Sacrifices made by the veterans in the Spanish American War and those who died aboard the USS Maine remembered
Shelby County Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8904 and the Auxiliary conducted a wreath laying at the Veterans Memorial on Friday morning on the grounds of the historic 1885 Shelby County Courthouse.
The observance commemorated the sacrifices made by the veterans of the Spanish American War and those who died aboard the USS Maine, according to Larry Hume, VFW Post Quartermaster who served as master of ceremonies.
“The Spanish-American War lasted a little less than four months, April 21 – Aug. 13, 1898, and ended Spain’s worldwide empire,” he said. “It ended with America easily defeating Spain and signaled the United States emergence as a world power.”
The blowing up of the battleship USS Maine in Havana harbor on Feb. 15, 1898 with the loss of 266 crewmen and marines in essence was the start of the war, Hume said.
The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on Dec. 10, 1898, which established the independence of Cuba, gave Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States and allowed the U.S. to purchase the Philippines Islands from Spain for $20 million.
The brief war cost the United States $250 million and 3,000 lives of which 90 percent perished from yellow and typhoid fever and other infectious diseases.
“The Veterans of Foreign Wars traces its roots back to these veterans who founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service,” Hume said.
There was no medical care or veterans’ pension for them, and they were left to care for themselves. These formed organizations would become what is now known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.
For a photo gallery from the Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, event, please click on the link below: