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Beaches men were drawn into the "War to End All Wars" when the United States entered the conflict in April, 1917, and President Woodrow Wilson convinced Congress that men would have to be dragooned into the military because too few were volunteering. Most Americans had opposed being involved in the war when it began in August, 1914, for they had no truck with the conservative empiresGermany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Turkeyinvolved in the war. There was sympathy for the United Kingdom because the United States was also an English-speaking country and for France without whom the Revolutionary War would have been lost but many Americans considered the war as another example of the corruption of European civilization. Moreover, there were more specific reasons not to get involved. As a neutral nation, people in the United States could profit by not taking sides, selling goods and loaning money to everyone. As Calvin Coolidge would quip in the 1920s, the business of the US was business and, although war was bad for business, there still was money to be made from it. Moreover, it would be difficult to decide on which side the US should enter. The large German-American population had little desire to fight their countrymen or distant relatives. The Irish, of whom there were so very many, wanted independence from British imperialism; many would want to fight the UK if the Unites States went to war. Many of the other nationalities or ethnic groups who had been suppressed by the British felt the same way.
The problems were so serious that the United States government would create a propaganda agency, the Committee on Public Information headed by George Creel, to whip up anti-German enthusiasm and pro-war sentiment.
Because of the potential problems of reversing US history which had seen the growth of individual rights (conscription meant that the individual had no rights vis-à-vis the state), Congress on May 18, 1917 created a system fairer than the Civil War draft which allowed people with money to buy a substitute. Although there were exemptionspeople in the armed forces, state and federal government officials, clergy and theological students, vital occupations, persons morally or physically deficient, and people with dependents, men born between 1872 and 1900, some 24 million registered for the draft in 1917 and 1918. The actual draft was done by lottery.
There were three lotteries. The first was June 5, 1917 for men born 1886-1896, that is, 21 to 31 years of age. The next year, on June 5, 1918, another lottery was held for those born in 1896-97, that is, 21 to 22 year old men. When these lotteries did not produce men to serve in the Army, a third lottery was held on September 12, 1918 but broadened substantially to include those born from 1873 to 1886 (32 to 45 years old) and 1897 to 1900 (17 to 20 years old). The armistice on November 11, 1918 vitiated the need for a draft.
Not all were drafted. The Selective Service System, under the office of the Provost Marshal General, worked with district, state and local boards to register men for the lottery and, once selected in the lottery, to get them to a training camp. Health problems, if proven to a medical advisory board, could get one excluded. Critical occupations were another means of staying out; modern industrial warfare on a mass scale needs farmers and men working in war industries. It did not take long before many of these men were exempted from the draft. They were not drafted as often in 1918. About three-quarters of married men were exempted. There were conscientious objectors. There were shirkers. Between volunteers and draftees, the United States fielded an army of 4.8 million men in 1918-19, a very fast and very impressive mobilization. Most never fought; few faced well-trained, fresh German troops. This pouring of so many fresh soldiers onto the battlefields of Europe doomed the German-led coalition.
The Beaches did their part. We know that at least 106 men in Mayport, Atlantic Beach, Pablo Beach, and Palm Valley registered for the draft. Mayport village had 399 people in 1920 but the census precinct, which included Atlantic Beach and East Mayport, had 644. Pablo Beach contained 357; the precinct had 442. Together, there were 1,086 total people. Palm Valley had 162 people in 1925 so it probably had 100 eight years earlier. So the total Beaches population was about 1,186 people, at most. Table 1 lists those identified by Ray Banks as having registered for the draft. The table would not included anyone who was in the military nor does it include men who eventually moved to the Beaches. Forty-eight had Military Service Cards, meaning they served in the military. They are denoted by branch of the military, rank, and an asterisk.
