The war ended with the disintegration of the German war effort and the unconditional surrender of the Empire of Japan by 1945. World War II left the political alignment and social structure of the world significantly altered. While the United Nations was established to foster international cooperation and prevent future conflicts, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the Cold War, which would last for the next forty-six years. Meanwhile, the United States’ strong advocacy of the principle of self-determination accelerated decolonization movements in Asia and Africa, while Western Europe began moving toward economic recovery and increased political integration.
African-Americans as slaves and free blacks served on both sides during the war. Black soldiers served in northern militias from the outset, but this was forbidden in the South, where slave-owners feared arming slaves. Lord Dunmore, the Royal Governor of Virginia, issued an emancipation proclamation in November 1775, promising freedom to runaway slaves who fought for the British; Sir Henry Clinton issued a similar edict in New York in 1779. Over 100,000 slaves escaped to the British lines, although possibly as few as 1,000 served under arms. Many of the rest served as orderlies, mechanics, laborers, servants, scouts and guides, although more than half died in smallpox epidemics that swept the British forces, and many were driven out of the British lines when food ran low. Despite Dunmore’s promises, the majority were not given their freedom. Many Black Loyalists’ descendants now live in Canada.
In response, and because of manpower shortages, Washington lifted the ban on black enlistment in the Continental Army in January 1776. All-black units were formed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts; many were slaves promised freedom for serving in lieu of their masters; another all-African-American unit came from Haiti with French forces. At least 5,000 African-American soldiers fought as Revolutionaries, and at least 20,000 served with the British.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Asian Americans began to attend U.S. military academies, and the first Asian Americans were awarded the Medal of Honor. World War I saw Asian Americans serving as “non-whites” in the National Army. After World War I, Asian American service fell into obscurity until World War II when significant contributions by Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and Korean Americans were documented.
With the desegregation of the U.S. military in 1948, segregated Asian American units ceased to exist, and Asian Americans served in integrated armed forces. Asian American combatants in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts were awarded the Medal of Honor, and Asian Americans have continued to serve until the present day.
Hispanics and Latinos have participated in the military of the United States and in every major military conflict from the American Revolution onward.Tens of thousands of Latinos are deployed in the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, and U.S. military missions and bases elsewhere. Hispanics and Latinos have not only distinguished themselves in the battlefields but also reached the high echelons of the military, serving their country in sensitive leadership positions on domestic and foreign posts. Up to now, 43 Hispanics and Latinos have been awarded the nation’s highest military distinction, the Medal of Honor (also known as the Congressional Medal of Honor).
American Indians have participated with distinction in United States military actions for more than 200 years. Their courage, determination, and fighting spirit were recognized by American military leaders as early as the 18th century.
Many tribes were involved in the War of 1812, and Indians fought for both sides as auxiliary troops in the Civil War. Scouting the enemy was recognized as a particular skill of the Native American soldier. In 1866, the U.S. Army established its Indian Scouts to exploit this aptitude. The Scouts were active in the American West in the late 1800s and early 1900s, accompanying Gen. John J. Pershing’s expedition to Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa in 1916. They were deactivated in 1947 when their last member retired from the Army in ceremonies at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. Native Americans from Indian Territory were also recruited by Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and saw action in Cuba in the Spanish-American War in 1898. As the military entered the 20th century, American Indians had already made a substantial contribution through military service and were on the brink of playing an even larger role.
Ask about Americans Indians serving in the U.S. military service and World War II generally comes to mind with the Navajo code talkers or perhaps Marine Cpl. Ira Hayes (Pima) in the photo of the U.S. flag raising at Iwo Jima. But the history of Native Americans in military services stretches in the past and the present much farther and deeper.
Basically from the time of European arrival on this continent, the indigenous people have taken sides and taken up arms in conflicts – though not always supporting the United States’ cause and sometime in conflicts against other tribal nations.
In 1947, A. Philip Randolph, along with colleague Grant Reynolds, renewed efforts to end discrimination in the armed services, forming the Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service and Training, later renamed the League for Non-Violent Civil Disobedience Against Military Segregation.
Truman’s Order expanded on Executive Order 8802 by establishing equality of treatment and opportunity in the Armed Services for people of all races, religions, or national origins.
