–submitted by Jessika Kasten
Fellow Rotarian CHRIS KOLAKOWSKI, Director of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, provided members and guests with history and context around the Taiwan Straits conflict.
The roots of the conflict go back to the Chinese Civil War in the late in 1940’s between the Nationalists and communists. These two sides are still at war today, as there was never a resolution. A delicate balance exists because both sides deeply believe in “One China.”
Kolakowski did not prognosticate the future but discussed some current pressures, (e.g. economic slowdowns, Covid and the Russo-Ukraine war) that could upset the balance.
If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/pq80XOvFhfA.
Every veteran is a story, Rotarians were told May 19 by Chris Kolakowski, Wisconsin Veterans Museum Director. The Wisconsin Veterans Museum is an educational activity of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. Kolakowski’s latest book is “Last Stand on Bataan.”
Kolakowski told how military service ripples in families beyond an individual service member. Their research finds many children emulating their parent’s example over the past century. Sometimes this legacy of service extends into grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Just as some families run a commercial enterprise over generations, for others the “family business” is the U.S. military.
Chris overviewed some facts about the museum: There are over 26,000 artifacts in the collection; there are over 2,000 cubic feet of archives; there are over 2,600 interviews in the oral history collection; and they have over 150,000 photographs. Many members may not be aware of so many events having a Wisconsin connection, so Chris encourages members to visit the museum to view these collections. The museum typically has over 90,000 visitors each year.
The museum has been holding events virtually and in-person including Curators Conversations twice a month, movie night, and they also hold events for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
Here is a link to the museum’s website stories: https://wisvetsmuseum.pastperfectonline.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search_criteria=family&searchButton=Search
Our thanks to Chris Kolakowski for his presentation this week and to Valerie Renk for preparing this review article. If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/XjWRO5oYllk.