Emmett White And The “War To End All Wars”
This is my Grandfather, Emmett (NMN) White. This picture was taken as he was preparing for the “Great War”. As you can tell in the background, he was in the artillery. By the time I was born, Granddaddy White was already partially paralyzed from a stroke and had to use a cane. He speech was somewhat slurred and his habit of always chewing rock hard molasses “plug” tobacco (brass spittoon and all) didn’t help matters either.
He was born in North Carolina in 1895 and died when I was 14 in 1972. The one time he spoke of the Great War with me, he was telling me how he and his fellow soldiers were lobbing shells into the German lines in the spring of 1918 when they saw this cloud of dust in the horizon. They kept lobbing shells and looking at the dust until they suddenly realized that the cloud of dust was the entire German Army who had broken Allied lines in their last great push to win the war. I eagerly asked him what did he do (expecting a great tale of battle) and was stunned to hear him say “Hell, we did what we had to do, we dropped everything and ran like hell away from them!”
On such monumental decisions, future generations fates are decided. From what I read about the great last push of the German Imperial Army in 1918, he made the right decision.
Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you was the lesson that day. Below is a picture of Granddaddy and few of his fellow warriors taken in Nice, France post war in 1919. He is in the rear row, second from the right. Granddaddy White said the French were the “dirtiest damn people” he had ever met.
This is his wife (Grandmama White) Hannah Hutchins White. She was born in 1900 and died in 1974. Together she and Granddaddy had six sons, two of which were Honest-to-God War Heros in WWII. All six served in the military.
My Father, Emmett Royce White, MD did his time in the Army right after Med School. I was born in Ft. Jackson Army Hospital in South Carolina. I’m Emmett Royce White, Jr. and my son is Emmett Royce White III. He has a cousin whose middle name is Emmett.
For my Grandfather and his “Band of Brothers” I respectfully ask Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Reid reconsider the decision to not let Frank Buckles lie in state in the Rotunda. This is our final chance to say goodbye to the generation that fought in the “Great War” and provided the backbone (and the lives of their children) for the effort in WWII.
It’s history. Don’t waste the chance to savoir and honor it.