A trip to an area exhibit will take you back in time, and it could introduce you to a family war hero you never knew.
A World War I uniform, complete with a pouch holding a gas mask are among the memorabilia on display by the Bedford County Historical Society. You’ll see weapons from both sides, souvenirs collected by soldiers, letters written from the front, and even music families at home were singing about the war effort.
“Can you believe a lot of this was kept. It was passed down from a sense of pride,” says Gillian Leach, the historical society’s executive director.
Posters from the time tout the war effort and panels created by Larry Smith explain the stages of the conflict.
He says, “it was a terrible form of warfare akin to sniper warfare and so in that sense, we wanted it to be more than just names and dates and certain aspects like that. We want people to understand it was a terrible thing that people went through.”
With its tanks, airplanes, flame-throwers, mustard gas, and grenades, he says it was the beginning of modern warfare.
At the exhibit, you’ll find the names of all Bedford County residents who served in the war. Many of the surnames are still common in the area. Leach says if visitors aren’t familiar with their family trees, the historical society can use its genealogical records to find out if one of the soldiers is a relative.