|Aiken, William||Army||Private, First Class||C||Mayport||*||1895|
|Allen, Fred Rainey||W||Pablo Beach||1884|
|Arnau, Ezekiel||W||East Mayport||1889|
|Arnau, Franklin||Army||Private 1st Class||W||Mayport||*||1895|
|Arnau, Walter Colman||Army||Private||W||Mayport||*||1897|
|Atkinson, Ernest||Army||Private||W||Pablo Beach||*||1889|
|Baker, Frank Fulton||W||Pablo Beach||1890|
|Barbour, James Robert||Navy||Coxswain||W||Pablo Beach||*||1899|
|Barnes, Porter R||Army||Private||C||Pablo Beach||*||1894|
|Barnes, Samuel G||Army||First Sergeant||C||Pablo Beach||*||1871|
|Barnhill, Joseph Vea||W||Palm Valley||1876|
|Beighley, Sidney Lambert||W||Mayport||1893|
|Bleight, John C||Army||Private 1st Class||W||Mayport||*||1888|
|Booth, Arthur||W||Pablo Beach||1892|
|Booth, Matthew||W||Palm Valley||1894|
|Brazeale, William||W||Pablo Beach||1890|
|Brown, Asbury B.||W||Pablo Beach||1894|
|Brown, Frank B.||W||Pablo Beach||1895|
|Buford, Otto Ernest||Navy||Lieutenant (jg)||W||Mayport||*||1891|
|Daniels, F A||Army||Private 1st Class||W||Mayport||*||1896|
|Daniels, George McCauley||Navy||Fireman 1st Class||W||Mayport||*||1895|
|Daniels, Neal Florence||Navy||Gunners Mate 2nd Class||W||Mayport||*||1891|
|Davis, Claude Sidney||Navy||Lieutenant (jg)||W||Mayport||*||1895|
|De Grove, John Marton||W||Palm Valley||1898|
|Dickinson, William Murry||W||Mayport||1893|
|Doll, Edward Ericson||W||Pablo Beach||1884|
|Douglass, Archer||C||Palm Valley||1894|
|Ellis, Walter Andrew||W||Palm Valley||1889|
|Floyd, Frederick George||W||Mayport||1886|
|Floyd, James L||Army||Private||C||Mayport||*||1895|
|Floyd, Theodore Raphael||W||East Mayport||1889|
|Floyd, Walter Benedict||W||East Mayport||1891|
|Furman, Henry Ceaton||W||Pablo Beach||1893|
|Gilbert, Crawford James||Navy||Ships Cook 1st Class||W||Atlantic Beach||*||1886|
|Greenlaw, Alonzo C||Navy||Boatswain Mate 2nd Class||W||Mayport||*||1899|
|Hall, Herndon Hollingsworth||Army||Captain Infantry||W||Pablo Beach||*||1888|
|Hardy, Levi||C||Palm Valley||1880|
|Harris, Herbert||Navy||Chief Machinist||W||Mayport||*||1885|
|Harris,Milton Lewis||Navy||Machinist Mate 2nd Class||W||Mayport||*||1895|
|Haworth, Addison Thomas||Navy||Machinist Mate 1st Class||W||East Mayport||*||1896|
|Haworth, Fred Dixon||Army||Private||W||East Mayport||*||1888|
|Houston, Joseph Samuel||W||Mayport||1889|
|Jackson, John||Army||Private||C||Atlantic Beach||*||1895|
|Jackson, Robert||C||Pablo Beach||1880|
|Jeffcoat, William Howard||Army||Private||C||Pablo Beach||*||1886|
|Johns, Lee||W||Pablo Beach||1897|
|Jones, Thomas||W||Palm Valley||1889|
|Jones, Tobe||C||Pablo Beach||1876|
|Jones, William Fletcher||Army||Private||W||Pablo Beach||*||1895|
|Killin, Alexander||Army||Private||C||Atlantic Beach||*||1897|
|King, John Franklin||Navy||Coxswain||W||Mayport||*||1896|
|King, Joseph Roland||W||Mayport||1887|
|Kirkland, Alexander||Army||Private||C||Atlantic Beach||*||1893|
|Knight, Joseph||C||East Mayport||1901|
|La Mee, Herbert Conrad||W||Mayport||1895|
|Leek, George Allan||Navy||Fireman 1st Class||W||Mayport||*||1894|
|Leonard, George T||Army||Sergeant||W||Pablo Beach||*||1892|
|Mickler, Howard P.||W||Palm Valley||1891|
|Mickler, Jacob Flavin||W||Palm Valley||1889|
|Mickler, Sidney Alexander||Navy||Seaman||W||Palm Valley||*||1894|
|Mier, Philip John||W||Mayport||1886|
|Mier, Robert Antonia||W||Palm Valley||1893|
|Miller, John Angus||W||Pablo Beach||1875|
|Mincy, Andrew||C||Pablo Beach||1878|
|Murwin, George William||Army||Private||W||Mayport||*||1896|
|Norris, Omar Francis||W||Mayport||1896|
|Oesterreicher, George Laurence||W||Palm Valley||1891|
|Oesterreicher, Thomas Vanicia||W||Palm Valley||1898|
|Phillips, Walter Myles||W||Pablo Beach||1882|
