Tuesday, January 22, 2008
AEF Doughboy in Battle
"I have finally seen what I came over for, and a lot more besides--war, real war, stripped of glory. For what chance has a man against a shell? And how does the awful suffering of trench life compare to the thrilling battles of the Revolution? I don't mean that it doesn't take ten times the nerve and the endurance, but there's the rub, for we have become machines, not men. I know that God will protect us over here, but you realize how absurdly weak and helpless you are when a load of dead are brought in, some with arms and legs gone, others with heads and trunks mixed together; and quite often you learn there wasn't anything left to bring." ---Julian H. Bryan, from Ambulance 464, World War I
"You who have never seen the horrors of war, who have never seen a man disappear, literally blown to atoms, on being struck by a shell; who have never heard the shrieks of wounded human beings, who have never heard the hysterical laughter of a man as he gazes at the stump where his hand was a moment ago, who have never heard the cries, the groans, the swearing, the praying of men with festering wounds, lying in the first aid station, waiting too long and in vain for ambulances; who have never witnessed the terror of those men when the aid station is gassed and there are no gas masks, who have never seen convalescents, totally blind and with both hands amputated above the wrist--can you say that we should stop at anything in order to prevent this frightfulness, this savagery, this horror from occurring again?"
---Letter dated March 18, 1919 from Wyman Richardson, a wounded soldier, to the editor of the New York Times.