Military Irony

March 20th, 2007

Need further evidence of Brown’s non-interest in the military? Look at the photo in the January/February issue depicting last fall’s Veteran’s Day ceremony held at the (small) memorial beside Soldiers Arch (“Ceremony,” Elms). Unless a considerable crowd stood off camera, excluding the honor guard I count twenty-one spectators. This out of a faculty and student body of several thousand. There will always be Brunonians—men and women—who will serve the nation in uniform. And there will always be those who can’t or won’t understand why. Bless ’em all, say I.

Ironically, though, Brown harbors its own military secret: the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, one of the world’s premier collections of militariana. It includes art, musical scores, original manuscripts, and more than 6,000 miniature lead solders. The collection dates from the early Renaissance to the present. It lurks on the top floor of the John Hay Library, and although scholars, undergraduates, graduate students, writers, filmmakers, and military types from around the world know and use it, the Brown community’s interest is practically nil. How do I know? Until my recent move to Utah, I was a member of its board.

J. Roy McKechnie ’55

Ogden, Utah

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Related Issue
March / April 2007