|Pritchard, George Anson||W||Pablo Beach||1881|
|Register, Robert Lee||W||Pablo Beach||1893|
|Sallas, Arthur Francis||Navy||Coxswain||W||Mayport||*||1888|
|Sallas, Camille Andrew||W||Mayport||1892|
|Sallas, Clarence Leo||W||Mayport||1895|
|Sallas, Fabian Alexander||W||Mayport||1894|
|Sallas, Marcus John||W||Mayport||1888|
|Sheffield, William Munroe||W||Pablo Beach||1876|
|Singleton, Chauncy J||Army||Private 1st Class||W||Mayport||*||1895|
|Singleton, Holbrook||Army||Private 1st Class||W||East Mayport||*||1896|
|Singleton, Robert P.||Army||Private||W||Mayport||*||1893|
|Singleton, Samuel Thomas||W||Mayport||1891|
|Smith, Carl Ulrich||Army||Private||W||Pablo Beach||*||1896|
|Thomas, Ernest||W||East Mayport||1893|
|Thompson, Alexander Better||Navy||Seaman||W||Mayport||*||1895|
|Thompson, Edward E.||W||Mayport||1887|
|Thompson, Oscar Frederick||Army||Private||W||Mayport||*||1889|
|Truesdell, Stephen Coleman||Navy||Seaman 2nd Class||W||Mayport||*||1899|
|Walker, Ralph Cox||W||Palm Valley||1881|
|Webb, Willie||Army||Corporal||C||Atlantic Beach||*||1894|
|West, Eddie||W||Palm Valley||1898|
|Williams, James||C||Pablo Beach||1879|
|Williams, John McC||W||East Mayport||1893|
|Zapf, Eugene George||Navy||Machinist Mates 1st Class||W||Pablo Beach||*||1894|
Their characteristics were as follows. Fifteen (14%) were from Palm Valley; Five (4.7%) from Atlantic Beach; nine (8.5%) from East Mayport; forty-nine (46.2%) from Mayport; twenty-eight (26.4%) from Pablo Beach; and fifteen (14.2%) from Palm Valley. Why there were a disproportionate number in Mayport and Palm Valley is not explained in the records; perhaps the numbers from the other areas were underreported. Mayport in 1917 was larger than Pablo Beach in 1917. Twenty-six of the 106 (24.5%) were African Americans. In age, they ranged from 18 to 47 but 23 was the most common age.
World War I Service Cards tell us who served. Congress ordered that a service record for each person serving between April 6, 1917 and November 11, 1918 be created and provided to the Adjutant General of each state from which that person entered the service. This record took the form of a card that contained information digested from the service record dossier of each veteran. Clerks in the Department of War (Army) and the Department of the Navy (Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard) executed the work. The cards for the Army and for the Navy differed slightly but contain the following information.
For each person, the cards provide name; age; serial number; race; place of birth; and residence at time of entering service. some cards also provide the organizations/ships served (with dates of beginning and transfer); engagements; wounds/injuries sustained in action; time served overseas; discharge notations; and general remarks. The Navy cards note the sailors rate as well as rank.
Two Beaches cards, one from the Army, one from the Navy, are illustrative.
The Florida Memory database identifies the veterans as being from Atlantic Beach, Mayport, Pablo Beach, and Palm Valley. That seems straight forward but what about people who lived west of the San Pablo River/Intracoastal Waterway? Should they be included as part of the Beaches veterans? What about people such as Dr. Charles B. Mabry who later lived at the Beaches but was in Jacksonville in 1917 or Walter Edwards Boley whose tombstone in the Tillotson Cemetery in Mayport identifies him as a WWI veteran but no Service Card can be found in the Florida Memory database?
The names of the veterans below are hyperlinked. Some links lead only to the Service Cards. Others have biographical data of the most rudimentary form.
