WWI stamps get seal of approval from vet’s daughter in Lincoln, NE
By Dennis Buckley
via the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper (NE) web site
Every postage stamp Charlotte Harper affixes to an envelope reminds her of her father’s military service a century ago.
Charlotte Harper, a 93-year-old Lincoln woman and the only surviving child of Martin and Winnie Layton, says the “World War I – Turning the Tide” postal stamps provide fond memories of her father’s service a century ago. DENNIS BUCKLEY PHOTOAnd for someone who’s always felt that wartime veterans never seem to get as much recognition as they deserve, that is a very satisfying feeling indeed.
When the U.S. Postal Service unveiled the “World War I – Turning the Tide” stamps last year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, the stamps tugged at the heartstrings of the 93-year-old Lincoln woman. Charlotte is the lone surviving child of Martin and Winnie Layton of Hastings.
“I’ve never felt that veterans of that war ever got the recognition that they so richly deserved,” said Charlotte. “When I heard these stamps were coming out, I said, ‘Wow … finally, a perk!’ Dad would love these.”
Charlotte Harper has always been proud of her father’s record of service in World War I. But there was always something that dampened her enthusiasm: a feeling that WWI veterans were underappreciated.
Historians agree. They say a majority of the more than 2 million Americans who fought in the war a century ago struggled to readapt to normal life. They returned to a life of Prohibition, complicated social attitudes toward war veterans, and financial struggles. Most received only a few weeks’ wages after returning to home soil.
Martin Layton was always reluctant to share much of his military past with Charlotte and his four other children. Charlotte, now a 93-year-old Lincoln resident and the sole survivor among five daughters born to Martin and Winnie Layton, said her father enlisted at age 19. He served at Fort Preble, Maine, and later with the Battery E 72nd Artillery in Paris.
Grateful for safety
Charlotte was grateful that her father’s military experience allowed him to experience faraway places – and to return home safe and well. Several other members of the Layton family who also served in WWI were not as fortunate.
“Two of Dad’s brothers also served in World War I,” she said. “Uncle John was killed in an armored tank – and is buried in France – and uncle Frank developed malaria while in the service.”
Statisticians report WWI claimed the lives of 117,465 Americans during the roughly one year of involvement.
Martin Layton lived in the Hastings area, working on farms, selling horses, and later working as a gas station attendant for a filling station owned by Terry Carpenter, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a 22-year member of the Nebraska Legislature. Martin Layton died in 1969.
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Diana Vice, with the Daughters of the American Revolution, speaks next to a newly placed headstone over Leonard Inman's grave Thursday in Lafayette. The World War I veteran was buried in an unmarked grave in 1973.
African American WWI veteran finally receives permanent headstone
By the Associated Press, via the Indiana Journal-Gazette newspaper
LAFAYETTE – A black soldier who was buried in an unmarked Indiana grave is getting proper recognition for his military service in World War I nearly a half-century after his death.
The memorial for Leonard Inman, who died in 1973, Saturday at Spring Vale Cemetery in Lafayette and featured a 21-gun salute, the retiring of colors and taps by the American Legion Post 492, the Journal and Courier reported.
Inman, whose name is spelled “Inmon” in the 1919 Tippecanoe County World War I Honor Roll book, served during the war in the 809th Pioneer Infantry, Company C.
The General de Lafayette Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution has installed a headstone for Inman, which the cemetery paid for in commemoration.
Born in 1893 in Knoxville, Tennessee, Inman moved with his family to Lafayette in 1908. He enlisted into service 10 years later. As an African American, he was not permitted to engage in direct combat.
Since the American military was not desegregated until 1948, Inman likely served under French command, according to the chapter's research. Following the war, he returned to Lafayette and worked for the Murdock family, one of the well-known families living in the area at the time. In 1943, he started working for Alcoa to assist with the war effort in producing aluminum, staying there until 1958. He had no children and died Nov. 25, 1973, in his home after suffering an apparent heart attack.
Diana Vice, the chapter's vice regent, said she discovered that Inman had no headstone after purchasing the honor roll book that only includes a small section, in the very back, delegated to the county's 18 black soldiers. She contacted the county's Veterans Services office, which paid for the stone.
“We just can't let his memory be forgotten,” Vice said. “I just think that we need to honor them. (African American soldiers are) relegated to the back of this history book in 1919. I felt like he deserved one, and his memory needs to be kept alive and honored for his service and sacrifice.”
Read more: African American WWI veteran finally receives permanent headstone