At the Museum of Veterans and Military History in Vilonia, there are many books—small books, large books as well as pamphlets. Most subjects are regarding life in the military. At least one pamphlet, however, has information for soldiers departing. Entitled "Going Back To Civilian Life," it is an issue from the War Department dated November 1944.
Inside are subjects such as "What to do before you leave the camp or hospital," mail, records and discharge certification, job counseling, Red Cross, legal assistance and mustering out pay, return of Army clothing and wearing the uniform after discharge.
In the pamphlet, soldiers were told they are entitled to wear their uniform from the place where they were discharged to their home provided they returned within three months of the discharge date. Also, veterans were told they could wear their uniform on occasions of public ceremony such as in parades or other meetings of veterans or military events. In those events, they were told they could wear the uniform of the highest rank or grade held during the war.
It informed all honorably discharged veterans they were entitled to receive mustering out pay. If you have served less than 60 days, you receive $100; if you served 60 or more days in the continental United States, you receive $200. Those who served 60 days or more overseas or in Alaska were set to receive $300, the pamphlet says. However, soldiers receiving a base pay of more than $200 per month were not eligible.
Under death gratuity, it says "When a member of the armed forces dies while in service, and not as result of his own misconduct, the widow receives a cash payment equal to six months’ pay."
A foreword, the pamphlet also says "Our country was founded by men and women who were willing to fight for its freedom. It has remained free because, when the need arose, new generations were willing to fight and, if necessary, to die for what they loved. Our liberty is a precious thing. By your service in this war, you have done your share to safeguard liberty for yourself, for your family and for the nation. You have helped to preserve it for those generations yet to come."
In referring to the assistance provided to soldiers after discharge, it says "They are yours. You have earned them, just as you have earned the respect and gratitude of your fellow citizens."
On that note, Veterans Day is on the horizon and a time to show respect and gratitude to the men and women who have served as well as to those still serving.
The museum will hold a 5K Fallen Soldier Honor Run/Walk at 10 a.m., Nov. 4. You may pre-register or sign up that morning. A patriotic program will follow at 11:30 a.m., Nov. 4.
The program will include guest speaker Jerry Ashby (a veteran and with the Patriot Guard), the Vilonia High School Ceremony Band, the Kenneth Heer family singing and the Parade of 100 Flags posted by 100 veterans for fallen soldiers. After the Veterans Day program, at about 12:30, the Boy Scout Troop 78 will hold a flag retirement ceremony. All events are open to the public and seating is available.
Located at 53 N. Mt. Olive in Vilonia, the museum hours are 9 to 4 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays. Also, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., on the first Sunday of the month. Group tours are available by appointment. No charge to tour. For information, call 501-796-8181.