Rural Missouri - January 2020 - 34

services of the period and no small amount of jests aimed
at the enemy. The opening page targeted Confederate
commander Missouri State Guard Brig. Gen. M. Jeff
Thompson, saying his "rebels showed a good pair of
heels in their retreat from Bloomfield, if they did not
show good stout hearts." A mock
advertisement extolls the virtues
of pills known to cure the dread
disease of "secesh."
"When you read what those soldiers wrote, it gives you a perspective of what they were thinking and
feeling and what was important to
them," says the museum's administrator, Laura Meyer. "When I read
the 1861 issue I wish I could go
back and be a fly on the wall to see
what was going on."
All told, The Stars and Stripes
in its original form would account
for five issues. The promised "next issue" by the Bloomfield
editors never materialized. Other versions appeared sporadically in Louisiana and Arkansas over the course of the
war. America's military newspaper lay dormant for more
than 50 years, but it was again called into service - this
time during World War I. General of the Armies John J.

Pershing, a native of Laclede, Missouri, requested a weekly
newspaper be published for the American Expeditionary
Forces fighting in France. The paper ran for 17 months
before going dormant again. When World War II arrived,
the paper quickly became a daily, spread from theater to
theater and has remained in print
ever since.
Today's paper, shortened to
Stars and Stripes, is a Department
of Defense-authorized news outlet
but remains editorially independent. From the frontlines to
military bases around the world,
the paper in its many editions is
read by an estimated 1 million
people each day. Every issue is a
link in the chain from Bloomfield's
history to today's military service
members around the world.
The museum receives the daily
edition of the paper and the library boasts every issue published, along with thousands of books on military history
that are available for use by researchers. The screening
room pays tribute to southeast Missouri's five recipients
of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Displays feature
photographs and artifacts of war, alongside the cameras,

"We want people
to be interested in
history and to get
excited about it."
- Laura Meyer

Below left: Alongside numerous issues of The Stars and Stripes throughout its 159-year history, The Stars And Strips Museum
and Library also features exhibits of solider uniforms. Below right: One of four known copies of the Nov. 9, 1861 edition.



Rural Missouri - January 2020

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