At last weekend’s symposium, several people asked me about my lapel pin, which is a Korean taeguk of blue and gray swirls chasing each other – the classic “yin and yang” shape. (It is pictured below.) I periodically wear the pin when giving Civil War talks.
Students of 20th Century military history will instantly recognize it as the shoulder patch of the 29th Infantry Division. The 29th was created in 1917 out of the National Guard units of Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia – all of which were descended from Civil War units. Because of this melding of former enemy units, the division leadership chose this patch as the symbol; the division ever after has been known as “The Blue and Gray Division.”
The 29th fought in both World Wars, most famously assaulting Normandy on June 6, 1944. Still on the books today, the division and its elements have served in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan since 2001. I have a connection to the division, being since 2002 an Honorary Colonel of the 116th Infantry Regiment, Virginia Army National Guard (The Stonewall Brigade).
The division patch is a perfect symbol for the war and its reconciliation. I also wear it to pay tribute to the 29th itself and its record of success.