I did an earlier post on how WWI destroyed the old world and gave birth to the modern era. Now, all the brave men who fought in that terrible war have passed away. They have become voices from the past and many are forgetting what they endured. It was more than a bunch of random dates and statistics it was one of mankind's darkest hours.
When the war began there was an excitement throughout the nations of Europe. Many young men were eager to prove their worth in the service of king and country. What they did not know, was how it would be different than the wars of their fathers. By the end of the war, many of those eager young men became names on a list and a bitter sweet memory for those who knew them. Those who lived through the war were never the same. Almost an entire generation of Europe's best were laid to an early grave many more were wounded physically or mentally.
When the fighting began the generals on all sides were using 19th century tactics in the face of 20th century technology. The men marched in formation as machine guns turned their brightly colored uniforms dark red. It was an assembly line of death. I can't comprehend what it would be like to witness such a scene, knowing you would be next.
As the war dragged on, the generals altered their tactics and adjusted to the new technology; trench warfare became the norm, especially on the western front.
Of all the wars to be a soldier, this was probably the worst. They, lived with the fear of periodic gas attacks. The trenches were often cold and muddy. We in war zones today, live in luxury compared to them.
It was into this setting, this misery, America entered the war. They came in waves, bringing with them an eagerness which had not been seen since the war began. The industrial might of an emerging superpower proved to much for the already exhausted axis powers. Within a matter of months, the Germans surrendered and the war was ended.
Although the war ended, the aftermath was still felt by those who fought. Many men suffered from severe PTSD and struggled to function normally. Many were left crippled. For years after the streets of European cites had countless beggars who had been crippled by the war. In less than five years, the world had been turned upside-down.
Now, they are all gone. Gone the way of the earth, just as we one day will. In time, all who knew them will be gone. They will become as abstract to many, as those who fought the countless wars before. It was to be the war to end all wars, yet, almost a century later, good men are still dying and families still grieve.