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Free lecture by author Dave Kenney at ITOW Veterans Museum on Sept. 15

On Wednesday, September 15 at 7 p.m., author Dave Kenney will speak at the ITOW Veterans Museum. His book, "Minnesota Goes to War," records the state's role in the most significant event of the 20th century, World War II. By telling the poignant stories of those who stayed behind-in support of the men and women overseas-this book is a tribute to the sacrifices made by ordinary people in extraordinary times. These stories honor Minnesotans who faced the war with equal amounts of determination and dread, courage and fear in places as far away as the Pacific and Europe and as close as our own hometowns.

With much original research including photographs, letters, and interviews with veterans and their families, author Dave Kenney chronicles the uniquely Minnesotan response to war, from the starvation study at the University of Minnesota to the human centrifuge project at Mayo; from the Minneapolis and St. Paul rival scrap drives to the use of German POW farmhands in northwestern Minnesota; from those who eagerly supported the war to those who protested our nation's involvement.

Dave Kenney is author of the award-winning "Northern Lights: The Stories of Minnesota's Past," the state history textbook, and of the forthcoming book "Twin Cities: A Pictorial History" (from Minnesota Historical Society Press). He holds an MA in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Missouri and is a writer, television producer, and communications consultant. He previously worked for CNN/Atlanta and his writing has appeared in Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine, "Minnesota Monthly," and "Minnesota Law & Politics."

This event is the first in the Fall Event Series of History, Heritage and Heroes produced by the ITOW Veterans Museum in cooperation with the Perham Area Public Library. These programs are free and open to the public and have been funded in part through a partnership between Minnesota Regional Public Libraries and the Minnesota Historical Society, made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008.

Brainerd, 1941: The first people began arriving at the depot at about eleven-thirty p.m. The mercury in the thermometer read 20 below zero, and it was still dropping... A few minutes before midnight, the men the crowd had come to see marched into view - 82 of them, all dressed in khakis, responding on cue to barked commands. . . . The conductor called "all aboard." The band struck up "The Star-Spangled Banner." The men fell in and marched into the passenger cars. As the crowd surged forward, the men inside the train raced to the windows... Hands reached out and grabbed each other. Final kisses were stolen. The train pulled away, slowly gathering momentum, and disappeared into the night.

For many in Company A, 194th Tank Battalion, the part-time National Guardsmen who had trained at Camp Ripley, that was their last look at Brainerd. Their fate and the lives of the people they left behind comprise only one of the stories in this compelling chronicle of Minnesota's war efforts during World War II.

From "Minnesota Goes to War"