Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Pittsburgh and the World War, 1914-1918

The souvenir publication, Pittsburgh and the World War 1914-1918, can be viewed in the HathiTrust Digital Library and contains many photographs of Pittsburgh soldiers. Here are a couple of paragraphs from the booklet:

"From the high up places of Pittsburgh's loftiest skyscrapers a ton or more of confetti, small bits of paper and streamers of paper floated and fluttered to the streets below. A snowstorm of the white and red and blue fragments filled the air. The streets began to fill with merrymakers as the news was flashed about the city and its environs by newspapers, by word of mouth, by telephone and all other means of communication. Like wildfire the word spread that the armistice had been signed and the Huns had, in effect, laid down down their arms in ignominious recognition that to struggle further world be useless.

Parades formed as offices, stores, shops and mills were abandoned. Bells clanged loudly and to the din, which almost drowned the shouts of the populace were added the sound of many bands playing, the measured tolling of the bell on old City Hall, pounded in turns by men with a sledgehammer; the shrieking of sirens and mill whistles, the deep screeching of steamboat whistles and the booming and cracking of guns and other weapons in the air."

My great-uncle, George Stenglein, is one Pittsburgh soldier who didn't return, didn't see the parade, and didn't hear the cheers. As I looked at some of the photos in this book, I wondered if my grandmother and her parents cried when they heard others celebrating, since their hearts had to be breaking that George  wasn't coming home.

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