand the devastation of that country before returning to the United States . This presentation invites contemplation of the vital and varied roles that women have fulfilled in the American military.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Heidi Kolk, 815-589-3160.