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Abilene, Kan. - The Eisenhower, Roosevelt, and Truman Presidential Libraries are proud to present our inaugural emerging scholars symposium to commemorate D-Day. Scheduled the first week of June, this virtual symposium focuses on specialized topics related to the Allied effort during World War II. The 2021 theme is unsung heroes and lesser known subjects.

Following each presentation, we feature an intimate conversation during a scholar spotlight to learn more about each presenter.

Presentation: 10 a.m. (central time) | Scholar Spotlight: 11 a.m. (central time)

Tuesday, June 1: Hannah Palsa
Presentation Link:
Children and Dogs for Defense
Dogs for Defense formed in 1942. The organization convinced owners to donate their pets for military service. American children wrote letters to donate pets, and saved allowance money to purchase their dogs a military rank through the War Dog Fund. Children’s literature and popular movies about war dogs explained how dogs were used in the war effort and why they were needed. This presentation will examine how children understood and engaged with the Dogs for Defense organization during the United States’ involvement in World War II.

Wednesday, June 2: Jorden Pitt
Presentation Link:
Flight Neuroses in World War II
Many flyers feared they were cowards because of their mental illness in World War II. Adding to the men’s anguish, officers often agreed with this label because the airmen did not evince the masculine qualities necessary to represent the Air Forces. Officers declared that sufferers “lacked moral fiber” and “intestinal fortitude.” Ultimately, this stigmatization of psychological distress in the Army Air Forces exposes a link between broader gender concerns about masculine fortitude and mental health.

Thursday, June 3: Kendall Cosley
Presentation Link:
How D-Day Shaped GI Joe
War reporters captured the danger, action, and perseverance of the GIs who secured the beaches on D-Day, yet their contributions often go unacknowledged. This presentation will explore the experiences of war correspondents who witnessed the efforts of the Allied troops. Adding their stories into the narrative of D-Day will demonstrate how the reporters depicted and solidified the iconic image of the tired, dirty, and war-hardened GI who endured in the face of great odds.

Friday, June 4: Amanda Hess
Presentation Link:
Flight Nursing in WWII 
Necessitated by truly global conflict, a highly-specialized sub-field of the military nursing profession was successfully integrated into the Medical Air Evacuation mission during World War II. This presentation will examine the history of the flight nurse specialty from its civilian roots to its incorporation as a key element of the Medical Air Evacuation Squadrons and the institutional roadblocks that mass air evacuation would overcome to become one of the most successful advancements in military medicine. 

About the Eisenhower Presidential Library

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum is one of 15 Presidential Libraries operated by the National Archives and Records Administration. Presidential Libraries promote understanding of the presidency and the American experience. They preserve and provide access to historical materials, support research, and create interactive programs and exhibits that educate and inspire. Public programs and exhibits at the Eisenhower Presidential Library are made possible in part through the generous support of the Eisenhower Foundation. To learn more, visit