American Civil War. World War I. World War II.
Korean War. Vietnam War. Iraq War. Global War on Terrorism.
Many of those who served in the halls of the Senate of Pennsylvania, as Members or Librarians, served in one of these conflicts. In the United States Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, Pennsylvania National Guard, and Pennsylvania Air National Guard, these brave individuals deployed all over the country and the world to protect the citizens of this nation.
This exhibit honors three Senate individuals who earned our nation's highest honor--the Medal of Honor--for their military service. In the Civil War, Captains John C. Delaney and William E. Miller fought with such valor they received Medals of Honor for heroism at Dabney's Mills and Gettysburg. Following in their footsteps during World War I, Colonel Joseph H. Thompson led a tank attack near Apremont, France and received the Medal of Honor in 1925. The two Medals of Honor on display, an un-awarded, modern medal and a 1904-style medal, represent the casts that would have been received by each of these featured individuals. Along with featured military decorations are official portraits, reproduced and original photographs, and transcribed interviews: all highlighting their service.
While Delaney, Miller, and Thompson are the most highly decorated of those who are featured here, they are far from the only Members who have served. Indeed, former Senators and their family members have also served in World War I (WWI) and World War II (WWII). Surviving primary sources like photographs, government documents, and physical artifacts connect individuals such as Major Charles A.P. Bartlett and former Senator Freeman Hankins to the conflicts. A Model 1917 helmet for example, like the hand-painted helmet on display, would have been worn by Charles A.P. Bartlett as he commanded a machine gun battalion in WWI. The military flag, presented to the family of former Senator Freeman Hankins for his service in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during WWII, acts to honor the veteran's memory.
In the spirit of tradition, whether rooted in patriotism, family values, a passion for service, or all three, Members also engaged in modern military conflicts including the Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq War, and the Global War on Terrorism. Past Senators, Senator Jack E. Wagner for example, served his nation and uplifted his comrades on and off the battlefield. Following his service in Vietnam, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart on display, he founded Pittsburgh Hires Veterans and serves on a number of nonprofit boards focused on assisting veterans. Present Senators, like Senator Devlin Robinson, served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2001 to 2005 and fought in Nasiriyah, Al-Kut, Baghdad, and Fallujah in the very uniform on display. Uniforms and military mementos from other Members, including Senator Ryan P. Aument, Senator Cris Dush, former Senator John Pippy, and now-Congressman Guy Reschenthaler, connect the lives and legacies of the Members to each conflict.
In the Pennsylvania Legislature, those same individuals fought for another sacred cause--that of their constituents—through their representation of Senatorial Districts in the Pennsylvania Senate. These public servants, in addition to serving their nation, spent years representing the people of the Commonwealth as Senators and Senate Librarians. Join the Senate Library in honoring the memory of the many Members of the Senate of Pennsylvania whose lives were distinguished by service to both the people of the Commonwealth and the nation.
The Library of the Senate extends heartfelt gratitude to the Members and their families for their service, as well as their willingness to share it with all who visit Pennsylvania's Capitol Building. This exhibition is presented by the Library of the Senate of Pennsylvania with collaboration from the Capitol Preservation Committee, the Pennsylvania State Museum, and the Pennsylvania House Archives.