The Order’s operative statement is:
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin. This policy shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency or morale.
The order also established a committee to investigate and make recommendations to the civilian leadership of the military to implement the policy.
July 4, 1776, the United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of America—Independence Day—is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.
We celebrate the 238th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the beginning of American democracy.
“Salute to the Military“
President Obama and First Lady Michelle will celebrate the Fourth of July by hosting military heroes and their families with a Seventh Annual “Salute to the Military” USO Concert at the White House. The celebration includes a barbeque, USO concert and a view of fireworks on the South Lawn.
8:10 PM EDT: USO Concert
8:45 PM EDT President Obama Delivers Remarks at a Fourth of July Celebration
9:15 PM EDT: National Capital fireworks display
First Lady Michelle Obama to Travel to the United Kingdom and Italy First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to London, Milan, and Vicenza from June 15-21, 2015. Accompanying Mrs. Obama on this trip will be her mother, Mrs. Marian Robinson, and daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama. As part of the Let Girls Learn initiative and following her recent visits to Japan and Cambodia, the First Lady will visit London where she will meet with students and discuss how the UK and the U.S. are working together to expand access to girls education around the world – supporting adolescent girls in completing their education. As part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, the First Lady will lead a Presidential Delegation to the Milan Expo 2015 representing our steadfast commitment to a healthier nation. The Presidential Delegation will tour the USA Pavilion, “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet,” and participate in activities to lift up efforts to support healthier families and communities. And as part of the Joining Forces initiative, Mrs. Obama will visit members of the military and their families stationed in Vicenza, Italy. The First Lady will also visit cultural sites in Venice before returning to Washington, DC.
First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama travel to London
Tuesday, June 16th
First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama arrive in London
Stanstead Airport, London, England
Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama visit with students
Mulberry School for Girls, London, England
First Lady Obama delivers remarks on the ‘Let Girls Learn’ Initiative
Mulberry School for Girls, London, England
First Lady Michelle Obama hosts a roundtable discussion with representatives from the Research for Equitable Access and Learning Centre, Peace Corps, former prime minister of Australia Julia Gillard and students on expanding access to girls education around the world
Mulberry School for Girls, London, England
First Lady Michelle Obama meets with British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha
Downing Street, London, England
First Lady Michelle Obama meets with The Prince Henry of Wales
Kensington Palace, London, England
Wednesday, June 17th
First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama travel to Milan
First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama arrive in Milan
First Lady Obama meets with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President in the name of Congress on members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.
Members of all branches of the armed forces are eligible to receive the medal, and there are three versions; one for the Army, one for the Air Force, and one for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The Medal of Honor is bestowed upon an individual by the passing of a Joint Resolution in the Congress; and is then personally presented to the recipient or, in the case of posthumous awards, to next of kin, by the President of the United States, on behalf of the Congress, representing and recognizing the gratitude of the American people as a whole.
William Shemin was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, Oct. 14, 1896. During his teenage years, Shemin played semi-pro baseball. He graduated from the New York State Ranger School in 1914, and went on to work as a forester in Bayonne. After the United States entered World War I, Shemin enlisted in the Army, Oct. 2, 1917. Upon completion of basic training at Camp Greene, North Carolina, he was assigned as a rifleman to Company G, 47th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, American Expeditionary Forces, in France.
During Shemin’s service, he participated in the Aisne-Marne Offensive, where he took shrapnel and was wounded by a machine gun bullet that pierced his helmet and was lodged behind his left ear. Following his injuries, Shemin was hospitalized for three months and later received light duty as part of the Army occupation in Germany and Belgium until he completed his tour.
Born William Henry Johnson in Winston Salem, North Carolina, Johnson moved to New York as a teenager. He worked various jobs – as a chauffeur, soda mixer, laborer in a coal yard, and a redcap porter at Albany’s Union Station. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, June 5, 1917, and was assigned to Company C, 15th New York (Colored) Infantry Regiment – an all-black National Guard unit that would later become the 369th Infantry Regiment.
The 369th Infantry Regiment was ordered into battle in 1918, and Johnson and his unit were brigaded with a French army colonial unit in front-line combat. Johnson served one tour of duty to the western edge of the Argonne Forest in France’s Champagne region, from 1918-1919.
