In 2003, 85 years after the armistice, it took Richard Rubin months to find just one living American Veteran of World War I. Then he found another, and another. Eventually, he managed to find dozens, aged 101 to 113, and interview them. A decade long odyssey to recover the story of a forgotten generation and their Great War led Rubin across the United States and France, through archives, private collections, battlefields, literature, propaganda, and even music.
At the center of it all were the last of the last, the men and women he met: a new immigrant, drafted and sent to France, whose life was saved by a horse; a Connecticut Yankee who volunteered and fought in every major American battle; a Cajun artilleryman nearly killed by a German airplane; an 18-year old Bronx girl drafted to work for the War Department; the 16-year old who became America’s last World War I veteran; and many, many more. Their stories will help create a public discussion about the effect of World War I.
Rubin will be speaking Saturday, June 10, at 7 PM at the Warner Town Hall located at 5 East Main Street in Warner. This program is part of World War I and America, a two-year national initiative of Library of America presented in partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National World War I Museum and Memorial, and other organizations, with generous support from The National Endowment for the Humanities.