As we pass 100 years since the end of World War I and are combatting a pandemic, I’ve been thinking about my great-uncle Daniel Brackett Newcomer who died on January 31, 1918. Daniel was a student at Bates College but wanted to enlist, and sent numerous letters to his father for permission, which technically he did not need, but greatly desired. I am fortunate to have the originals of these letters. He wrote: “I see now that I can’t feel right unless I do something to directly help out our country while she is fighting for our rights and home. Please try to see how I feel…for I could enjoy life in the trenches, in the air, or anywhere, if you would just give your consent.” My great-grandfather consented and Daniel enlisted. Less than three months later Daniel was buried in our family plot in Harpers Ferry, West Va. with a simple stone that includes his name, dates, and only one inscription: PATRIOT.
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