WWI Statewide Database, Exhibit aims to bring new life to century old war
By Ethan Colbert
When Springfield’s Greene County Public District began its World War I project in 2012, Local History and Genealogy Department Manager Brian Grubbs viewed the roster of Missouri’s 156,000 World War I veterans as a seemingly endless list of names.
Five years later, Grubbs is beginning to see more than just the names of the men and women who left their homes to go and fight in a war half a world away. He is beginning to see them as the people whose lives were interrupted from the fallout of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the ensuing war in Europe.
By the time this statewide project concludes sometime in the distant future, Grubbs hopes that he and his fellow Missourians will have been able to learn the story of each veteran from enlistment or conscription in the armed services to their days of fighting in the trenches of some of the most iconic battles of World War I, to the lives they built in Missouri after returning from the war front.
“I would really like to see photographs of each veteran,” Grubbs said. “I know with 156,000 soldiers that it is perhaps not realistic, but I would like to know more of their own individual stories.”
To accomplish this feat, the Springfield Green County Public Library District forged partnerships with several organizations throughout the state
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