History Snacks

Remembering Our Military

Every year on the last Monday in May, we observe Memorial Day to honor and remember the men and women who have served in the military and died protecting our country. It’s a sad and serious day––but it can also be one when we can recall and celebrate memories of loved ones who sacrificed so we can enjoy the freedoms we have.

To help you get ready for the Memorial Day, we’ve chosen stories of the military from the National Archives.

Coca-Cola for Our Soldiers

We all know there’s nothing better than a cold Coca-Cola on a hot day, and according to history, American soldiers agree. In 1918, the Exchange Officer for the 55th Infantry Exchange at Camp MacArthur in Texas sent a letter to the Coca-Cola bottling company asking for more Coca-Cola for the soldiers. The letter states that without this tasty beverage, soldiers will have to admit defeat at the hands of “Enemy Heat & Thirst.” Give the soldiers their cola!

It’s National Poppy Day

Since World War I, red poppies have been a globally recognized symbol of the sacrifices made by members of the military. In many countries, red poppy pins are worn in November for Veterans Day. In the U.S., our tradition is a little different. We wear red poppies on Memorial Day to honor soldiers who have given their lives in service to our nation.

In 1946, President Harry S. Truman was presented with a poppy pin to wear on Poppy Day.

President Truman served in the military himself. He enlisted in the National Guard in 1905 and continued as a member of the military until 1917.

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From Black & White to Color

After giving you all that history on poppies, we want to make sure you have your own to show in honor of those who served our country. Get out your red crayons and markers to color this Clifford Berryman cartoon and patent for poppies from the Archives. Download and print below to add your red, white and blue artistic flare!

Suiting up for Land and Sea

During a famous operation in World War II called D-Day, the United States and our allies had to prepare for an attack that started at sea and ended on land. In this drawing from the National Archives holdings, you can see the specially designed outfits soldiers wore for swimming in the ocean and running on the beach. Want to learn more about D-Day? View the story of D-Day through gifs made with film from the National Archives.

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