This Memorial Day I remember 25-year-old Private Charles A Newell of Cresbard, South Dakota, who died on October 17, 1918 at Camp Lee in Virginia. He was part of the Veterinary Training School preparing to serve overseas in World War I. Rather than one of the 53,000 US soldiers who died in combat, he was one of the 45,000 who died of influenza after being drafted (see his registration card on the right).
Two weeks before he died, he wrote to his parents: “I am in the horse doctors corps and don’t have much drilling to do. They say we won’t be up on the front line, the nearest hospital is 25 miles from the front. We don’t get any guns at all, so our life is as safe as at home. I expect to go over sometime but don’t know when; not for a couple of months anyway. I don’t care much. I have given up caring since I got in the army; it wouldn’t do any good.”
Learn more about him and others in Cresbard through the writings of Clara Mae Horen in my book Clara’s Journal: And the Story of Two Pandemics…which comes out TOMORROW!!