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Experiencing War: World War I: The Great War (Stories from the Veterans History Project, Library of Congress)

The United States had over 4.7 million men—and several thousand women—in uniform during the Great War, most of them in support of the soldiers on the front lines. Newly minted pilots took to the skies in rickety planes, doctors and nurses tended to the grievously wounded or those laid low by influenza, military police tried to keep order, and map readers tried to keep troop movements straight. Few of these veterans were immune to witnessing the effects of war on their comrades and, thanks to new, long-range artillery, some were in occasional danger even if they were miles from the fighting.

Featured Story: Doyen Parsons Wardwell
Doyen Parsons Wardwell - link to story
“Oct. 27 [1918]. George Ewing killed in a fall. Machine burns up. This was the first fatal airplane accident that I ever witnessed. It made me think a little toward the future.” (Diary excerpt in Memoir, page 86)

Doyen “Dink” Wardwell wasted little time in leaving college in the spring of 1917 to enlist in the war effort as a pilot. He persuaded his sweetheart, Dorothy, to marry him that summer, before he shipped out to Europe, and wrote her frequently. His letters to her, hers to him, and his tersely composed diary were assembled by his daughter for a posthumous memoir, On the Wings of Time: An Aviator’s Story. After the war, the thrill of flying never left Wardwell. He flew geological surveys in the West and helped to run Wyoming Airways, a pioneer commercial airline. He was killed when his plane burst into flames over Casper, Wyoming, in 1929; he was 33 years old.

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Doyen Parsons Wardwell's story
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“There is no doubt that the course and character of the feared 'European war'... will become the first world war in the full sense of the word.”
                                               -- Ernst Haeckel, German philosopher, September 1914
Rex V. Bixby - link to story

Rex V. Bixby's story

Frank Woodruff Buckles - link to story
"It's best for anyone who's been in the military service ... to talk about it..."

Frank Woodruff Buckles' story

Clara Lewandoske Hoke - link to story
"When he [President Wilson] went out of that ward, he was just white as a sheet..."

Clara Lewandoske Hoke's story

Gustav Hermann Kissel - link to story
"It was a most impressive thing to hear & filled one's mind with the wonders of war."

Gustav Hermann Kissel's story

Albert Lester Kleinecke - link to story
"War is mostly work, partly like a 4th of July celebration; partly like a circus..."

Albert Lester Kleinecke's story

Charles Stanley Lamb - link to story
"By firelight ... I pause to rush word to you of my safety and well-being."

Charles Stanley Lamb's story

Orville F. Rogers - link to story
"From here to Chambry the fields are just full of graves. It is a terrible sight."

Orville F. Rogers' story

Dennis J. Sullivan - link to story
"Under Four Flags is a picture that the Government intends every one in the United States shall see..."

Dennis J. Sullivan's story

Robert L. Wiley - link to story

"If only I had the time to write of this hell, but I can't."

Robert L. Wiley's story



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  August 21, 2007
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