A memory slipping away

How is it that the war once known as “The Great War” has become the forgotten war?

Many disparate interests have gradually gotten me to think about World War I over the past few years. For example:

  • Two of my favorite authors both fought in WWI: J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.
  • John Becker, my triple-great-uncle, would have served in the Navy during the war, if he hadn’t been murdered.
  • The city of Ferguson has a monument in January-Wabash Park to honor its citizens who seved in WWI.

Everything I’ve ever read indicates just how horrible a conflict it was. Tolkien fought in the Battle of the Somme and later caught trench fever. He admitted that some scenes in the “Lord of the Rings,” like the Dead Marshes, were drawn from his experince in northern France. The imagery of these scenes is vivid and repugnant. I can’t imagine how awful the real war must have been.

There is just one living American WWI verteran left: 107-year-old Frank Buckles. I learned this from a recent article in Newsweek, The War We Forgot.

When Buckles dies, another pivotal moment in American history will slip into the ether. Most folks probably wouldn’t realize it. We have no national monument to the veterans of WWI.

I don’t know what, if anything, can be done about it. But it’s something that weighs on my mind.

About Josh Renaud

I'm the Emperor of the Renaud Empire, which is to say that I'm the husband of a Boliviana and the father of three daughters and one son. When I'm not conquering lands and expanding borders, I'm a newspaper designer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Find me on Twitter (@Kirkman) or Google+.
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One Response to A memory slipping away

  1. Carolyn says:

    Sam’s grandfather, Roy Dameron, was a cook’s assistant in the Army during WWI. He was stationed in the European theater where trench warfare, mustard gas, and rampant gastrointestinal problems among troops defined daily life. He died in 1983 at the age of 90 and never talked much about his war experience. He remained steadfast in his faith and left a spiritual legacy for the great grandchildren who never met him.