The Spanish-American War lasted a little less than four months, April 21st – August 13th, 1898 and ended Spain’s worldwide empire. It ended with America easily defeating Spain and signaled the United States emergence as a world power. The blowing up of the battleship USS Maine in Havana harbor on February 15th, 1898 with the loss of 266 crewmen and marines in essence was the start of the war.
The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898 which established the independence of Cuba gave Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States and allowed the US to purchase the Philippines Islands from Spain for $20 million. The brief war cost the United States $250 million and 3,000 lives of which 90% perished from yellow and typhoid fever and other infectious diseases.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars traces its roots back to these veterans who founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service. There was no medical care or veterans’ pension for them, and they were left to care for themselves. These formed organizations would become what is now known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.
In observance of the sacrifices made by the Veterans of the Spanish American War and those who died aboard the USS Maine, Shelby County Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Auxiliary will conduct a wreath laying at the Veterans Memorial on Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. As always the public is invited. Call Larry Hume, 598-2976 for more information.