For his battlefield valor, Johnson became one of the first Americans to be awarded the French Croix de Guerre avec Palme, France’s highest award for valor.
The 369th Infantry Regiment, formerly known as the 15th New YorkNational Guard Regiment, was an infantry regiment of the United States Army that saw action in World War I and World War II. The Regiment consisted of African-Americans and African Puerto Ricans and was known for being the first African-American regiment to serve with the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. Before the 15th New York National Guard Regiment was formed, any African American that wanted to fight in the war either had to enlist in the French or Canadian armies. The regiment was nicknamed the Harlem Hellfighters, the Black Rattlers and the Men of Bronze, which was given to the regiment by the French. The nickname “Hell Fighters” was given to them by the Germans due to their toughness and that they never lost a man through capture, lost a trench or a foot of ground to the enemy. The “Harlem Hellfighters” were the first all black regiment that helped change the American public’s opinion on African American soldiers and helped pave the way for future African American soldiers.
Two Medals of Honor and many Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded to members of the regiment. The most celebrated man in the 369th was (then) Pvt. Henry Lincoln Johnson, a former Albany, New York, rail station porter, who earned the nickname “Black Death” for his actions in combat in France. In May 1918 Johnson and Pvt. Needham Roberts fought off a 24-man German patrol, though both were severely wounded. After they expended their ammunition, Roberts used his rifle as a club and Johnson battled with a bolo knife. Reports suggest that Johnson killed at least four German soldiers and might have wounded 30 others. Usually black achievements and valor went unnoticed, despite that fact over 100 men from the 369th were presented with American and/or French medals. Among those honors Johnson was the first American to receive the Croix de Guerre awarded by the French government. This award signifies extraordinary valor. By the end of the war, 171 members of the 369th were awarded the Legion of Honor or the Croix de Guerre.
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.
The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May.
I have started a petition on the White House ‘We The People” webpage to:
Award The Medal of Freedom to The Culper Ring, Gen Washington’s Revolutionary War intelligence group.
There should be a Medal of Freedom or a postage stamp issued in recognition of the efforts of The Culper Ring, General Washington’s Revolutionary War intelligence group based in Setauket, Long Isand. You may have read the Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring (2007) or seen AMC’s Turn: Washington’s Spies. Until I discovered the findings of Mr. Rose’s research I thought that America became it’s own nation when independence was declared on July 7, 1776 by the Continental Congress. There real facts are that General Washinton and his troops were still fighting (and loosing to embedded British forces).
The Culper Ring consisted of a close group of childhood friends whose covert efforts was a major factor in helping General Washington to defeat the British forces in America. The Culper Ring members appeared to be regular towns people going about their everyday lives, but they were also observing and reporting the movements of the British troops. They risked their lives to give General Washington timely and important information so that he could strategize, anticipate and eventually defeat the British forces in 1779.
I would really appreciate it if you could help me to get the word out. I have until June 30 to get 100,000 signatures in order for it to be reviewed by the White House. Until the petition has 150 signatures, it will only be available from the following URL and will not be publicly viewable on the Open Petitions section. If USPS can feature cartoon character stamps shouldn’t we have a postage stamp featuring real American heroes who helped to form The United States of America?
The Ring’s task was to send messages to General Washington about the activities of the British Army in New York City, the British headquarters and base of operations. The members of the Ring operated mostly in New York City, Long Island, and Connecticut. The Ring’s covert operations started in about late October 1778 and continued through the British evacuation of New York in 1783, but its heyday was between 1778 and 1781.
The Culper Ring provided valuable information to General Washington including that the British planned a surprise attack on the newly allied French forces under Lieutenant General Rochambeau at Newport, Rhode Island before the French could fully recover and set up defenses after their arduous sea journey to America; that the British planned to counterfeit American currency on the actual paper used for the Continental dollars, prompting the Continental Congressto retire the bills; that British Major General William Tryon’s raid in Connecticut in July 1779 was a diversion to induce Washington to divide his forces so British Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton could attack them piecemeal; and that a high ranking American officer, soon shown to be American Major General Benedict Arnold, had been plotting with British Major John Andre to surrender the garrison and to turn over the vitally important American fort at West Point, New York on the Hudson River to the British.