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Havoc of War Vividly Described by One of the Boys in France

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Interesting Account of the recent fighting and destruction of Country.

With the A.E.F. France, July 24, 1918
Dear Friends:
Having a little spare time thot I would devote a few minutes to letting the folks know I am over here and still safe.
I was just noltifed of Palmer Adwell’s death, and I want to let the people of Renville and surrounding country know that if anyone of the A.,E.F. fought a harder fight or deserves more credit than him, I don’t know who it was. Palmer was good man and gave his life like many of his comrades, with a smile on his face when he died. He was one of the boys who was in, I believe, the best fighting regiment in France, and he gave his life for a cause that was worhty and all of the boys in the A.E.F. are sure not afraid of the sacrifice after what they have seen over here. There is not a single man in the A.E.F. but what would lay down his life to keep the Hun from invading our own country.
Many time I have thot of giving a small description of war, but always made up my mind that we could not picture the destruction and sacrifice that there is in war. But never-the-less, today I am going to try and give a few little scenes that I have witnessed a few weeks back. There was quite a little French town filled with the refugees of war. They were engaged in raising garden and trying hard to keep their soldiers fed. Today after the Germans had driven through there and had been in this town for a couple of weeks, the Americans drove them back out of the town and what did we find in their town? We found that these Huns had blown up the town and there was nothing left but a pile of rock, and was not but a few weeks back a peaceful farming town. Have seen this in not only one case but hundreds.
Think for a moment over our own beautiful little city if the Huns should ever invade the United States and would reach our town, would you not be ready to fight till you died if you came back and all you found was a smoking pile of embers and a pile of stone, not a single building left standing, and plundered and robbed. Even the railroad track tore up and taken away. To add to all this if some of the people could not get out in time they would perhaps be laying dead in the streets, or what once was streets. And then again I have passed over fields where a few days before was beautiful wheat, today there are shell holes every six feet and the wheat is tramped in the ground. I have been in a woods where there is not a single tree but what was torn to pieces by artillery fire where it would have been impossible for a fly to live there. There was hardly a tree left standing. To know the destruction of war, one must be on the very front, as within a couple of weeks after an advance is made, the country sends in vast numbers of working men and cleans and revies the country in a short time, but if you see the country the way I have seen it you can never forget it.
The spirit of the A.E.F. is always showing up. To go away from the destruction for a few moments will tell a few little notes I made during one of the battles. As I glanced up a road leading to the infantry line I noticed two soldiers, one a Marine, the other a doughboy of some regiment. They both staggered as I met them and grabbed the Marine by the arm and set him on the litter and started to work on him as he was wounded slightly and had bled a good bit, and as I finished up, a soldier taps me on the back, and asked me to look at the other man, the doughboy who had led the Marine and mostly a mile and what I find that the doughboy was wounded and had fainted away. As I brought him too he said, “That is alright, never mind me, fix up the Marine, I’m alright” and then away he went again, and at last I brought him around, he looks me in the eye and asks, “How is the Marine, is he alright? fix him first.” I then assured him the Marine was alright and went ahead and fixed him up and sent them both to the hospital in the same ambulance.
And then again I saw a German shell come tearing over and hit a tree and the tree fell. Under the tree, as the smoke cleared away, there were two men pinned to the ground, and as a couple of men grabbed axes to chop them out, another shell came over, hitting so close that it killed the man who was swinging the ax, and it only made the men work harder, and by the time they got the two men out, four shells lit close but only the one man was killed and none hurt. This will show you how the boys stick together, and are not afraid of anything.
Well, my time is short and I am going to close hoping for a speedy end of this war. And people don’t forget, for it is the wishes of the A.E.F. that Palmer Adwell should be honored, and to do so try in every way possbile to show respect to his name and don’t mourn him, but make his name a battle cry and work and wage war on the Pro-German at home, and with the battle cry remember Palmer Adwell, and we will in the end whip the Hun, and then we will have had our revenge on them.
Your friend, Claire E. Brooks, 17 F.A.M.D.-A.E.F.