Editor’s Note: The following excerpts come from Laurel Advocate columns written by Cedar County historian Roger Tryon. Tryon recently published a book featuing these columns and many more. Anyone interested in buying a copy can contact the Laurel Advocate at 402-256-3200.
Shortly after the United States entered the war, the Laurel Advocate issued a request: “If you have a letter from a soldier boy bring it in and allow us to publish such parts as are not strictly private.” Letters from the soldiers-to-be soon began appearing in the Advocate. The letters which follow not only provide glimpses of life in the training camps but also of the attitudes of the young men who, for the most part, were eager to serve their country. Following are excerpts from letters written by some of the local boys who served during the First World War:
April 1917 — “I have moved from Ft. Logan to Yuma. It gets about 131 degrees down here in the hottest months of the summer but the nights are nice and cool. In the daytime some of we soldiers walk with our shirts off and the sleeves of our undershirts cut off. Believe me when I come back I will look like a Mexican.” — Thorvald Neilsen, Co. G. 14th Infantry, Yuma, Ariz.
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