Beaverton Historical Society
Gladwin County Obituary/Death Notice
William T. McKenna

   Showing the lofty ideals of William McKenna as a soldier, the following extracts from a letter to his mother written by him while on the firing line in France, and publishe in the Gladwin County Record in August, 1918, were read by Father Van Colen:

   "The U.S. is no longer behind the screen, but is now in the thickest of the fight and daily adding new glory to our glorious past. All America can well be proud of their boys whose privilege it was to be at Cntigny and thereabout: of course some fell, but their lives are not lost, merely invested in freedom's cause, and I know that all who did make the greatest sacrifice that man can, die so willingly, and America may feel sure that thousands of more over here will do so as willingly if it be necessary."

   Speaking of cruelties---"but, over here we are closer to it and can ourselves see what the noble French and their allies have suffered at least have seen enough to make our fighting blood run faster even than it did the day we volunteered. I do not see how nay young man who knows right from wrong can sit back while daily his fellow countrymen fight, yeaw, and even die for that liberty and freedom which all in America enjoy and which we as a nation will give to the entire world for all times.

   "A few days ago it was my privilege to attend a very impressive military funeral. In fact, it was the most impressive sight, I ever expect to witness. In a village graveyard, within the range of enemy's guns, two soldiers were laid to rest; one was a comrade and one an enemy (a Boche) who had a few hours before killed him adn in turn he himself was killed. A priest in uniform said the same words over both, the same firing squad fired the military salute for both. If we cannot respect a live enemy (boche) we can show our respect for a dead one even if we know that if we should fall within their lines no such respect would be given us. but you may be sure that we shall always be men at least.

   Representatives of American Legion posts at Gladwin and Beaverton occupied a prominent place in the assemblage, and participated in military services at the grave in charge of Lieutenant Budge of Beaverton, in addition to services conducted by Father Van Colen. The pallbearers were B. C. Wilmot, Orlen Wagar, J. C. Shaffer, Eldon Capling, John F. Englehardt comrades in the World war.

   William T. McKenna was born in Grout township in May, 1897, and at his death was in his 27th year. He was a graduate of the Gladwin high school, class of 1917, and was one of the first Gladwin boys to volunteer after the declaration of war with Germany in 1917, and was a member of Co. G. 128th Infantry, A. E. F., in which he saw service on the battlefield of Chateau Thiery, under command of Major Gansser, who visits to Gladwin has given him special praise. After returning from the war in May 1919 Mr. McKenna spent some time with his mother and the family in Gladwin, and organized Ralph Wright post of American Legion here, of which he was the first commander and at the time of his death honorary commander.

   His health failing him he went to New Mexico for relief in November, 1919, and at the time of his death was in the hospital at Fort Bayard. His father, John F. McKenna of Flint, sisters Miss Mary E. McKenna of Gladwin and Mrs. Roseanna ....

Personal Information
Death Date
Burial/Final Location
Highland Cemetery, Gladwin, MI
32nd Red Arrow Div. Co. M. WWI
Publication Information
Pub. Date
Pub. Page
Gladwin County Record, Gladwin, MI
P:1 C:2
Transcription Information
Transcribed by
Source Media
January 2005
Tom Ladner
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