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Bonus Army Stabbed, Gassed, Camp Burned On Thursday, July 28th

July 28, 2016

On July 28, 1932 (the same day as this one) the Bonus Army (a rag-tag group of WWI soldiers who marched to Washington, D.C. to secure compensation) was fired on, gassed, stabbed with sabers, and had gasoline thrown on their encampment before it was set afire. President Hoover had ordered the first attack on a small group clustered on Pennsylvania Avenue but ordered General Macarthur not to cross the Anacostia Bridge where the larger array of soldiers were camped.  Dwight Eisenhower will be at his side.

It was the first time, but not the last, that the general disobeyed a direct command from a president. Hoover will watch the flames reach skyward from the White House.

Every presidential election—as summer heads to fall and the November balloting–I read this two-volume work. It is a most compelling read, with a rich narrative, a truly grand epic tale.  The book starts with the Bonus Army.

I first read it as a teenager and recall being in the back seat of Dad’s greenish Buick asking Mom how to pronounce “Chappaquiddick”.  In 1988 I read part of it at the Luxemburg home (Kewaunee County) of the state representative I was working with for his re-election. (We won.)  The last two elections I read large portions in the blue Adirondack chairs on our lawn. The book always makes me think and ponder about so much and leaves me hopeful for the future. 

It might be worth your time this election season, too.

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