Thursday, October 24, 2013

Veterans Day Event in Buchanan

This year's Veterans Day program sponsored by the Buchanan American Legion features a look at another aspect of World War II history. While American servicemen and women were fighting overseas, this area was playing host to hundreds of German prisoners of war.

Retired Western Michigan University professor Howard Poole will speak three times in Buchanan as part of this year's Veterans Day activities. Poole will speak at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 at the Buchanan American Legion, at 7 p.m. that night at Buchanan High School and the next morning at 9 a.m. to students at BHS.

Poole is a Sister Lakes resident and retired from Western Michigan in 2004. Since then, he has researched a variety of topics including the history of the Sister Lakes area and what happened when German POWs were brought into Southwest Michigan to work on area farms during World War II.

Poole's research has uncovered how area farms used German prisoners of war for farm labor during the war and what life was like for the half million German POWs shipped to the United States during that time period. He has also found information about a Japanese American internment camp in Southwest Michigan.

Past Veterans Day programs have given people the chance to hear about other aspects of World War II history with speakers coming in to talk on topics ranging from the role of women in the war and the service of African Americans and Native Americans. The legion has also brought in survivors of major battles and massacres to speak on Veterans Day.

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