|Aiken, William||Army||Private 1st Class||C||Mayport||1895|
|Arnau, Franklin||Army||Private 1st Class||W||Mayport||1895|
|Arnau, Walter Colman||Army||Private||W||Mayport||1897|
|Atkinson, Ernest||Army||Private||W||Pablo Beach||1899|
|Barbour, James Robert||Navy||Coxswain||W||Pablo Beach||1899|
|Barnes, Porter R.||Army||Private||C||Pablo Beach||1894|
|Barnes, Samuel G.||Army||First Sergeant||C||Pablo Beach||1895|
|Bleight, John C.||Army||Private 1st Class||W||Mayport||1889|
|Buford, Otto Ernest||Navy||Lieutenant||W||Mayport||1891|
|Daniels, F. A.||Army||Private 1st Class||W||Mayport||1896|
|Daniels, George McCauley||Navy||Fireman 1st Class||W||Mayport||1895|
|Daniels, Neal Florence||Navy||Gunners Mate 2nd Class||W||Mayport||1892|
|Davis, Claude Sidney||Navy||Lieutenant (jg)||W||Mayport||1895|
|Floyd, James Lambert||Army||Private||C||Mayport||1895|
|Gilbert, Crawford James||Navy||Ships Cook 1st Class||W||Atlantic Beach||1885|
|Greenlaw, Alonzo C.||Navy||Boatswain Mate 2nd Class||W||Mayport||1899|
|Hall, Herndon Hollingsworth||Army||Captain Infantry||W||Pablo Beach||1888|
|Harris, Herbert||Navy||Chief Machinist||W||Mayport||1885|
|Harris, Milton Lewis||Navy||Machinist Mate 2nd Class||W||Mayport||1895|
|Haworth, Addison Thomas||Navy||Machinist Mate 1st Class||W||East Mayport||1895|
|Haworth, Fred Dixon||Army||Private||W||East Mayport||1888|
|Jackson, John||Army||Private||C||Atlantic Beach||1895|
|Jeffcoat, William Howard||Army||Private||C||Pablo Beach||1887|
|Jones, William Fletcher||Army||Private||W||Pablo Beach||1895|
|Killin, Alexander||Army||Private||C||Atlantic Beach||1897|
|King, John Franklin||Navy||Coxswain||W||Mayport||1896|
|Kirkland, Alexander||Army||Private||C||Atlantic Beach||1892|
|Leek, George Allan||Navy||Fireman 1st Class||W||Mayport||1894|
|Leonard, George T.||Army||Sergeant||W||Pablo Beach||1892|
|Mickler, Sidney Alexander||Navy||Seaman||W||Palm Valley||1894|
|Murwin, George William||Army||Private||W||Mayport||1896|
|Sallas, Arthur Francis||Navy||Coxswain||W||Mayport||1889|
|Singleton, Chauncy J||Army||Private 1st Class||W||Mayport||1897|
|Singleton, Holbrook Estill||Army||Private 1st Class||W||East Mayport||1896|
|Smith, Carl Ulrich||Army||Private||W||Pablo Beach||1896|
|Thompson, Alexander Better||Navy||Seaman||W||Mayport||1895|
|Thompson, Oscar Frederick||Army||Private||W||Mayport||1889|
|Tillotson, Freddie B.||Navy||Machinist Mate, 2n class||W||Mayport||1894|
|Truesdell, Stephen Coleman||Navy||Seaman 2nd Class||W||Mayport||1899|
|Webb, Willie||Army||Corporal||C||Atlantic Beach||1894|
|Zapf, Eugene George||Navy||Machinist Mates 1st Class||W||Pablo Beach||1894|
What can we learn from the 48 cards? A lot. Three were officers: an Army captain, Herndon Hollingsworth Hall of Pablo Beach, and two Navy Lieutenants Junior Grade (1st Lt. in Army terms): Otto Ernest Buford and Claude Sidney Davis, both of Mayport. Sergeant Samuel G. Barnes was from Pablo Beach. Thirty-one were in the Army (64.6%); seventeen in the Navy. Fifteen were African Americans (31.3%); thirty-three were whites. Five came from Atlantic Beach of whom four were black. Three lived in from East Mayport. Ten were from Pablo Beach. Sidney A. Mickler, a Navy Seaman, was the only person from Palm Valley but only162 people lived there in 1925. What is now Ponte Vedra did not exist.
From Mayport and East Mayport, there were 32 men, 67% of the Beaches contingent! Twenty-nine were from the village of Mayport and seven of those were African American Army men. Of the blacks, William Aiken, was a Private First Class, the others just privates. Thirteen of Mayport were in the Navy. East Mayport, now swallowed by the Mayport Naval base, contributed three men. Two were in the Army; one in the Navy. Holbrook Estill Singleton was a Private First Class. Many served overseas or on ships.
The number of men from the Beaches who served in the Army and the Navy was miniscule, of course. Some individuals commanded other men; the African American non-commissioned officers only commanded other African Americans, however. That was the order of the day. A disproportionate number of African Americans served but there is no reason to assume that they were more patriotic, healthier, or skilled than the whites. Eugene George Zapfs parents were German but had naturalized; the son was an American.
