The First World War affected the lives of millions, creating collective memories of hardships, uncertainty, political tension, and animosity toward foreign enemies. In the United States, World War I was a turning point in the nation’s growth and development, but on a smaller scale it was a critical historical moment in the individual lives of the veterans who served. This research project showcases the experiences of the Jackson Purchase’s WWI veterans with an emphasis on their perceptions during the war, their reasons for enlisting, the countless once-in-a-lifetime experiences they had along the way, the hardships they faced, and the remarkable clarity of their memory years after the fact. Regardless of their race, religious beliefs, or hometowns, the Purchase’s WWI veterans were linked through their strong sense of duty, love for their families, and attachment to their homes. The project is primarily based on the oral history collections of Murray State’s Pogue Special Collections Library, notably the Jackson Purchase Oral History Project’s interviews, conducted in the late 1970s and 1980s, of octogenarian WWI veterans. Their memories of the war and accounts of life in the Purchase Area in the early twentieth century are strikingly clear and well-delivered considering the interviewees’ advanced age. The remarkable uniqueness of Pogue Library’s WWI oral history collection served as the inspiration for this project.



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