Browse Exhibits (2 total)
On April 6, 1917 the United States of American entered World War One when Congress approved a declaration of war against the German Empire.
Many across the country had argued for war because of German attacks on American shipping, attempts by the German government to ally with other nations against us, and because of perceived German atrocities in Europe.
However noble these principles were, Shenandoah County’s citizens mainly felt fear when war was declared. Residents were afraid for their fathers, brothers, and sons who would have to fight and die oversees. Local men also felt fear, fear for their families who would be left behind, fear of travelling to a foreign land when most had never left the region, and fear of death.
Despite this many locals responded to the call, most because of a sense of duty to report when ordered by the draft board. While we are unsure exactly how many served, based on national averages somewhere between 600 and 1000 county residents went off to war.
Those who did become part of the Armed Forces were subject to a wide array of experiences. Some stayed in the states serving in various essential ways. Others deployed oversees. Many saw combat in bloody battles in France and Belgium. A few even went on to be a part of the force occupying Germany.
After the fighting stopped, those serving were demobilized and sent home. They returned and tried to resume their prewar lives as quickly as possible. Most never talked about their experiences even though their war service certainly influenced their lives. Today, none remain to share their story.
This exhibit helps us understand just how strong an individual’s service in World War One may have influenced their life.
On December 7th, 1941 the United States of America entered the Second World War. Over the course of the next four years millions of Americans would become warriors and fight around the globe. Over 400,000 of them would die while serving.
Several hundred Shenandoah County residents became part of the Armed Forces. They served in almost every branch of the military and in combat theatre. Many never came home.
Local photographer Hugh Morrison captured images of these local warriors in his studio on Court Street in Woodstock. Often these soldiers, sailors, and marines had their photograph taken after completing their training or before deployment. They were usually photographed in their dress uniforms and usually had a joyful expression. Several appear alongside sweethearts, spouses, parents, or other family members.
A few of these images are of service members who died during the war. These photographs, usually the last showing these individuals, would have been cherished by their families.
The pictures displayed here help us remember local residents who served our country during this conflict. Help commemorate them by discovering their story and commenting on your experience.