What happened to them by 1930? Most left the beaches and the two Mayports. Only fourteen (29%) stayed, eleven in the fishing village and river port at the mouth of the St. Johns River. Francis and Neal Daniels lived with their parents, Francis an auto mechanic and Neal a fisherman. Alonzo Greenlaw, his wife, and two children lived with his father-in-law, William Floyd, and Alonzo was an engineer on a steamboat. George Hilgerson supported a wife and three children with odd jobs. Chauncy Singleton, a husband with three offspring, and his brother Robert, married with one child, worked for the U. S. government. Alex Thompson was a married fisherman. General Williams fished. George Williams did as well and had a wife and six children. In East Mayport, the Haworth brothers were still there, married with children. Addison had two offspring and was a marine engineer. Fred, a restaurateur, had one child. In Jacksonville [the former Pablo] Beach, Carl Smith had become City Clerk; Gene Zapf managed the new Casa Marina Hotel. Both were married. Still further south in Palm Valley in neighboring St. Johns County, Sydney Mickler had returned home, married, and sired four children. No doubt some had moved inland to Jacksonville or to some other place. Some may have died.
We know a little about two other veterans who moved to the coast from Jacksonville at a later date. Perhaps there lives give us some insight. Charles B. Mabry, Sr. and Judson A. Clements are atypical however, in being better educated. They had gone to college and trained in the medical field.
Charles B. Mabry, born In Palatka, Florida in 1892 but enlisted in the medical corps in 1918 as a private. After he was discharged, he began a student at the University of Florida, joined Theta Chi fraternity, and graduating in 1920. He became an orthopedic surgeon, serving as the President of the Florida Orthapaedic Society for 1949-50. He married and sired two children Charles Jr. and Peters. He moved to Atlantic Beach where he was a prominent member of Beaches society. He died in 1969. Charles also became a medical doctor and lived in Atlantic Beach.
Judson Alvin Clements was born on August 28, 1891 in Gordon, Georgia. He earned the B.S. degree in Pharmacy from Mercer University in Macon GA in 1916. Pharmacy was then a one-year program. As his son Roland explains, he gave up becoming a Medical Doctor because of the primitive training procedures. Pharmacists were among the educated elite of those days and were often called Doctor. Clements moved to Florida and joined the Florida National Guard in Jacksonville on June 15, 1917 a few months after the United States declared war on Germany.
The Florida National Guard was part of the Armys 31st Division, the Dixie Division, units from the states of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. The Division underwent extensive training and elements began going overseas on September 15th and continued until November 9th. As they arrived in Europe, troops were siphoned off into other units as replacements needed. Clements arrived October 7th. The Armistice was declared on November 11, 1918. By January, 1919, its members were being rotated home.
Clements was a Sergeant in the Medical Corps assigned to headquarters. He was promoted to Sgt. First Class on February 8, 1918. He returned to the States in late March, 1919 and received an Honorable Discharge on April 19, 1919. He was awarded the Victory Medal with France on April 25, 1921.
Clements letter to his sister in Georgia reveals some of a soldiers experiences. To preserve the flavor, errors, minor as they are, were left uncorrected. His trip across the Atlantic was frightening for a German submarine destroyed before it could attack. Moving through France was cumbersome. He heard guns roaring but his assignment kept him from the front. The war was almost over by the time he arrived but he was there in time for the influenza pandemic of 1918-19. It killed more soldiers than the Germans did. It was hard to contain and, before it ended, killed millions in Europe and the United States.
The letter gives us an insight into the experience of an American non-commissioned officer in World War and is worth reading.
Camp dAuvors, France
December 9th, 1918.
My Dear Sister,
Your letter was received yesterday afternoon and I sure was glad to hear from you for it was the first letter I have had from any one in the U.S. Am glad to know all are well and hope you all dont get the Flu for I hear there is plenty of it in the States. I write home every week and I know Mother must hear from me and I dont see why I dont hear from home but ower [our] Division and Battalion was busted up and we were transferred all about and into different organizations and Camps, so I guess that is the reason why I have not received any mail.
