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Fondly Remembering Floy, Our WWI Hero

Updated on September 18, 2017
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth is a natural-born southerner and grew up his entire life in the south where he has resided now for 63 years in Hamilton, Al.,

Introduction

I should warn you now that (some) phrases in the following two paragraphs although the truth, may be offensive to more-sensitive readers.

This piece, WWI, is simply presented, not lifted to high praises by the dark and light powers behind the veil of life who governs such as these bloody events. I do not want you to misunderstand. I love my country and do not apologize. But it's in the mechanics of how wars are planned and hellish, unspeakable things committed by those of the higher-up, miliiary thinkers who pull the triggers that makes me wonder (sometimes) if wars are really needed in order for civil-minded nations to live a peaceful place in the universe. Or maybe, if someone with a good supply of humble learning from God's eternal wisdom might approach a more peaceful way to solve problems (of our own doing) without shedding innocent blood?

World War I, WWI, Satan's Teenage Years aka/ the First World War, the Great War, or the War to End All Wars, was a global scrap coming to life in Europe that went from July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918. More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilized in one of the largest wars in history. Over nine million combatants and seven million civilians died as a result of the war (including the victims of a number of genocides), a casualty rate exacerbated by the belligerents' technological and industrial sophistication, and the tactical stalemate caused by gruelling trench warfare.

Sadly, None of These WWI Military Medical Personnel are Floy Glenn.

Simpson (centre) with his donkey transporting a soldier with a leg wound heading to a medical post.
Simpson (centre) with his donkey transporting a soldier with a leg wound heading to a medical post. | Source

It's, I Think, our Free Wills

that are to blame. We (are able to) do whatever or whenever we want without as much as asking what's the harm? I'll tell you the harm. When I looked up the few basic facts about WWI, I turned sick to my stomach. No. Not that I am a Senior Flower Child getting high from Geritol. When people kill other people, I react like this. Sick. A type of sick that when the (above two paragraphs) are condensed into my own words, they will read: WWI, an Extension of The Devil cloaked in two coats: One of Truth and the other of Power. The two in this case could not exist in the same hemisphere--so turn loose Satan's War Machine that is fueled by military and civilian blood.

WWI really condensed to the barest of facts can be thought of as bloodshed, innocent blood shed so deep that the tongues of shoes lapped it in Trench Warfare, a stinking lot of human excrement, cuts, artillery amputations, sweating profusely (with their own blood) and men fainting from dehydration, no food, no water, no life but theirs to protect with very little help from the superior officers. Bloodshed. Needless bloodshed. This is how WWI can be defined.

And This Early, Ugly

four-year legal murderama, WWI, (need I remind you again?) where a short, frail man who I knew, Mr. Floy Glenn, Hamilton, Ala., fought in this war that was similar to the plagues--the gnats, flies, and frogs that God sent to Pharoah. Right now, I am hating to write this ugly account of Floy's time in the urine soaked trenches, diseases, shell (and eardrum) bursts, and crawling to save a comrade who was bleeding his young life away. But that was how Floy was in the real face of morbid death: fearless than the books and films about WWI ever told. Hollywood then or ever can never make us feel this pain and desperation felt by Mr. Floy, his comrades and even the young German soldiers who is asked if they enjoyed war, would use several expletives to answer you.

Me? I could sit here for days on end inhaling black coffee and maybe take a bathroom break, and write about WWI and Mr. Floy Glenn until I produced more text than 10 hubs would fill--and still only just catch a peek of the inside of WWI and how this deathly-engagement affected a good man's heart. I am very sure that Floy Glenn was not the only good man that this war affected. I am not that much of an idiot. You might think this to be shocking, but I was not privy to Mr. Floy Glenn's Army life until a month or so back. And props to my cousin, Randy Davis, Morris, Ala., who knew Floy through his grandpa, Tom Swindle also of Hamilton, Ala.

I say this with all respect, Mr. Floy did not know what fear meant. Prior to his time in the U.S. Army, an infantryman, he was one of the most outgoing, humorous, and so full of life that a stranger although full of hatred, would be instantly cheered-up just by Floy's presence. And how many times have I secretly prayed for God to give me this precious gift that Floy had. I'm sure that I wasn't the only one.

