As the 2009 Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy national reunion draws closer I’m looking forward to the familiar faces I know that I’ll see when we gather in Denver. On the other hand I’m contemplating the likely absence of some of CCC veterans who I saw only just last year in Virginia.
We tend to think of those CCC boys as they were: 17 years old and wide-eyed as they sheepishly stepped off a train in some faraway town. We forget that those who survived their time in the CCC (most did), and the World War (a lot didn’t), and Korea and Vietnam (yes, they were still fighting then, too) grew up and grew old as they raised families of their own. Quietly, with little fanfare.
I think that for a long time, the National Association of CCC Alumni (NACCCA) and CCC Legacy reunions were just that: reunions. Recently, however, these gatherings are becoming something different as fewer and fewer CCC veterans are able to make the trip. I see a lot more sons and daughters and grandchildren at the national reunions now, and that’s wonderful. I hope the families always feel inspired to participate in CCC history if for no other reason than to fight for it, to preserve it and to stomp down the occasional naysayer who tries to tar the CCC using the same broad brush they use to denigrate the New Deal.
In time, our gatherings will be conferences or symposia, where academics discuss and debate the history and meaning of the CCC, but for now, the reunions have become something in between, not quite reunion, not quite conference. In some ways it’s the best of both worlds were it not for the declining numbers of CCC veterans in attendance. Perhaps some of us will look back wistfully – maybe on the advent of the 100th anniversary of the CCC – and say, “I remember the reunion of 2009 when we actually got to meet some CCC veterans in person!”
My point with all this of course is to simply remind you that the 2009 reunion, conference, symposium – whatever you’d like to call it – is fast approaching!
The 2009 Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy annual reunion is scheduled for October 8-11 in Littleton, Colorado. You can get additional details by visiting the CCC Legacy website HERE.
I sure hope to see you there!