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Contemporary Historians at the Presidio Opens Second Season


Presidio of San Francisco (April 24, 2012) –Americans’ relationship with the country’s armed forces has run hot and cold over the centuries, at times celebrating and embracing the nation’s servicemen and women, while at others exhibiting deep distrust and even open hostility towards those same service members and the institutions they represent. Dr. Richard Stewart examines what drives this temperamental relationship when the Presidio Trust’s popular lecture series, “Contemporary Historians at the Presidio: Voices and Views,” begins its second season Thursday, April 26, at 7 pm at the Golden Gate Club. Admission is free.

“Contemporary Historians at the Presidio: Voices and Views” brings some of the nation’s most preeminent historians to the Presidio. The series explores a broad array of themes in American and world history and helps put the Presidio into context as a former military post and an innovative national park.

In “Reflections on the American Profession of Arms,” Dr. Stewart investigates how the creation of a highly skilled professional Army, tested in the cauldron of two wars over the last decade, has changed the way the military is viewed in the United States and wonders if the American Army truly reflects American society or if it’s meant to hold itself to a higher standard. Dr. Stewart looks at the roots of professional military service and the unique contributions U.S. Armed Forces have made to the practice of that profession over the last several hundred years.

Dr. Richard W. Stewart was appointed Chief Historian of the US Army Center of Military History in 2006 after eighty years as the center’s Chief of Histories Division. Prior to coming to the Center in 1998, Dr. Stewart spent eight years as the Command Historian for the US Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and was a historian with the Center for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for three years. He served in uniform as a combat historian in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Bahrain, and Afghanistan before retiring from the Army Reserve as a colonel in 2002 with 30 years of active and reserve military service. A 1972 graduate of Stetson University in Florida, Dr. Stewart has a Master’s in history from the University of Florida and received a Ph.D. from Yale University. He also has received a Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College.

Other talks in the series will explore the relationship between creating theme parks and historic preservation in California today; how the Pentagon practiced racial integration after World War II, and the accuracy of the popular belief that the integration of the armed forces led the rest of the nation to accept desegregation; the impact of World War II on Chinese-Americans, both in Hawaii and on the mainland, especially in San Francisco; and how, as popular cinematic styles have changed, the spectacle of war itself has become less prominent on screen than the pathos of victimhood.

“Reflections on the American Profession of Arms” takes place Thursday, April 26, at 7 pm at the Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop, in the Presidio. Admission is free.

The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park site located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Presidio’s historic buildings represent the nation’s most comprehensive collection of military architecture, dating from the Civil War through the Cold War, including homes and barracks that reflect how the military social hierarchy and domestic life evolved in the Presidio. Since 1994, approximately 75 percent of the park’s historic structures have been rehabilitated for new uses. The park comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to the Presidio’s status as a National Historic Landmark District.

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Presidio Trust Media Relations

Lisa Petrie

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