New book shares WWI letters home to mother

Well-known writer and local historian Pat O'Neill has a new book out sharing wonderful letters from WWI soldier Sgt. George Wiegert home to his mother.

Sgt. George Wigert

Sgt. George Wigert

The book "Dearest Mother: Letters from a Lonesome Sammy 1915-1919" shares some of the 223 letters the young man wrote home to his mother as he entered the Army and found himself on the the front lines in France.

The young man, who grew up in rural Nebraska before moving to Lincoln, shares the dreams and fears of an intrepid youth who volunteered to be a "Sammy" - an American soldier who participated in the war to end all wars.

The book contains copies of the personal letters, reviewed by wartime censors, along with great photographs and illustrations that bring the story of World War I to life by focusing on the experiences of a Midwestern youth.

In October 1917, the young solider wrote his mother from France:

"This old Army has taught me quite a bit that I thought I knew, and also how much I don't know, but I hope my course will be short as an enlisted man, but if combat is combat I will do my duty," he wrote.

"What I have seen of the trenches so far don't worry me. After you get to soldiering and doing the usual routine you sort of forget that you are more or a less a small bolt on a big machine, and what is to be holds no worry or forethought, only that it has to be done."

Copies of the book are available online or calling (816) 444-1248.