EATON — World War I — also known as the War to End all Wars — started in July of 1914, but the United States stayed strictly neutral until they were forced to join in 1917.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the United States’ intervention into the first World War.
For months, the Preble County District Library has been compiling information on Preble County residents who fought in the war. This research ultimately culminated in a program held on Saturday, Nov. 18.
The program focused on the connections between Preble County and the war and featured a presentation entitled, “World War I on the Ohio Homefront,” by Susan Talbot-Stanaway.
She explained she had worked with WWI posters early on in her career and then later had run into more posters in another job.
“Posters are wonderful ways of learning, not just of the war, but also of the people in that time period and how they lived,” she said, before explaining that posters would be the focus of her talk. “They mirrored both what people were doing and what they hoped to be doing. Posters showed how people felt about the climate.”
There was also a man who spoke about his father who was a part of the Royal Navy.
“We found Talbot-Stanaway on the Ohio Humanities speaker list and we chose her because she does programs on WWI and specifically on Ohio during WWI. We thought that would pertain better to Preble County,” Angie Getter, Supervisor for the Preble County Room, added.
“As for the gentleman who spoke, his father was a part of the Royal Navy. We thought that would be interesting, because you don’t often here that side of the story.You hear often on the homeland and general war stuff, but not on other places and how they were effected.”
In addition to the presentations, there were documents set up throughout the meeting room that honored and showed Preble County’s sacrifices.
Getter said, “Today we are talking about WWI on the Ohio Homefront. We brought some of our WWI documents. The books on the back table are a project we have been working on for months, but ever single person who was born or lived in Preble County will be in that book.
“We have a lot of newspaper clippings, letters that were put in newspaper, and other documents that will be put with those people. Right now we just wanted to be sure we got their names in the book. If you know of any WWI veterans from Preble County, you might want to come down and see us, because we do have more stuff.”
As for why the Preble County Room decided to honor this anniversary, Getter said they had previously put together books for all other wars, except WWI.
“We have done these books on veterans for all the other wars, and we thought that November would be the perfect time to present the book on WWI,” she explained. “We also got to honor this anniversary. ”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH