Sunday, September 23, 2007

Gold Star Honor Roll - Preface

In February 1921, the Indiana Historical Commission published "Gold Star Honor Roll: A Record of Indiana Men and Women Who Died in The Service of the United States and The Allied Nations in The World War 1914-1918. " A brief biography of each of the 3,354 men and 15 women from Indiana who died while in service during World War I, as well as a photograph - if one was available - was published. This, the first post in this series, will include the preface and message from the book. The next post will be the introduction from the book.

There were 20 men from Whitley County included in the book. They will each have their own page here at Whitley County Kinexxions. In addition to the picture and the brief biography in the book, their obituary or death notice from the local newspaper will be included here. To view all posts in this series, click on the "Gold Star Honor Roll" label at the bottom of the posts. Thanks to Meredith Thompson for scanning the pictures, transcribing the biographies and submitting them for use here.

Gold Star Honor Roll: A Record of Indiana Men and Women Who Died in The Service of the United States and The Allied Nations in The World War 1914-1918 (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Commission, 1921)


The Indiana Historical Commission was authorized by an act, introduced by Senator Oscar Ratts of Paoli, Indiana, and passed during the Seventy-second session of the General Assembly, to present this copy of the Gold Star volume to you in memory of one of the heroes who gave his life for his country's cause.

Three thousand three hundred and fifty-four sons and fifteen daughters from Indiana paid the supreme sacrifice while serving with the American and allied forces during the World War. The story of their heroism and their devotion to duty which led them on to death comprises one of the most sacred chapters in all Indiana History.

In future years the records of these heroes, linked with those of the defenders of our Union, will be the great fountain source of inspiration for the children of Indiana.

On behalf of the Indiana Historical Commission, acting as the agent of the state, I take pleasure in presenting this volume to you.

Warren T. McCray
Governor of Indiana,
June 14, 1921
To Indiana's Gold Stars
''Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for' his friends." How forcibly do these immortal words, uttered by the Man of Galilee nearly two thousand years ago, bring home to us the patriotism and love of country of the three thousand three hundred and fifty-four sons and fifteen daughters of Indiana who laid down their lives for their neighbors and friends, for their country and civilization.

If we knew the exact circumstances surrounding the final moments of each life, words could not paint the story nor recount the depth of the sacrifice made by these heroes of ours. We can only say that when the honor of the flag and the cause of humanity was at stake they freely gave their lives.

Thousands upon hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers in their daily vocations and in every civilian war activity, in training camp, and on the battle field, were striving for America in the great World War. Of this number, less than four thousand were called upon to sacrifice their lives. It is by way of tribute to these that this book has been created.

We will look upon it as a memorial to Indiana's dead in the World War, and such it is; but a more lasting memorial has been erected in the hearts of their neighbors and their friends, a memorial that will endure long after this book shall have perished, and will be handed down from generation to genera­tion so long as Hoosier hearts beat true to the music of our American ideals.

As we turn the pages of Indiana's Gold Star Book we will catch something of the inspiration which led these boys and girls on, something of the heroism that steeled their nerves in the hour of trial. If we can feel this, if we can understand how great the sacrifice by the families and friends of these fallen ones, we will be better Americans than we have been before, and will not our­selves, nor permit others, if in our power to prevent, to lay careless or unfriendly hands upon the institutions of our country.

I wish I were able to say that which is in my heart in tribute to these fallen heroes of ours, that I might in some way lighten the burden of those who mourn their loss. They were sons and daughters worthy of the men and women of Indiana of other days.

By their sacrifice they have shown to the world that American manhood and womanhood is just as brave as in the early days of the Republic. They died for us and for our country. Let each one of us so live and so serve the state and nation as to preserve and make better the institutions for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.

James P. Goodrich
Executive Office.
Indianapolis, December 2, 1920

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