By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News
Posted 7/18/17 (Tue)
We all know it’s been 100 years since the
On April 2, President Wilson asked for a declaration of war and on April 6 he got it.
Almost immediately, young men began signing up to avoid the new draft that would surely send people to the front lines if they didn’t choose their “poison.” Militia units were organized and began training at their home bases that included Kenmare, Minot and Crosby.
It’s fascinating how The Kenmare News followed the developments as local men were whisked away to military training camps in
One article stated that when the draft was established, a quota of 300 recruits was set for
Another article was about a going away party the community of Kenmare was having for its Soldiers as they surely would encounter danger somewhere along the way.
That article, printed in July 1917, stated that 50 men from Kenmare would be going to the front lines. Whether that’s true or not is unknown, however, each week new names were added to the “drafted” list.
Ironically, as young men were drafted and gearing up to go “Over There,” the War Department announced that farm boys would be deferred from reporting to their camps until after harvest.
We sometimes talk about the guys who dodged the
On Aug. 2, 1917, the attorney general ordered all states attorneys general to begin rounding up the “slackers.”
There was also the story of two local men, Alfred and Manfred Granlund who had taken up homesteads in
After war was declared, it was made clear that any American outside of the
In 1917, there were a lot of American men logging in
A makeshift office was set up in nearby
A Red Cross Society was organized in Kenmare in 1917, The Kenmare News was running ads for Liberty Loans. That is the
We know about the history of the war through our text books, newspaper articles, family legacies and other means. But what we don’t often know is the day-to-day life of a Soldier or his family and how they’re coping with the stress of war.
The Kenmare News did us a great favor with this. Starting about the middle of July, each week letters sent home were printed on the front page of The Kenmare News.
This kind of information is fascinating reading from “thanks Maw for the cookies,” to “they stripped us down to nothing then they examined our teeth.”
We can envision any kind of scenario and we often form our snapshot of the war through photographs because it gives us that visual that our brains just can’t specifically create.
Thus, it’s the trenches, the fog and mud of
Now that we are 100 years out, these newspaper articles tell us the similarities and differences in 1917 and 2017.
It’s like a time capsule localized that provides a true and honest account of the war because these men were writing to their parents or girlfriends rather than the newspaper.
You can’t make this stuff up and it’s too intriguing to just read and put back on a shelf, so we hope to print some of the excerpts of these letters to honor “The Boys of ‘17” 100 years later.