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Friday, February 14, 2014

Old World War I Photos From The Collection of a Soldier Who Served Well

The suitcase, full of papers and photos, contains some history that may not have been told by any other source....well, maybe.  To me, these are one of a kind.

 The suitcase, handed over to my husband from his mother on Thanksgiving on 2013, is filled with wonderful images of the War To End All Wars....World War I.  LeRoy Hessler Reif, grandfather of my husband, served as a medic in the U.S.Army during this conflict in Europe.  He saved many of the photos that he had snapped, and others that were acquired through other means, during his service to our nation in Europe.

LeRoy Hessler Reif in France 1918

My late father-in-law, Ken Reif, wrote an article in 1967 for the Veterans Day issue of a company newsletter.  He outlined the duties and experiences of his father's participation in the War.  As a medic, he saw unspeakable injuries inflicted on his fellow servicemen.  So many suffered.  So many perished.

U.S. Army ambulance used to transport the injured

U.S. Army hospital ward in France 1918

Nurses who diligently cared for the sick and injured during the War

Perhaps we always think that wounds heal  after time, but with injuries that were sustained on both sides, I can only imagine that they never truly heal.  Here is a man who did survive, but only after a new jaw was constructed from silver to replace the one that he no longer had......

And, then there were those who did not survive, but were buried with dignity and grace in a foreign land where they gave the ultimate sacrifice.  A freshly laid cemetery for those who did not return....

It is Valentines Day.  I hope that the Valentines of these servicemen were comforted in a way that helped them to carry on their lives.  What sorrow they must have experienced.  How proud they should be of those laid to rest in foreign lands.  Happy Valentines Day to all those who served, are serving and who will serve and sacrifice.  May God and St. Valentine watch over you.

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