A personal essay by Valerie J. Young, February 2017
My grandfather, Chester Allen Bower, served as a Private in the U.S. Army’s 79th Division, which took part in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive from September to November 1918… My grandfather was not wounded in the war, but he reported being gassed very close to the Armistice, around November 3. This gassing was thought to have contributed to long-term health issues over the 20 years after he returned home… Growing up, my siblings and I learned the story of Chester being gassed in the war and dying young, but we knew more about our grandmother and her side of the family than we did the Bower side…
In the attached two-part article (below), Valerie Young tells of her pilgrimage–in conducting research and in battlefield touring–to discover the details of her maternal grandfather’s experiences during the Great War, and how those experiences affected his post-war life. It is hoped that her journey and writing will serve as an inspiration to others who are conducting similar pilgrimages.
The Webmaster chose to format the article as a two-part.pdf file; and that choice was determined by a few factors. First, the Webmaster’s host company makes it difficult to upload documents larger than 2MB; and the combined article exceeded that limit. Second, the Webmaster thought it best to use Valerie’s already-tidy format rather than to rely on his limited format abilities.