Veteran (Army JAG Corps, 1966 - 1972) and Class of 1965 alumnus Frank Blue is a self-described history buff with a special interest in World War I. As the 100-year anniversary of Armistice Day approached this year, Frank planned a trip to visit battle sites across Europe. Following his trip, he compiled what he refers to as a commentary on everything he observed, and what he feels that war in particular should mean to Americans. An excerpt from the piece follows:
"World War I was the greatest, conflict – driven catastrophic world event up until 1939. This was so on many levels, apart from the sheer loss of life. It is fair to say that, but for that conflict, we would not have – for better or worse – the world we have today. Having that notion rolling around in my head, driven by curiosity and a desire to determine how and why this conflict was so brutal, wondering about its ongoing effects, and recognizing the importance of this Centenary period, I set out to visit as many of the major, Western Front (Belgium and France) historic sites, memorials, battlefields, commemoratives and cemeteries as I could, given the time I had...
"As I planned my trip I wondered: In the United States in 2017, who among us “knows” about World War I, why, how and when America fought in it, what were the causes for which this War was fought, and what is its continuing significance to citizens of the United States? Do most or many Americans know how catastrophic a conflict it was, and not just in purely human terms? Being American, I thought in terms of other Americans but how similar or dissimilar are our attitudes to those of, say, our major allies in that conflict, the British and the French?"
Read the full commentary.