ON April 6th, 1917, the news that the United States had thrown herself into the most stupendous conflict of the ages was flashed to Buffalo County and to the World. America was at war, and the thought thrilled the nation through and through. She was to raise and train and equip an army of millions, and send them 3.000 miles across the sea, to fight by the side of heroic France and England and Belgium and Italy, for the cause of Liberty. At that time every recognized power of Europe had been struggling in the most colossal death-grip in history, for nearly four years. Democracy and Freedom were at stake, and now, just as the fate of a civilized world seemed to hang by a thread, the United States of America was to hurl her gigantic resources, her unlimited wealth, and her mighty armies against democracy's common foe.
The patriotism of her hundred and some millions sprang at once into a raging fire of determination. To crush the Central Powers, the Hohenzollerns, and the rest of the autocrats was America's purpose, and as Germany and her Junkers were jokingly referring to her declaration of war as a "bluff." America was earnestly laying the foundation of the greatest feat in military history. Just as the New Englanders were aroused by Revere on his perilous midnight ride, so were America's people awakened to the responsibility to humanity that lay before them. The spirit of '70 was kindled in every corner of the nation as overnight. Factions, races, creeds, nationalities, classes, forgot their petty differences and united for the common purpose. The country was at war, and every resource, every unit of manpower, every atom of energy, and every penny of wealth, was to be pooled in the cause of right.
The United States became a sober work-shop. Young men by the thousands, full of the red blood that made America, answered their country's call to arms, and donned the uniform of the United States Army. The problem of raising, training and transporting across the sea a formidable army seemed inconceivably tremendous. Critics at home and abroad predicted failure of our democratic system in successfully prosecuting the war. With the united and steadfast loyalty of everyone, the task progressed with marvelous rapidity, despite the criticism of many and the magnitude of the job, and when the Germans finally called for help on November 11, 1918, the United States Army m France numbered more than two million--two million of the scrappiest, snappiest fighting men that had ever been introduced to the Army of the Huns on the battlefields of Europe. Fighting by the side of their bleeding Allies, these sturdy, determined American boys immortalized themselves as the sons of their forefathers who brought the nation into the world. Their war-weary comrades in arms were bouyed up by their presence and their dashing fighting qualities, and when the American Army had finally been thrown into the balance in substantial numbers, the beginning of the end for the Teutons was marked. In the pages of history that will tell future generations of the World War, nothing will be more glorious than the work of the American Doughboys and Marines. Starting at Cambrai, early in the spring of 1915, and later at Cantigny, Bouresches, Belleau Wood, Chateau-Thierry, Ourcq, Fismes, St. Mihiel, Sedan, and Stenay, their record was one of continued heroism and gallantry. These names will fur-ever be linked in history with the exploits of the American boy in the war for liberty. There are other names that will be remembered, but these are as milestones which marked the development and progress of the American Army on the road to victory and to glory.
Of this splendid army, more than 800 were from Buffalo County, Nebraska. Fighting and training to fight in every arm of the United States forces--Doughboy, Artilleryman, Marine, Sailor, Aviator,. Nurse,--they brought glory to their county and country. Represented in almost every military center of this country and France, they upheld the name of Buffalo County's Civil and Spanish War veterans before them. In every test, they excelled, and now they have returned to their homes and their folks, most of them, with the honor that comes only to heroes. While they were gone to fight the battles of their country and to protect the honor of their loved ones, those who were forced to remain at home were not wanting in supporting them. Liberty Bonds amounting to millions were purchased at every request of the government, to clothe and feed and equip and arm the armies who went overseas. Thousands of dollars was cheerfully and quickly given to support the various independent activities whose aim it was to give temporal and spiritual comfort to the boys in camps and in the field. Red Cross solicitors found an eager response in every corner of Buffalo County and from every man, woman and child at home, to support that wonderful organization whose only aim was to give comfort and relieve suffering among the heroes in France. Mothers and sisters of the county worked day and night with the enthusiasm which only a woman's love can give, knitting and sewing for the American Red Cross. Every movement that was ever inaugurated in Buffalo County--and there were scores of them--that called upon the people at home for their time and their money, was cheerfully and promptly responded to. Patriotism and loyally were the two lone words in every citizen's vocabulary, and a more loyal county did not exist in the United States.
That this magnificent record of Buffalo County in the world war may be set down for future generations; that the work of Buffalo County's 800 and some fighting men may be memorialized; that Buffalo County's good women may pass on to their daughters of another generation the story of their unselfish devotion in the cause of liberty; that our sons and daughters and their children as well may know and be proud of the wonderful loyalty record of their ancestors in stamping out that Prussianism which early in the Twentieth Century threatened the liberty-loving world; that the work of Buffalo County in the World War may be written into a permanent form--that is the purpose with which this work is prepared. If there are errors or omissions, it is believed that they will be overlooked with the knowledge that the task has been difficult. The data has been gathered from a variety of sources, and in many cases the information in the hands of even those actively heading the various activities has been none too accurate. Hence if there have been left out the names or pictures of Buffalo County patriots who should have been given credit for their efforts, it is with the most profound sincerity that we apologize. The editors of the work have used every means possible, they have searched all records available, and have endeavored in every way to cooperate with the chairmen of the many war activities in an effort to make it complete. If the magnitude of the task might be fully appreciated by our critics, then it is believed that criticism might be kept down to the minimum.
There have been hardships and sorrows for all. There was scarcely a home in Buffalo County that was not vitally and personally interested in the war. Twenty-two soldiers of the county made the supreme sacrifice. So now that peace has again been restored--except for unsettled conditions in Russia, parts of Austria and Germany--it seems only just that the memory of those who died like real men, in the uniform of the United States soldier--some of them on the battlefield and more in hospitals--be honored by every patriot of Buffalo County. They are the men of whom the county can be proud--the men whose blood was sacrificed as Buffalo County's offering on the altar of democracy. They laid down their lives cheerfully for an ideal, and the memory of their unselfish service should be everlasting.