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The guns of World War I fell silent 100 years ago today when the Allies accepted Germany’s surrender aboard a railway carriage in France’s Compiègne Forest.
Although the war started in 1914, the United States didn’t get involved in the fighting until 1917, when German submarines began attacking American merchant ships.
By the end of the war, an estimated 8.53 million combatants died on both sides. Another 21.2 million were wounded, and 7.75 million were listed as missing in action.
Seventy-two of the more than 2,000 Washington County residents who were drafted or enlisted to serve during the war never came home. They either died overseas or in American hospitals of ailments that were common at the time.
During and shortly after the war, The Morning Herald — The Herald-Mail’s predecessor — published stories about county men who served as a way to localize the conflict.
Such was the case of Hagerstown resident C. Olga Burk.
“Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Burk, 155 S. Mulberry St., received a telegram from the War Department stating that their son, Corporal C. Olga Burk, of Company A, Fourth Infantry, was officially reported as having been killed in action on October 21,” The Morning Herald reported. “It will be recalled that this young man volunteered his services on November 24th, 1917.
“He had been on the front line in France at intervals since May 1st of this year. Previous to being on the firing line, he went through a school of instructions and passed a first-class examination as a gas expert for Company A. Corporal Burk was 22 years of age on his last birthday, and was held in high esteem by all who knew him. His death is a great shock to his family.”
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice, Herald-Mail Media has compiled several newspaper clippings that were published at the time to show how the war was reported a century ago.