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"I wouldn't be in favor"

January 4th, 1941, Seattle Civil War veteran Rustan O. Reed celebrated his 94th birthday. On the occasion, he offered some thoughts on global affairs at the time, imploring the single young men of the United States to volunteer to help Britain in its fight against Germany. The old veteran suggested that they should "go to the help of England." Reed himself knew a thing or two about answering the call to fight, having served in the Civil War in the 43rd Wisconsin Infantry. He fought at battles such as Lookout Mountain and Johnsonville, Tennessee and was wounded in the latter engagement. He went on to suggest he would go himself if he were able, saying "If I were a young man and had received training like a lot of our young fellows, I would put on my boots and go over there and fight for the cause of democracy." Despite his support of assisting the British, he was not in favor of doing so with our nation's armed forces. He continued, "I wouldn't be in favor, however, of having our government become directly involved in the conflict." Reed died in February 1942. Undoubtedly, the attack at Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941, altered the opinion of the intensely patriotic Civil war veteran on the United States military being involved in the now global conflict.

Source: Seattle Times Jan 4, 1941


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