Local student qualifies for state

Local student qualifies for stateAfter winning first place in the district and regional contests for the Daughters of the American Revolution’s annual American History Essay Contest, local seventh-grader Mallory Cosner will advance, along with a small number of her peers in California, to the state level of competition. The topic for this year’s essay is “World War I: Remembering the War To End All Wars,” which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War.


‘The Great War’


It had been about a month since the war had ended. It was still strange to me, that I didn’t have to wake up at 5 am. and get to work. It became a habit for me. I still was up before the sun every morning to go to my job at the wharf in San Francisco.

My husband came back from the military. We were very blessed. My son, however, wasn’t so lucky. He lay on the battlefield, along with 11 million other soldiers. 53,402 American soldiers. I remember that list. I remember the heartbreak when I read the name Thomas Gunther. Yes, I remember.

All those men. The boys, the fathers, the sons. Almost everybody I knew were widows, or missing a family member. Black, everywhere I looked. Black clothes, black flags. All those poor girls who will never have a husband due to the decrease of men.

My husband had gone to work. My job. I had lost it when the war had ended. I had the job of a shipbuilder. I’d get up early and come home late, with splinters on my fingers and stress on my shoulders. It helped to know I was helping. That beautiful day my husband came home, I was sent home. I knew that was the way it was supposed to be. Still it made me feel helpless, like I was supposed to be doing something. Now, day to day, I just watch Jamie run around the yard.

Jamie was still these days. When she learned that Thomas, my son, had died, she didn’t understand. “Why did Daddy come back, but not Thomas?” she had asked. I often asked God that same question. Brilliant red poppies sat on our windowsill.

The war had blessed America in its own strange way. Our communication with other countries was better. We were also making a huge profit, for other countries’ factories had broken down because of war destruction in Europe. Ours weren’t. While they were rebuilding their factories, they borrowed supplies from us, not to mention food. We were slowly helping Europe build itself.

We were also slowly building progress with technology. The war had been the cause of that increase. We had built machine guns, war airplanes, and even tanks. That same technology could have been used for housekeeping objects, but when in war, people tend to forget about those things. Now, however, that same technology was made for household appliances. Manufacturers invented “credit,” in which people could pay a fraction of the cost for something, then slowly the rest of the price.

Still, in other ways, the war had left us in terrible shape. The price of everyday things, like food and clothes, raised to a point where our factories had begun to let workers go. I wasn’t terribly upset, but my dear friend, Elizabeth Key, certainly was. She and her husband, David Key, started a boycott two days ago. Fate sided with them. Many people joined, furious as well. It was quite a riot, and the police barely had it under control. After women left, there still weren’t a lot of jobs for men. That hurt a lot of my friends. A few friends of mine went into poverty. Another lost her husband and now is a widow with five children. I don’t know a single unbroken family.

It was true, the war had brought some good things. However, there were more downsides than accomplishments. It had left our country scared and frightened. To quote our president, Woodrow Wilson, “Once [we] lead this people to war, they will forget there ever was such a thing as tolerance ... the spirit of ruthless brutality will enter into the very fiber of our national life.” I hoped the world would never face a terror such as this again.

Story First Published: 2018-01-19