The Forgotten War
Veterans day for me is a time to remember the sacrifices of all those who served in our military throughout our history. I have written about the Civil War, WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam as have many others, but the war that seems always to be forgotten is the Spanish American War.
It was a short war; April 1898 to August 1898. There is a debate (like Vietnam) whether the war was necessary and righteous. It freed Cuba from an oppressive Spanish rule, but it also made the U.S. similar to many European countries because we acquired ownership of the Philippines, Porto Rico and Guam. In all but title, these countries became US colonies.
Right or wrong we asked our people to fight this war and 3,549 men lost their lives. Another 1,600 were wounded. 2,900 of the deaths were caused by disease, not military action. Many, many more fought battles in Cuba, the Philippines, Porto Rico and Guam. We hear a lot about Roosevelt leading his rough riders up San Juan Hill, but not about the common soldiers, marines, and sailors who actually won the war. Over 100 Medal of Honors were awarded.
Four regiments of Buffalo Soldiers (African American Soldiers) were sent to Cuba and the Philippines after spending years fighting in the Indian wars. There were five Medals of Honor awarded to people in these regiments. By the way, they also fought in WW1, WW2, and Korea.
One thing the Spanish American War did was to make Europe take notice of this just over 100 year old country of ours. And they have been dependent on us ever since