OPL commemorates Veterans Day, Nov. 11, with programs for all ages

OPL commemorates Veterans Day, Nov. 11, with programs for all ages

John Ready will talk about his experiences and those of many other veterans returning to civilian life after serving in war-torn Iraq at Oneida Library on Veterans Day. Nov. 11, at 1:30 p.m.

Oneida Public Library opens its doors for veterans and civilians alike Nov. 11, Veterans Day, for three programs about American soldiers at war: historian Tom Henry lectures on “1917: America Goes to War” at 11 a.m., a special Family Super Saturday celebrates “Animals That Went to War” also at 11 a.m. and war-veteran John Ready speaks to “A Soldier’s Life after Iraq” at 1:30 p.m.

Starting off the OPL’s year-long centenary commemoration of America’s entry into World War I, historian and popular lecturer Tom Henry will take to the lectern at 11:00 a.m. to “examine the role of the United States in the Great War,” as he put it, “from the home front to the battle front, a role that changed the world and America’s place in it.”

Henry lectures extensively in the Greater Syracuse area on American constitutional, military, political and presidential history, particularly at the Oasis Institute of Syracuse. He spoke last March at the OPL on women’s suffrage and the 19th Amendment, while in previous years he has given illustrated lectures at the library on contested presidential elections, “forgotten” presidents, the U.S. at the outbreak of World War II, the Battle of Gettysburg and the Union’s prisoner of war camp in Elmira.

For the Nov. 11 edition of Family Super Saturday at 11 a.m., OPL’s Youth Services Coordinator Megan Gillander has devised a creative Veteran’s Day program that will introduce both children and their parents to the many roles that animals played at the front in France during World War I.

“Horses, donkeys, dogs, monkeys and more were mascots, messengers and guards during the war,” Gillander said. “To learn which animals went to war and how they helped the soldiers, we’ll be having stories, crafts and even live animals to show and tell their stories.”

With the cooperation of the Cornell Cooperative Extension and the 4-H Club, the Frink family will be bringing to the library’s front lawn their chestnut mare called Sabre’s Classic Dancer (her barn name is Sassy) and their donkey Ashley.

Retired U.S. Army Major John Ready, who served in war-ravaged Iraq in 2003-04, will speak at 1:30 p.m. at the OPL on Veterans Day about “A Soldier’s Life after Iraq,” a timely reminder of how combat veterans cope when returning to civilian life.

Ready, a native of Oneida and a 1986 graduate of the State University of New York at Cortland, was commissioned that same year from Cornell University Army ROTC. He then served in the Army National Guard and Reserves for 21 years.

In 2003, Ready was deployed as a civil affairs officer in Iraq. There, with some 20 soldiers under his command, he was in charge of coordinating the repair of mosques, medical clinics and schools around Baghdad International Airport. Ready’s memoir of his service in Iraq, “Does My Suicide Vest Make Me Look Fat?”, was published in 2013. It also includes accounts of how the war affected him and how he coped back in civilian life.

Retiring in 2007, Ready has gone on to earn a master’s in information security and assurance. Currently, he is pursuing Counter-terrorism Studies provided by the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

Based on his own experiences and from the perspective of many combat veterans, Ready will address in his Oneida Library talk the physical, psychological and emotional challenges that American soldiers returning from Iraq have faced and continue to endure in readjusting to civilian life.

For more information, stop by the Oneida Library, 220 Broad St., or call (315) 363-3050.

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