Rural Missouri - January 2020 - 33

THE FRONT PAGE
OF THE FRONTLINES
Bloomfield: The birthplace of
America's military newspaper

Jim Martin, board president of The Stars And Stripes Museum and Library, and Administrator Laura Meyer display recent
editions of Stars and Stripes. The museum is dedicated to preserving the paper's history and Bloomfield's military heritage.

by Zach Smith | zsmith@ruralmissouri.coop

M

ilitary heritage is fundamental part of the story
of Bloomfield, and it's honored around every
corner. From 23 historic markers to the Missouri State Veterans Cemetery to its place on
the U.S. Grant Trail, the town's past is on full display for
the history buff and casual tourist alike.
Locals hold that the town changed hands more than 20
times during the Civil War. During that first visit by Union
troops, history was in the making with the publication
of a simple newspaper, The Stars and Stripes. However,
The Stars And Stripes Museum and Library at the southern edge of town celebrates more than those four pages.
Through an impressive collection of military journalism,
the museum pays greater homage to the people whom the
newspaper serves. Exhibits follow the American military

forces and their battles overseas from the 1860s to the
present day.
Founder Jim Mayo says the museum is especially important for educating students about history in an immersive way where the classroom textbook can't help but fall
short. He motions to a replica of the battleship USS Missouri encased next to a photo of the Pearl Harbor National
Memorial.
"There are so many youngsters who don't know what
World War II was all about, so we point out this picture to
them and explain: 'this is where the greatest war the world
has ever known started, and that's where it ended.' "
Although the museum opened in 1998, its beginning
dates to Nov. 9, 1861, when 10 soldiers of the Eighth
Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry under Col. Richard J.
Oglesby published the first edition. It provided information
on the Union army's activities, ads for medicines and
JANUARY 2020 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

33


http://www.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Rural Missouri - January 2020

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