January 8, 2024
“With Fire and Sword – The Bloody Fight at Bunker Hill”
Presented by James L. Nelson, multiple award-winning author and historian. The early days of the American Revolution were a time of confusion, with no real plan of action, no one in charge, and not even agreement as to what the fighting was meant to accomplish. It was into this uncertainty that British troops marched in April of 1775, only to be met, to their complete surprise, by stiff resistance at Lexington and Concord. A few months later, everything had changed. The mighty British army was holed up in Boston, and an American army had sprung to life and surrounded the city on three sides. But for those on the American side craving action, and seeing the potential for disaster, it was not enough to keep the enemy bottled up. Something had to be done. And the place to do that was Bunker Hill. Jim Nelson will discuss the circumstances that led to the first planned battle of the American Revolution, and the extraordinary history of one of this country’s most famous fights.
February 12, 2024
“Kamikaze, Sacrifice, Survival, and Memories: The USS Bunker Hill, Okinawa, May, 1945”
Presented by Bob Begin, US Army Veteran and Naval Historian
By May of 1945, American forces were fighting on Okinawa, the last stop on the long road before the Japanese Homeland. With the Japanese unleashing Kamikaze pilots, the ferocity of the resistance was unprecedented. On the morning of May 11, 1945, the Bunker Hill would be hit by 2 Kamikazes within seconds. Massive fires, explosions, and chaos raged throughout the ship. Despite huge loss of life, the ship would survive but never return to combat. This is a tale of courage, sacrifice and memories that were never forgotten. It will focus on the mindset of a Kamikaze, interviews with an American pilot who survived that day, and details of the battle.
March 11. 2024
“Elusive Victory: Year Three of the Russo-Ukraine War”
Presented by Leonid Kondratiuk, retired US Army General and Military Historian. February 24, 2024 marks two years since Russia invaded Ukraine. Ukraine stopped the invasion in 2022 and pushed Russian forces back. In 2023, Ukraine launched its counteroffensive to push Russian forces out of Ukraine, with disappointing results. The war seems like a stalemate. Ukraine is at a tipping point. President Biden and Congress cannot reach agreement on additional aid for Ukraine. Some western officials have quietly told Ukraine to start negotiations for a cease-fire. The Russian Army has suffered horrendous losses, yet Vladimir Putin vows to continue the war. President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukraine will never give up. Following his presentation in March 2023, General Kondratiuk returns to the Lexington Veterans one year later to offer his unique perspective on this perilous and rapidly changing situation.
April 8, 2024
"Dreadful Were the Vestiges of War" - Arms and Battle Damage from the First Day of the American Revolution”
Presented by Joel Bohy, Military Historian and Director of Historic Arms & Militaria for Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers
Military arms expert Joel Bohy will present a study of the arms and ammunition used by both British and provincial forces on April 19, 1775, as well as the battle damage that remains. Using modern shooting incident reconstruction, archaeology, live fire studies, and new research, he will shed new light on the heavy fighting along the route of the British retreat back to Boston.
May 13, 2024
"Character and Leadership"
Presented by Dan Leclerc, Educator and Historian. This program will provide an analysis of the leadership style of the major military leaders who led the various battles and campaigns in the First World War. It will include relevant battle maps and commentaries of the strategies utilized by key commanders during that conflict.
June 10, 2024
““Vietnam 1967: Operation Medina and the Heroic Marines of Charlie Company”
Presented by Jim Ramsey, US Navy Vietnam Veteran. On October 11, 1967 Charlie Company, First Battalion, First Marine Regiment, First Marine Division landed on a low hilltop clearing in the dense Hai Lang National Forest south of Quang Tri, South Vietnam. Charlie Company was the point company for the First Battalion’s search-and-destroy mission against Base Area 101, a North Vietnamese Army staging area that supported the Fifth and Sixth NVA Regiments. At 2 P.M. on October 12, Charlie Company was ambushed by the North Vietnamese. Thus began a 12-hour relentless assault by 3-4 NVA companies. This is the story of that battle - of how close the NVA came to overwhelming Charlie Company and how the Marines heroically fought back and prevailed against a superior force. Corporal William T. Perkins, Jr. would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the battle.
September 9, 2024
“The Other Side of the Ocean"
Presented by Richard Bell, Professor of History, University of Maryland. Britain was bitterly divided as to what the war for American independence was about, how to win it, and whether it was worth it. Historian Richard Bell examines the reactions of King George—what he wanted and how he tried to get it; members of Parliament with all their agendas and interests; and everyone else in Britain – the press, the merchants, the manufacturers, the radicals, the clergy, the laborers, and the men and women on the street. What did THEY think about Britain’s War in America, and did anyone in power, whether in the palace or in Parliament, ever stop to listen to what THEY had to say?
Tuesday, October 15, 2024
“1774: The Year the Revolution Began”
Presented by Robert Allison, Professor of History, Suffolk University.
November 12, 2024
“V is For Victory: FDR's Efforts to Prepare the U.S. for War"
Presented by Bob Lewis, Cpt, US Navy, Retired. By June 1940,
France had fallen to the Nazi blitzkrieg, and Hitler’s vision of world domination loomed large. Britain stood as the last bastion of resistance against Germany. Behind the scenes, FDR was secretly working with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, planning the shipment of surplus war materials to Great Britain. He skillfully navigated the complex political landscape to prepare the United States for its eventual involvement in World War II. FDR, a Democrat, appointed pro-interventionist Republicans Henry Stimson and Frank Knox, as Secretaries of War and the Navy. The groundwork laid between November 1940 and December 7, 1941 – a full year before the attack on Pearl Harbor and our declaration of war against Germany and Japan - became the cornerstone for American participation in WWII.
December 9, 2024
“NATO at 75"
Presented by Bruce Jackan, US Army Veteran and former Ranger.
Throughout the Cold War, NATO’s unity and readiness deterred military incursions in Western Europe. The fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 seemed to signify a clear Cold War victory for the West and to question the further need for NATO. Since then, NATO has been beset by an array of challenges from both state and non-state actors. Will its 31 member countries be up to these challenges? Bruce Jackan, US Army veteran who spent 21 years as an Army Infantry officer with service in the Middle East and across the globe, will discuss the current NATO challenges that are deepening fissures in the alliance: Russia’s attack on Ukraine; disagreements over NATO membership for Ukraine; some members’ fealty to Russia; and US political strife. He’ll review some key questions being asked: As NATO approaches its 75th anniversary, will it remain effective? Can it do so without the US? Should the United States change its relationship with NATO? How should NATO respond to a post-Putin Russia?