Honoring a brother...
Dr. Roger E. Anderson, a member of the Historical Society for nearly 40 years, recently designated the Society as the beneficiary of his IRA. His future gift will be used to create a special Legacy Fund in memory of his brother William L. Anderson. William served as a medic with the famous 34th "Red Bull" Division in North Africa and Italy, and was killed on January 17, 1944 at Monte Casino in Italy while giving first aid to a wounded comrade.
William wrote regularly to his family from 1941 until 1944. In 2007 as part of the Society's Minnesota's Greatest Generation Project, Dr. Anderson donated his brother's war letters to the Society. This wonderful collection provides insight into the experiences and the hopes and dreams of a young Minnesotan serving far from home. He writes about extensive periods of boredom and the hardships of military life; the excitement, fear, and horrors of war; and his desire for a quick end to the conflict and his return home. The letters are also filled with many references to his hope of attending medical school after the war and "the medical career I dream of" as a surgeon. In August 1943, he wrote to his mother "Each day passes and I keep dreaming of being a good doctor someday. I don't worry about getting killed; I worry about getting a hand blown off."
Because of a significant gap in their ages, Dr. Anderson did not know his brother very well. Reading his brother's letters in 2008, Roger developed an understanding of his brother's life, a deep appreciation for the ultimate sacrifice that he made, and a desire to do something special in his memory.
In 2009 Dr. Anderson approached the Society about developing a special memorial for his brother, preferably at Historic Fort Snelling. The timing was nearly perfect, as the Society's recently completed long-range plan for Historic Fort Snelling identified a significant expansion of the medical history program as a major opportunity to be developed. The William L. Anderson Military Medical History Fund will permanently endow a variety of activities at Historic Fort Snelling that will help people understand and appreciate the important role that military medical practitioners have played in developing our medical system.
The Society is deeply grateful to Dr. Anderson for his long-time relationship with the Society and the very special legacy he has created in his brother's name.
For more information about Minnesota's Greatest Generation and the landmark exhibit at the History Center please visit us at http://www.mnhs.org/people/mngg/index.htm.