Unidentified by name, certainly not anonymous

Kathleen McCully, Executive Director
Isanti County Historical Society

In previous updates, I have referenced many things that have not changed over the years. This week, in honor of Veteran’s Day, I have been looking at the salvaged negatives donated by Carlson Photography Studios. These photos were taken in the early 1900s, up until the late 1950s. During these times, two wars occurred and we have found many photos of military personnel, either alone, in a family photo, or a wedding photo. So while we have the photos, these people remain unidentified to us today—but it doesn’t really matter—and here’s why.

Since the Revolutionary War, paintings and drawings, and then photos, have been made in honor of our military personnel. There are tin types still circulating from the Civil War of Union and Confederate soldiers. Then, as now, these are precious mementos of a loved one, in the prime of their life—especially if they made the ultimate sacrifice and never returned home. A lost son, brother, grandson, nephew, or sweetheart—one thing that has never changed is the fact that our citizens, male and female, have willingly “answered the call” for over 200 years, first to win our freedom, and from then to protect it.

While all of the WWI vets are now gone, there are many vets living who fought during WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam War, and the two Iran wars. Then, there are all the military personnel who have ever so faithfully served during peacetime, as my husband did for 6 years in the Navy, who were ready to protect our freedom at anytime during their hitches. In the last two wars, our National Guard members were called into active duty to serve, and did so without question. This is another thing that has not changed—dedication to home, family, country and freedom.

As a mother, I know that I would not hesitate to put myself in front of my child to save its life, even to sacrifice my life to save theirs. This is the maternal instinct. Do those that serve in the military have an instinct that is as strong, perhaps even stronger than that of a mother? Undoubtedly so, as evidenced by their willingness to step forward and put themselves in front of their country, their homes, their freedom, even to sacrifice their life to save others. This has not changed and I doubt if it ever will.

While the photos I present today from the Carlson collection are unidentified by name, they by no means are anonymous. Their service to their fellow countrymen is to be honored not only on the 11th of November, but on every day of every year for all time to come. If you know a veteran, whether a relative, friend, or stranger that divulges their service during a friendly conversation, please take time to extend your hand and personally thank them for their service. Also, let us not forget the sacrifices of the military families at home during their soldier’s tour of duty and provide support to them when needed. Saying thank you is one thing that has not changed. It is within our power to make sure that this honor, thanks, family support, and recognition will never change!

If you recognize any of the servicemen in these photos, please let us know. We are continuing to scan the negatives and reveal the faces of past residents and military personnel and will be publishing them as appropriate in the future. This being Week Seventeen after the fire, we are preparing to receive all the freeze-dried documents from Belfor in Texas. They will then be organized, logged, processed and their condition assessed. The building slab is being prepped to withstand a Minnesota winter, and the last of our hand-dried items will be brought to Oakview for cataloging and processing as well. So, our mission of preserving Isanti County’s history has not changed, and from the looks of all the work ahead, you can be sure that it will not anytime in the near future.

If you want to support ICHS during our marathon journey in recovery and rebuilding, donations are greatly appreciated and can be made by mail, at our website, or directly at Cambridge State Bank. For all other inquiries, visit www.ichs.ws, follow us on Facebook, call us at 763-689-4229, email at [email protected] or drop us a letter at 1700 E. Rum River Drive S., Suite K, Cambridge, MN 55008. We are open by appointment only at this time.