Skip to main content

Fighting Two Wars at Once: The World War I Veterans of Quakertown

Why We Remember

By the summer of 1919 most of the troops from Denton County had returned home. On July 31st the Denton Record-Chronicle published a special 56-page edition of their newspaper that highlighted the soldiers from Denton County. No black soldiers from Quakertown were included.
 
 
On August 2nd a "Welcome Home Victory Picnic" was planned to celebrate the returning soldiers. Although the invitation says that “everyone was invited” it’s difficult to reconcile that with the realities that black veterans were facing. The greatest evidence of this is that the notice asked the returning troops to wear their uniform. During this time period, known as the Red Summer of 1919, black troops wearing a uniform were often the target of racial violence. It is possible, but very unlikely,  this invitation included the black soldiers. It is interesting to note that the invitation encourages citizens to bring a “well filled” basket to share with the soldiers for their picnic lunches. Earlier notices in the paper explain that each family in attendance will choose a soldier to sit with and share their picnic lunch.
 
 
Five years later, after the forced Quakertown removal, a similar notice is placed in the Dallas-Express. Fred Moore, a prominent leader in the black community, is hosting an event to "have our boys remembered." As part of the celebration the "ladies will carry well filled baskets and see to it that every soldier will be served."

 

 

 

In 2019, exactly 100 years after the welcome home picnic, Mark E. Meinecke wrote this letter to the editor of the Toronto Star. Hopefully this site helps us each to remember and appreciate the sacrifice of every veteran in every war.

 

 

 

Why We Remember

To remember not only the fallen, but the sacrifices made by the living who have experienced horrors that are simply beyond the comprehension of the non-indoctrinated.

To acknowledge the sacrifice made by the families of the fallen, and of all those who have served and who are still serving.

Because nobody ever truly comes home from war. Only a version of yourself returns — a haunted version whose very soul has been irreversibly stained by the realization that Satan is real and he does indeed cajole decent people into doing awful things.

War forever taints you. Witnessing a flagrant disregard for the sanctity of life is not something you can unsee. This stain affects every aspect of your civilian life, often for the rest of your life.

We remember our soldiers because they bear a terrible burden, so that others will never have to carry the painful weight of freedom.

To acknowledge the privilege we enjoy, of living in a peaceful country where our children can safely walk to school.

We remember, because we acknowledge that we can’t ever fully appreciate the sacrifices, so we remember in lieu of understanding.

We remember them because they cannot forget.

We remember them because we don’t carry the burden of becoming them.

November 9, 2019