Floy lived down a gravel road that ran adjacent to a church where I used to worship: New Hope Church, Highway 29, out of Hamilton, Ala., and Floy, his wife, Nora, and daughter, Dorothy, lived in this quaint little white frame house, but to them it was home. To the side of their home stood a modestly-sized general store that Floy owned and operated. It was nothing to sneeze at. Floy's store, although small, had a genuine box-type drink cooler with Cokes only five cents; Knabs, (small peanut and butter crackers) for a dime and Wrigley's chewing gum for a nickel. Floy's inventory was not huge, but many of his neighbors patronized the small store if for no reason than to shoot the breeze with Floy who was always ready to share one of his WWI stories. Notice: I did not say WWI tales. There is a difference.

Day in. Day out. Floy would sit in his little store customers or no customers. If anything, Floy should have been given an award for being persistent. That was Floy. Most of his neighbors only thought of him as a neighborhood fixture, but I found out that there was a lot more to Floy than met the neighbors' eyes.

When Floy Fought in WWI

and still, according to my cousin, Randy, and be warned, the following can be a bit unnerving if you aren't used to war stories like the one from Floy. Up to 2017, when Randy and I talked at our New Hope Decoration, a yearly event, he told me what you are about to read about Floy: Sure, he was a good man out and out. Followed orders to a fault. Was never chewed out for any transgression, arrested, or threatened with a Court Marital. Floy was the best, I was told, at using tunnel vision and his one-track mind when he was following orders in Basic Training and in the war.

Again, keep in mind, "this" is all prior to something dreadful that happened to Floy at one of the many German barrages he endured from his position in the trench where he was told to stay. Artillery shells were bursting all around him, but Floy only laid still. And said nothing. When his sargent, now according to Randy, told Floy and his squad to charge atop ground, the far-reaching German machine guns would open up and the bullets would sound like angry hornets as they whizzed by his ears. A few were killed and Floy ran a small distance and hit the dirt. After he got his breath, he viewed a young man who the machine guns had cut down and this young man's life was literally bleeding away in the filthy dirty of the battleground.

Without as much as an order, Floy crawled to the young man and found out that the young man was still alive. Floy checked his injuries and used his bayonette to cut strips from his uniform shirt to put the scraps of cloth on the blood that was running freely. But with the strength of two guys, Floy got the young man back inside the safety of their trench where a medic gave him the needed help to save his life. But Floy was never awarded a Bronze Star for showing such courage. To Floy's sergeant and other higher-ranking officers, he was just a slow-minded country boy from Alabama. But Floy wasn't upset. He would have done this time and time again without asking. Sure, Floy was short. And frail, but his compassion for friends and strangers was unequalled. I really have to be honest. I resent how lowly that Floy's superior officers thought of him. Of course that's water under the bridge and now these superior officers are in eternity along with Floy. I would love to be hearing that conversation.

Conclusion: WWI: The Acrimonious

aftermath of this blood-letting, thousands of American and German souls left this life while fighting for their own government-based agendas. Naturally, Adolph Hitler's secret agenda to change the world into Nazi World, backfired and failed laughingly. The American military with their better-trained personnel and strategy experts halted Germany, but with a terrible price of that being thousands of young men fighting with blind faith to prove America was the good versus the evil Germany.

I'm no political expert, but this piece wouldn't be complete without mentioning Mr. Floy Glenn, one of the thousands of faceless, obedient U.S. Army infantrymen went through a living Hell, WWI, and most of these true, blue heroes lived to tell their grandkids about it. But Mr. Floy would, in a reluctant fashion, share just enough of this unmerciful onslaught, WWI, to satsify the rubber-neckers who just had to know something about Mr. Floy's time in Europe.

"it was nothing that needed talking about," Floy Glenn confided to Randy Davis' grandpa, Tom Swindle. After seeing the many truthful documentaries and reading books about the American soldiers who not only faced, but endured this walk through death, I can see why. Without me asking any foolish questions.

