Freedom Rock Countdown
Wed, 05/23/2018 - 1:18pm admin
—5th Gun Salute . . . WWI
CRESCO - Meet Warren Steffen, Lee Pierce and Gary Klomp. All are members of the Freedom Rock Comm-ittee and American Legion Riders Post 135.
Steffen, Pierce and Klomp are just three of the many passionate Legion Riders in Howard County. What do these guys want you to know about the Great War? Motor-cycles, of course!
Motorcycles saw action on the front lines of WWI. They were outfitted with various sidecar-mounted machine guns and placed together in motorized units called “Motor Mobile Infantry.” They were converted into ambulances, able to carry one or two wounded soldiers on stretchers adapted to sidecar frames, and led convoys, dispatched messages and general transportation behind the front lines.
It was not only the men of the war who got to ride around on these bad boys! The Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) also made use of motorcycles. The initial aim of the WRAF was to provide female mechanics so men could be free to serve in the armed forces. Thanks to the high number of women volunteers, many also filled driver positions as well.
Steffen loves history and is a little ‘nutty’ about WWI. He wants you know the use of charcoal could help subdue the potency of chlorine gas used by the Germans. Fruit stones and nut shells provide an excellent quality of charcoal or carbon. They include peach, coconut, apricot, cherry, prune, plum and olive pits, date seeds and the shells of Brazil nut, hickory nut, walnut and butternut. The Red Cross launched a contest and children and housewives answered the call! The ‘Do Your Bit – Save the Pit’ campaign was off and running. Millions of pounds of pits and shells were collected and helped win the Great War.
Not to be outdone, Pierce wants you to know that during WWI sauerkraut was renamed as ‘Liberty Cabbage’ and Klomp tells the story about Hugh Lofting, not wishing to write his children about the horrors of trench warfare in WWI, instead wrote them imaginative letters that later became the Dr. Doolittle stories.
Over 50 men who fought in WWI are buried in Howard County cemeteries.
Warren Steffen, Lee Pierce, and Gary Klomp invite you to learn more about WWI at the dedication of the Howard County Memorial Park featuring the Freedom Rock on June 23, 2018.
[This weekly countdown will feature members of the Freedom Rock Committee and information about military history. The Howard County Memorial Park, with the Freedom Rock as a focal point, is located at the crossroads of Hwy. 9 and 3rd St. West in Cresco.]