On September 27th, NH4Israel hosted Dr. Michael Miller of Goffstown, who gave a talk about Jewish veterans whose story would be in time for a Veteran’s Day article in The Reporter’s November edition. He recollected his life growing up in the military as an “Army Brat” (originally a derogatory term, now what children of military members jokingly call themselves) as well as anecdotes of his father’s and uncles’ service in the Second World War. Dr. Miller also retired as Colonel (Medical Corps-Flight Surgeon) from the NH Air National Guard at Pease Base, Portsmouth; so he narrated his own military story to narrate as well.
One of Dr. Miller’s uncles, Henry, found that it was easier for an American Jew to get into medical school in Germany than in the USA which had quotas for accepting Jews in the 1930s. Starting his medical education in Germany, Henry finished it in Switzerland after Germany stopped educating Jews. He joined the MA National Guard as a Medical Officer and was mobilized just after Pearl Harbor in December, 1941 and later saw action with the 1st Marine Division at Guadalcanal.
Dr. Miller’s father, Keven, and Keven’s brother Ted were drafted in 1943, although they were older and new fathers. Serendipitously they went through basic training together and were able to send photos of the pair back to an anxious family looking for news of their wellbeing. Because Keven had some college and could do shorthand and type, he was assigned to an office rather than an infantry unit and went from draftee to MSgt in a record 44 days.
One anecdote that is recounted by the Miller family and is worthy of a comedian’s punch line is the episode when Sergeant Keven Miller received a call from a finishing school close by his base in Alabama. The school was interested in having young men come to a dance with their belles. The school’s headmistress requested Sergeant Miller to “be sure not to send any Jew boys”. Sergeant Miller dutifully obeyed and sent a busload of African American soldiers!
After the War, Sergeant Miller decided to make the military a career and was assigned to various US Embassies in the Defense Attaché Office, completing his career as an ROTC instructor at Penn State. During this time, young Michael Miller went to schools in the Capitals where his father worked and experienced no anti-Semitism.
After Dr. Miller’s talk, an Israeli-American in the audience looked back at some of his experiences in the IDF and with Dr. Miller noted both similarities and differences in the functioning of the Israeli Reserve forces and the American Reserve Units and National Guard.
More lectures and educational films on Israel are planned for the 2017-2018 season. Keep in mind NH4Israel’s second annual springtime run-jog-walkathon race in Derry, again for the benefit of Hadassah Hospital in Israel. Find out more about NH4Israel and sign up for email updates on guest speakers and hosted events at NH4Israel.org.
With the exception of holiday conflicts and summer break, NH4Israel has again begun hosting talks with refreshments at Manchester’s Temple Israel (TIM) at 6:30PM on at least one Wednesday each month. If other venues and weekdays are scheduled, word of the change will be publicized (generally emailed) in advance, as well as posted on the calendar of events at NH4Israel.org. NH4Israel guest speakers address current issues surrounding the state of Israel as well as historical analyses of topics such as the Diaspora, Jew-hatred, and Zionism.