This is Day 5 of Frank Zyber’s memories of WWI. This is the last in the series. If you’ve missed Day 1-4, you might want to click on the related articles. You won’t want to miss what I think is his visit to a cat house. Today’s recollection continues with Grandpa’s experience at Fort Custard.
It was a cold round ride and what seemed like ten mils before we reached a place that had what looked like new buildings and very dark everywhere. We were told to get off and find a building that was open and get in and make the most of it. We found one and after getting in and by the light of a match now and then we found a hot air furnace, but no fuel or beds. Looked around out of doors, but all we found was a stack of iron beds along side of the building and they were covered with ice and snow. They were of the folding type and had to be jerked, pulled and pried to get them apart and taken in and set up. No mattresses or covering of any kind and we
My grandfather, Frank Zyber, got recruited into the military band during WWI. These are his memories, typed by him when he was in his nineties. This week I transcribed them for all to read. Today, I added a few paragraph breaks just to make his writing a little easier for on-screen reading. If you are new with this post, please go back to the “related posts” to catch up on the Spanish flu and Grandpa joining the military. [The military band] was a group of forty two musicians and there were four of us in the tuba section and two…
Day 2 of a salute to Veterans. I am continuing with my grandfather’s words, as he wrote them when he was about 95 years old. He’s been gone many years now. I am so lucky his words live on. Sgt. W. Mills said that all military camps were quarantined and it would be weeks before any new draftees were taken in. We would be notified when the quarantine would be lifted. Sgt. W. Mills was pleased with the number of men that enlisted, and too, we had some top notch musicians, several that were members of the local Chevrolet Band.…
I am lucky. My grandfather, with much urging, memorialized some of his memories in a Kinko’s bound book. This week, I plan to share some of his thoughts leading up to and during World War I. The only title Grandpa gave his memoir is, “Researched, compiled and written by Frank N. Zyber” (No date, but as I remember, Grandpa was somewhere around 95 when he put fingers to keyboard and memorialized these memories.) I record his memories here, exactly as he did. Where I think clarification or context helpful, I added a few words in [brackets.] Starting on Page 56:…
“Yes,” I said. “I thought you looked like you might be…”
“Yes. You too, looked like you might be…”
We both laughed. And so we met at Flatlanders’, a local sandwich shop. He a retired Veteran; a pediatrician; a researcher; a father; a husband; and a man who goes toe to toe with Kathleen Sebalius on budget issues. Me, a retired quality professional in the FDA regulated industry; a mother; a wife; a new journalist; a newish writer; a woman awed by Kathleen Sebalius’s strong conviction at BlogHer 13.
We, Dr. Errol Alden and I sat over hot beverages as if we were old friends. Neighbors meandered in and back out, stopped to say hello and remind Dr. Alden about choir practice at the Methodist Church later that afternoon. On November 11, Dr. Alden will talk to the local High School students about Veterans’ Day.
Dr. Errol Alden, MD, FAAP, retired from a military career in 1987. He explains the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day to me: “Memorial Day is a time to remember those who died defending our country; Veterans’ Day is a time to consider what veterans contributed to their country.”
In 1938 Congress dedicated November 11 “to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.’” This new legal holiday honored the World War I veterans and the end of “The War to End All Wars.” In 1954, after both World War II and the Korean War, Congress changed “Armistice” to “Veterans,” and November 11 became a day to honor all American veterans of all wars.
Alden grew up one of seven children in a farming community; I the second of nine, in a similar farming community. We were both nerdy/geeky high-school students, he played the French horn, I the flute, in the marching band. We both participated in student government. We both loved our dairy cows. Dad helped me name my 4-H heifer, Lady Bird. Dr. Alden laughed at the obvious political joke my father interjected into my young life.
Alden went on to play in the Ohio State Marching Band where he graduated with an Agricultural Science degree. So how did he become a military pediatrician? Approaching graduation, Alden pondered aloud to his parents that he might be interested in medical school. They told fellow parishioners, who told friends, who told his classmates. By the time he got back to school, the news was out. He was going to medical school. Alden confesses, “I didn’t want to disappoint my parents.”
Alden became a military pediatrician. Besides treating children of service men and women, and children of Embassy officers, he taught at Madigan Army Medical Center, in Fort Willis, Washington, he served as chairman of Uniformed Services Health Sciences at Walter Reed and he helped establish pediatric standards of care.
Throughout his 25-year military career, Alden experienced many sociological changes. Before the Vietnam war, PTSS (Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome) was rarely recognized. “People cannot be in war without emotional strain.” It only took me seeing “The Deer Hunter” to appreciate the trauma of war. Even before I had a son, I hoped never to send one of mine to war.
Alden also saw the military go from draft-status to all-volunteer. This ushered in a shift in strategy. During the Vietnam War, soldier did one tour of combat duty; now, soldiers are re-deployed to war zones many times. Alden explains the difference between an all-volunteer and a draft military, “Citizens who have been to war are anxious to avoid it.” He an I are on the same page, once again.