Wartime witness

Nov 19, 2018 by

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I was interested in the Oct. 22 History column by Rich Preheim, with a picture of Mennonite conscientious objectors in World War I. My father was not in the picture, but he was at Fort Riley, Kan., at that time and worked as a cook. I remember him telling two stories of that experience. One was that when frying the potatoes he accidentally used soap instead of lard. They quickly buried the potatoes and peeled a new batch. The second story was that a lower-level officer decided they were going to shoot all the COs, so he made them strip naked, get in a line and then, instead of shooting them, hosed them down with cold water. Years later this group had a reunion. My dad attended. He told me that the military officer in charge of Fort Riley was invited, attended, spoke to the group and expressed how much he admired them for their courage in living their faith during this time of war.

Denzel Short
Westland, Mich.

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