Oct 30, 2021
The soldier who fired the first American shot during World War I was a Hoosier. Because initial reports from France did not include the soldier’s name, they only indicated that he was from South Bend. A media frenzy ensued in October 1917 to determine his identity, with widespread misinformation that was repeated for years.
Also in 1917, a nurse who had been born on a farm near Elkhart signed up with the American Red Cross to treat wounded soldiers at a military hospital in France. She became accustomed to nursing soldiers who had been injured by gas, a new form of warfare in World War 1. About 60 percent of the hospital’s patients suffered from gas-related injuries; in many cases, their lungs and respiratory systems were barely functioning.