100 Years Ago: America Takes Role in WWI


Last year, the American Legion of Weston Post 4 started searching for relatives of Lewis County residents who were Killed in Action (KIA) during Wold War I (WWI). The group was able to find relatives of two soldiers, Charles A. Hall and A. E. Puffenbarger, who were both KIA.
Forty-one Lewis County citizens were killed in action during WWI. There are currently two memorials dedicated to those who fought in WWI in Lewis County. One is on West Second Street on the bridge and the second is in the Louis Bennett Public Library. The library is also the home of the American Legion of Weston Post 4.
In commemoration of America’s involvement in WWI, The Weston Democrat with the help of Danny Gum Adjunct and Historian for the Weston American Legion, has decided to do a series throughout the year, recognizing the role that America and West Virginia played in WWI.
America remained neutral during the beginning stages of WWI, however their neutrality ceased when the Germans decided to resume the policy of unrestricted submarine warfare and the ‘Zimmerman telegram’ was intercepted which alluded to the formation of the an alliance between Germany and Mexico, which was later abandoned.
General John Pershing and the first American troops arrived in Paris in 1917, and made sure that it was known that American troops were not just a replacement for the British troops and they were their own entity, according to Gum.
“We played a large role in the war until the victory on Nov. 11, 1919,” said Gum.
Gum said that if you have interests in WWI a great website to visit is www.theworldwar.org/education. However, he cautions parents to be careful of what you allow your children to look at because some images may be graphic.
The Weston American Legion Post 4 is also donating two DVDs of the movie “War Horse” to the library and to Lewis County High School and one copy of “For Which it Stands” to the library. The Weston American Legion Post 4’s commander is James M. Dennison.


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