Category: wednesdaywisdom

                                             D…

                                             December 1918, walking free in Strasbourg

“To Strasbourg! To Strasbourg! To Strasbourg!  We
are again French! We are freed and saved in liberty, equality, and fraternity: We are
French!”

Above all we must thank our two great allies, England, represented here by Marshal
Haig, and America, whose representative, General Pershing,
led our great armies, whose irresistible valor brought nearer the dawn
of peace, saving hundreds of our brothers from death and preserving Alsace and
Lorraine from destruction. And we turn in tribute to one of the greatest
figures of America’s glory, the leaders for
her three great wars, Washington, Lincoln, and Wilson.”

And later

“We
did not realize the real significance of Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty until
Mr. Wilson directed its rays upon Europe, cutting our shackles and casting them
among the heap of fallen crowns.”

December
9 1918, Mayor of Strasbourg’s welcome speech to French president Poincaré,
British Marechal Haig, American General Pershing and many other French & foreign officials. Photos:
December 9 1918, Strasbourg, French ladies and soldiers on their way to center-city to watch the presidential parade. The ladies are wearing the traditional Alsatian costume. Ministere de la culture

Sources:
The Day of GloryAlsace to the Alsatians?: Visions and Divisions of Alsatian – More photos of this day in the awesome city of Strasbourg: Imgur Gallica

“Sometimes it’s not so soft to be a cook…

“Sometimes
it’s not so soft to be a cook; especially on a hike like that, when all you’ve
got is a dinky little field-range.”

WW1
American soldier’s memoir – Heaven, Hell, Or Hoboken – Photo: December 1918, in
Waxweiler, Germany, in the march to Germany, American soldiers’ meal break.
The cooks are tending a “dinky little field-range” – Mr. Tom Caulley’s collection

November 28 1918 ‘My Dear Judge and Father,I a…

November 28 1918

‘My Dear Judge and Father,

I am well and happy over
the great victory and very thankful to God that I am still alive. For believe
me I sure had some close shaves. On the night of Oct the 9th was one of the worst

– Shells of all caliber were landing
over my head cutting branches from trees, shrapnel bursting and flying
everywhere over and around me. Men and horses being killed and wounded by the
score far and near and yet I was spared without a scratch. Strange it may seem
immediately after asking God to protect me, a feeling of absolute safety possessed
me and I actually slept out there in the open under that hellish shell fire.

We sure did turn that
expected German victory to a disastrous defeat in spite of all that died. And
thank God it is over. I never expected to be alive today. We are now following
up the retreat of the Germans to the Rhine River and are doing it by hiking
with packs and camp where ever we get to at night. We started to hike from St.
Maurice, we are now in German speaking country.
They seem to be very glad it’s
over and are very friendly.

Well Papa,
I must close. I am as ever your loving son’

In Luxembourg, Private Wm L Moylan’s letter – Mr. Ken Moylan – See
the entire letter @ Meuse-Argonne Facebook – Photo: American soldiers hiking
through the Moselle valley toward Germany. “Logistic in Motion: Supporting the
March to the Rhine”

“We are quiet in our happiness. The firing cea…

“We are quiet in our happiness. The firing ceased, and the calm seems queer. But of course
everybody’s happy.”

November 1918, after the armistice, American soldier in
the Meuse Argonne sector, France –

A
Soldier in World War I: The Diary of Elmer W. Sherwood

– Photo: Wednesday November 20 1918, American
soldiers in Sermaize-les-Bains, France. Larry R. Kephart’s Collection

As we think of the Armistice, we still have te…

As we think of the Armistice,
we still have tears in our eyes. Those are tears of profound relief; relief of not
fearing death anymore; tears of joy for being alive; but above all, tears for peace — 
that loud rallying cry: “Never Again”.

November 1918, a French soldier’s thoughts after the
armistice – René Plard – WW1, France, French soldiers in their trench. Mémoire et Histoire

                                              …

                                                                Almost time to go home

“They were
the poilus’ companions of war, these brave doggies. Now that the war is over, it
is time to send them home. Not one soldier will ever forget his loyal furry friend,
with whom he shared good and bad times, his food, his straw bed, and all the
struggles of war. The poilus who survived the war know very well how much their survival depended
on these dogs and will always remember their friends’ immense heroism,
intelligence, and loyalty.”

Note: during
WW1, about 20,000 dogs were requisitioned in France. After the war, these
awesome dogs were either returned to their owners or placed in shelters for adoption.

Lectures pour tous – Guerre de 1914-1918 – Photo: WW1, Aisne, France, French soldier playing with his doggy. La Contemporaine

“We smile at each other acros…

“We smile at each other
across the counter and make bets on the opening date of my canteen in Berlin (a
joke that never ceases to be amusing) and I promise them free coffee and countless cigarettes. They laugh and make
remarks to each other as they carry their food to the tables, and I know they
won’t forget me.”

1918, American lady, Red Cross canteen worker in France – The Red Cross Bulletin; Volume 2 – WW1, France, Red cross canteen workers and soldiers smiling at each other. Library of Congress

                                            Ah…

                                            Ah,
those were the good days!

“You
will see… . Years will pass. Then one day we shall
meet again, we will talk about the boys, about the trenches, about the
attacks, about our miseries and our bits of fun, and we will laugh and say: ‘Ah,
those were the good days!’”

WW1
French soldier’s memoir – Les Croix de bois – Photo: WW1,  French officers
having a little fun in the rubble of the Museum of Hippology (study of horse)
in Reims, France. La Contemporaine

“These past 3 nighs I have been waking up wond…

“These past 3 nighs I have been waking up
wondering if I am not dreaming, if i am
really here. We have lost
the habit of this restful silence. Everything is calm. Can it be possible? Our joy is growing. Every day we are getting used to happiness again.”

October 1918, a French civilian who stayed
in Lille, Northern France, during the German occupation – The Long Silence: Civilian Life under the German Occupation
of Northern France, 1914-1918 –
– Photo:
October 24 1918, Lille, relaxed French citizens reading a notification informing
the population on how to move around in the recently liberated city. La
Contemporaine

“God save the king. Gott strafe England, God t…

“God
save the king. Gott strafe England, God this, God that and God the other thing. Good God!
said God, I’ve got my work cut out!”

WW1, British Poet J. C. Squire humorous verse making fun of the Germans’ “May God Punish England” – Photo: WW1, British humor at the front: in Sorny, France, a British heavy battery installed beneath a German “Gott strafe England“ sign, meaning “May God punish England”.