From the miscellaneous drawer - Lucky?

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect in 1918 at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day.”
The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954. As a Federal holiday, it will be observed this year on Monday instead.
At the outset of World War I, Harry S. Truman served in the U.S. Army as an artillery battery commander in France. He served later as President.
Starting in May, 1917 when the U.S. entered the war, over 4.7 million men and women served in the regular U.S. forces, national guard units, and draft units with about 2.8 million serving overseas. There were 53,402 killed in action, 63,114 deaths from disease and other causes, and about 205,000 wounded, according to sources.
My Dad did not become one of those dire statistics. A Minnesota farm boy, the only son of Norwegian immigrants, Gene had finished his first year at the University of Minnesota, when he was drafted. He had never been outside of Minnesota. He was 19 or 20.
He wrote home about what he observed on the troop train to Camp McArthur in Waco,Texas for basics. The next train trip was to Camp Merritt, NJ, the embarkation camp for Europe. At Camp Merritt his dog tags were stamped Nov. 9, 1918 as the soldiers prepared to leave on the troop ship Adriatic from New York to Europe.
The war fortunately ended while they were at sea. Gene finished out his hitch at Fort Dodge in Des Moines, Iowa and was discharged.
That was 100 years ago with many wars and conflicts inbetween involving thousands of men and women, some of whom did not make it home.
Though a critic said, Gene’s service doesn’t matter; he didn’t serve in battle, I disagree. As John Milton noted in his Sonnet 19: “They also serve who only stand and wait.”
We honor all those who have served in any status. This weekend and week in the front window of the Ely Echo, 15 East Chapman, you can see the very uniform Gene Swenson proudly wore.
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In the Ely Echo for November 7, 1988, 30 years ago, the headlines were:
• Battaglia runs for seventh term;
• Ohio couple opens outfitting base in Ely;
• Nelson seeks funding for Iditarod try;
• Pam Roberts asks fourth graders: … If you went on a space expedition, what would your mission be?”