At the Museum of Veterans and Military History in Vilonia, there are many magazines dealing with features regarding the military. One such bears an advertisement for a can of Spam.
Because it was easy to transport in large quantities and had a long shelf life, tons of Spam was sent to the troops fighting overseas. Though there were other luncheon meats made by other companies, all looked alike and began to be referred to as Spam by the troops. It wasn’t long before troops were seemingly being served Spam three times a day, seven days a week. Soldiers, upon returning home, said they were sick of it and never cared to see a can again.
The joke was that “Spam is a ham that didn’t pass its physical.” After the war, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower wrote a letter to a retired Hormel executive commenting on the company’s famous product. “During World War II, of course, I ate my share of Spam along with millions of other soldiers. I’ll even confess to a few unkind remarks about it—uttered during the strain of battle, you understand. But as former Commander-in-Chief, I believe I can still officially forgive you your only sin: sending us so much of it.”
Here is a WWII poem written about the canned meat. The author’s name is unknown but sounds like a soldier’s take on it.
Now, Jackson had his acorns
And Grant his precious rye;
Teddy had his poisoned beef —
Worse you couldn’t buy.
The doughboy had his hardtack
Without the navy’s jam,
But armies on their stomachs move —
And this one moves on Spam.
On another matter, the museum continues to take nominations for its Faulkner County Veteran of the Year. Nominations must be submitted by Feb. 28. It doesn’t matter if you have submitted your favorite veteran in years past, you are encouraged to nominate him or her again. Judging will be done by an independent agency. Information needed includes the following:
Name of nominee, address, branch of service veteran served in and date. Also, locations where served if possible. You are encouraged to send supporting documentation. Also, photographs are welcome. How do you know this veteran? What is your connection to him/her? Why do you believe it’s important this veteran is recognized as Veteran of the Year? What makes this veteran deserving of this honor? Provide as much background on this individual as possible. Photos and newspaper clippings are also encouraged. Also, how does this person improve the lives of others?
Name of the person submitting the nomination and phone number.
The completed nomination form may be mailed to Museum of Veterans and Military History, P.O. Box 668, Vilonia, Arkansas 72173. Or, drop off at the museum, 53 N. Mt. Olive, in Vilonia.
The museum hours are 9 to 4, Fridays and Saturdays. Also, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., on the first Sunday of the month. Also, group tours are available by appointment. No charge to tour.