The Friends of the Yellowstone Gateway Museum announce their upcoming fall speaker series, History that Matters: Anniversaries of 2018. The four bi-monthly programs begin on September 26 and continue through November 7. Topics include Montana’s women veterans of World War I; Sedition and free speech during World War I; the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness; and the Crow Fair and Apsaålooke culture. The free programs are held at 7:00 pm.
Author Edward E. “Ed” Saunders gives the first program, Knapsacks and Roses, Montana’s Women Veterans of World War I, on Wednesday, September 26, 7:00 pm. On the centennial year of America’s victory in World War I, his book and program tells the epic true stories of intrepid and heroic Montana women who served in uniform in that terrible upheaval: mostly as nurses in the Army Nurse Corps. Saunders highlights Elizabeth “Sandy” Sandelius who was born in Cokedale, Montana, west of Livingston in 1893. She was commemorated for heroism under fire in Cohan, France in 1918.
During World War I over 200 of these courageous and indomitable women from the big sky country served stateside in crowded, understaffed, diseased-filled base hospitals, and overseas in war-torn France, enduring terrible and deadly battlefield conditions. They served an indifferent federal government denying them equality as the men. After the war, the women came home alone, unheralded, and mostly forgotten. They faced another battle—a battle for recognition. Knapsacks and Roses showcases these women veterans using their words and through official reports of the day, shining the light of honor on these women—and all America’s women veterans of World War I—richly deserved and long overdue.
Saunders, is a retired lieutenant colonel, U.S. Army, and ground combat veteran of the Persian Gulf War. Reared in the American West, Saunders directed the effort to create the Yellowstone County [Montana] World War I Women’s Memorial. He previously wrote and published, Sentinels, Yellowstone National Cemetery, From Prairie to Hallowed Ground, a Photographic History. He and his wife live in Laurel, Montana. Saunders will be signing his book after the program.
On Wednesd ay, October 10 author Clem Work, retired University of Montana School of Journalism professor, gives program entitled Darkest Before Dawn: Sedition and Free Speech in the American West. On Wednesday, October 24 David Kallenbach, Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation executive director, gives program “The Call of the Wilderness—40 years of the Absaroka-Beartooth.” And the final program on Wednesday, November 7 is co-presented by Shane Doyle, educator and member of the Crow (Apsaålooke) Tribe, and John Zumpano, local photographer, entitled “Crow Fair: Celebrating 100 Years of Apsaålooke Culture.”
All programs are held at 7:00 pm at Park Photo, 115 S. Main St., Livingston. The speaker series is free, open to the public and refreshments are served. Doors will open at 6:30 pm.