Lest We Forget

The Great War, better known today as World War I, came to an end 100-years-ago today at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the 11th month. The latest figures, which are still being debated show that 116,708 U.S. soldiers died with another 205,690 having been wounded.

My Grandpa Bill Shaw, having enlisted while still living in Ohio, was one of those wounded, having been gassed by the German’s near the end of the fighting. It left him with scars to his lungs, a difficulty breathing, a nasty greenish sputum, debilitating emphysema — and tales of memories he would very rarely talk about, even when asked.

As a kid he gave me the badge to his campaign hat and the wood buttons from his  woolen tunic, which he tossed away after finding it riddled with moth holes from years of being stored in an old suitcase in a shed. Unfortunately, I lost all the buttons over the years, but I still have his hat badge. He passed in 1973 at the age of 74.

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