Some people called it the “War to End All Wars.” In this country we call it “World War I.” In much of Europe – where the fighting actually occurred – they called it the “Great War.”
A few years ago while traveling in France I went to the Musée de l’Armée (the Army Museum) in Paris. While most people go to the Louvre or Notre Dame, I was eager to see this museum because two of my great grandfathers fought in World War I not far from each other. Something drew me to learn more about these great men and my own heritage.
It is always fascinating to get a different historical perspective on a major event such as this war. We in the United States tend to view World War II as a defining time in our country’s history because of the collective efforts and sacrifices we made in this country and the fact that we were attacked.
In Europe, and especially France and Belgium, the Great War had a much more profound effect. With fighting taking place on French soil for years, rebuilding afterwards took such a long time that the country was not well-prepared for the next war.
Our more recent wars have been well-documented, and in some cases we practically watch them happen in real time on television.
Even though we are approaching 100 years since World War I and we certainly do not have the film footage that we have recorded recently, we remember the sacrifices that so many of our military men and women made.
I’m proud to write that in between our airport and town center, we have our State of Wyoming Veteran’s Memorial Park with four memorials dedicated to Wyoming residents who died in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and wars since Vietnam. Joining these memorials soon will be one dedicated to those who were killed in World War I.
Funding for this project will come from private donations and Park County. The county commissioners just voted to allocate the final $10,000 needed for the project.
According to project manager Buck Wilkerson, the biggest obstacle to completing this project was the research needed to compile a complete list of Wyomingites killed in the war. After researching various sources, however, Wilkerson and his staff have a list of 64.
I do not stop at the memorial often enough, but I do get there on Memorial and Veterans Days. Fortunately my family members who fought in wars returned home safely, but I do honor those who did not.
Congratulations to all who are making this memorial in Cody a reality.
Until next week, I am lovin’ life in Cody, Wyo.
Photo from Wikipedia.