In closing, I am really hating now to share the saddest part of WWI concerning Mr. Floy. My cousin, Randy Davis shared the following with me and when I heard Davis' sad news about Floy, I saw him with different eyes and a new understanding. Randy told me, and his eyes were tearing up, that Mr. Floy had been the victim of the German War Machine's lowly attack of using Mustard Gas against American soldiers. This tidbit only solidified my hatred for Hitler and how heartless one man can treat the other.

But the saddest of this Mustard Gas fiasco is that Mr. Floy, although he and other U.S. Army infantrymen were given the best medical and psychological treatments, Mr. Floy's mind and demeanor was affected and not just for a week or two . . .but for the rest of his natural life.

Now thinking back and listening to Mr. Floy when my parents visited my aunt, Wavelene Swindle, my mom's baby sister and uncle Tom's wife, who lived down that gravel road that runs adjecent to Mr. Floy's house and small country grocery store, even at my young, unpolluted mind, I could sense that "something" was not right with the world--he didn't act quite right or talk quite right for that matter. The fun-loving, outgoing, short, frail man who was full of life was not, in any way, the same same who went to the U.S. Army to go with (other men) to fight in WWI. But with those obvious differences seen by his family and friends didn't matter to them or me. I liked Mr. Floy. And always will.

This hub should be used as a way to raise awareness of not only the deadly nerve-agents, gas, that the late Saddam Hussein allegedly hid in his Iraqi kingdom after using the nerve agents against peoples who were of a threat to his reign.

Our country and its allies should do everything within our power(s) to shut down, dilute, burn, and destroy not only these life (and health) threats with or without a war being declared, but take out their facilities and pass United Nations' severest of legislation to thwart such illegal and immoral things as nerve gas and other "Agents of Death." And while we are at it, bring such criminals to justice in a swift manner and serve them a dose of true justice.

This way, I think would at least show Mr. Floy that his time and service in WWI was not in vain.

Although our Friend, Floy, did see battles in WWI, None of These Soldiers Were Mr. Floy, as we Called him.

 British and American soldiers on a beach in Algiers during Operation Torch.
British and American soldiers on a beach in Algiers during Operation Torch. | Source

© 2017 Kenneth Avery

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    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 7 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Faith-Hope-Love,

      I agree with you. But I cannot go one day without looking at the memories of Floy and his small country store. Incidentally, my dad bought his first firearm from him when my dad was a young man. He gave Floy $5 for a .22, single-shot rifle and kept it until his death.

      It is like you said--the common Joe who was the most courageous. Long live their memories.

      Keep in touch!

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 7 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      RoadMonkey,

      Thank you so much for not only reading and commenting, but sharing your personal information about a much-sadder story. I am so sorry.

      WWI was, according to stories like yours, very bloody and numerous young men lost their lives.

      Heroes is what I shall think of them.

      Keep in touch.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 7 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, Ashish:

      Thank you very much for your kind remarks. Without Floy, what would our United States be?

      I shudder to think.

      Have a peaceful day--and write soon.

    • profile image

      Faith-Hope-Love 8 months ago

      War is not Glory or Heaven and is usually Fought by the ordinary Joe. There are some good officers but there are a few incompetent ones. War is not a very pleasant trip and when the Bullets and shells are coming your way you are very conscious of death. You also get to feel happy that your mate has bit the Biscuit and not you. I could go on but suffice it to say that War is worse than a taste of hell it is actually a stay in the environs of Hell. A lot of Heroes, real Heroes are not recognized.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 8 months ago

      War changes those who are involved. My father was born during WW1. His own father was a miner who lost an arm down the pits. Adolf Hitler was in the ranks of the Bavarian army during WW1. He did not command the German army until WW2. My father served in WW2. His mother, my grandmother said he was a changed man when he came back. He was blown up by a shell, though far enough away that it blew his teeth out but no broken bones. Gas destroyed men's lungs.

    • Ashish Dadgaa profile image

      Ashi 8 months ago

      @Kenneth Avery,

      Very well written hub Hero Kenneth :)

      I am really pleased to see your knowledge about old militray and war.

      I loved the photos :) They are exceptional.

      Bless you.

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