I will now try and tell all about my trip and the different places I have been to. We departed from the U.S. October 7th and arrived at Brest France October 20th. Was in Brest for three days and then on to Le Mans, France about one hundred and fifty miles in box cars marked 40 men or 8 horses. We were busted up at Le Mans and some of the boys got to go up to the front. I went up to a place called Poulain near Metz and I could see the flash of guns at night and hear the roar all the time, was there two days and then transferred back to Le Mans and from Le Mans to Connerre [Connerré], France to the 2nd Provisional Training Regiment, 83rd. Division and from Connerre to this camp which was a German Prison Camp and guarded by Belgium Soldiers.
We are between Le Mans and Paris, wish I could get the chance to go to Paris but there are so many soldiers there that they wont let any more go in. Was in Le Mans Saturday and Sunday on a 24 Hour pass and went to several shows that were real good but could not understand much of this French talk. The more I see of France the better I like the U.S. for it rains here all the time and is muddy, foggy, damp and wet and the sun never shines. Some parts of France are pretty I guess but I have never seen that part of it.
We had some excitement on ower [our] way over here, about four days from France a submarine came up near us and all of the boats had guns on them and all opened fire and I guess about forty shots were fired at it but I dont think they hit it as I could see [inserted] very good. We were some what nervous but no excitement as we did not realize the danger we were in. About two days before we landed our Torpedo Boats dropped seven depth bombs on a submarine and sank it for sure as it happened about five oclock in the morning and the boys that were on guard saw it all. It threw all of us out of bed from the force of the explosion and we thought sure we had been hit by a torpedo and believe me I sure came up and out on the deck but it was all over then but no more sleep for me after that.
We all had to sleep in our life belts and clothes all the way over for thirteen days. It was very rough for a few days and after that every thing was real nice. I have not had my clothes off in over two months, sleep in them every night. Have been in barns, hay lofts and on the ground to sleep. A bed would feel good to me now and if I ever do get in one again I think I will stay for a long time.
All we talk about now is going home but I guess it will be a long time as there are so many boys over here to go home that I know it will be my luck to be about the last one to go home. We hear lots of good news about going home and I hope it all is true for I sure do want to get back as I have been in the Army Nineteenth Months which is a long time if you come to think about it.
We are in barracks now and are very well fixed up and if we do have to spend the winter here hope we can stay here for every move we make is a bad one. Lots of the boys have cooties and lice on them and I guess will soon have them. Had my first bath a few says ago in over two months and I am afraid it will make me sick.
Sister there is nothing you can send me as we are issued tobacco. Thanks very much. Wish I could be with you all Xmas and I wish you all a merry Xmas and a happy new year. Tell Marjorie to write me and you all do the same. Write and tell Mother you had a letter from me and that I am well and feeling good and tell her to sent me lots of news papers to read.
Remember me to all of the children and Mr. Lester and tell them to write me and I am sure am comming [coming] to see you all when I do get out of this Army.
Lots of love, your brother.
Sergeant 1st Class Judson A. Clements
Medical Detach, 2nd. Provisional Training Regiment
A.E.F. A.P.O. 916
When he returned to the States, he was finally able to build a life. Between 1920 and 1940, he owned the only wholesale liquor business in the State of Florida. In 1934, he bought this summer house at 110 Cherry Street, Neptune Beach, Florida, living there with his wife, Grace Farrington Clements, and three children, Judson, Roland and Karan until his death in 1968. Grace Farrington had relatives in nearby Mayport. She sold it in 1987, long after his children had reached adulthood and moved on with their lives. Grace remarried to Ralph Kingsley and died on February 25, 2008 at the age of 90.
Judson Clements home, Neptune Beach, Florida 1934
The United States was barely in the First World War but its participation guaranteed the
defeat of the conservative Triple Alliance. As we know, the war was not The War to
End All Wars as many Americans and some others had hoped. Woodrow Wilson dreamed
that the world, under United States leadership, could bring peace and democracy to the
world. Americans tend to be idealistic even in the 21st century. Hope trumps experience.
People are peopleselfish and belligerent as well as capable of kindness.
It is also known as the Great War, the First World War, and WWI. The titles reflect the varying towards the conflict. Americans, since the beginning of the Republic, have tended to believe that they are moral whereas everyone else in the world is immoral and that their country has a special mission in human history to right wrongs and spread American ideals and practices. When the Second World War began, the 1914-18 conflict became the First.
The Florida Memory Project (http://www.floridamemory.com/ ) contains a collection of World War I Service Cards (http://www.floridamemory.com/Collections/WWI/ ). No one checked their accuracy unless there was a glaring error.
Donald J. Mabry
030607; Revised 0314/08