Upcoming Veteran’s Day initiative at Oxford Lane Library highlights local military service members

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Throughout November, the Oxford Lane Library will be honoring local military service members to celebrate Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11.

Visitors to the library will be greeted by a Stars of Freedom board in the lobby. Everyone is free to put up their own stars for family members who served in the military, and library staff is also providing a space for visitors to write letters to active service members.

Brad Spurlock, manager of the Smith Library of Regional History which is located on the second floor of the Oxford Lane Library, said he’s getting involved in the programming, too. On Nov. 9, he’ll lead a program called “Oxford on the Battlefront,” sharing stories about locals who fought in World War II in all branches of the military. The event will run from 6-7 p.m. in the Oxford Lane Library and is open to the community for free.

For Spurlock, the event is personal.

“I’ve been interested in history and specifically military history since I was a kid, but I grew up listening to stories from my grandfather and my grandmother,” Spurlock said. “My grandmother was an English civilian who survived the Blitz during World War II, and she was a war bride. My grandfather was from Butler County and married her overseas.”

In 2021, Spurlock offered a similar program to coincide with the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, and he offered a different program last year to teach people what records are available on local World War II veterans. This year, he said he expects more people to show up since it’s within one of the library’s main programming seasons, and he’s built up the history offerings over the last two years.

Oxford has its own local history with World War II, including operation of a naval radio training school and a flying school, Spurlock said. The Nov. 9 program will focus specifically on overseas veterans, though.

“A lot of times, I think you see stories about the home front during World War II,” Spurlock said. “When I developed this program, I just wanted to put in some information about the stories from the actual battlefront, as well, that were experienced by these individuals.”

Some of the veterans Spurlock will talk about survived the war, while others died in action. He said he’s designed the program to include a wide variety of servicemen, including one local teacher who served in the last push on the Western Front.

“I’m trying to cover some representative examples from all of the branches of service and from all the theaters of the conflict that I could find people to represent,” Spurlock said. “There’ll be stories from airmen on the U.S.S. Wasp in the Pacific.”

For more information on programs at the Oxford Lane Library, residents can visit lanepl.org for details on upcoming events.

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