This is one of the few stories I have thus far of an American soldier who served overseas. Milan Piper was serving in France in February 1919 when he wrote a letter home. Based on other letters that his great-grandson Tim has read, Milan seems to be a real character. .
Milan (date unknown) in dress firefighter uniform.
Milan in 1908 when he was 22
In February, he wrote
“I had a touch of the flew, but I kept up all the time on sheer grit, and, I think by keeping up, and drilling with the boys…that I fooled ‘em all to the extent that the Hospital got cheated out of another patient…
by gee whiz they didn’t get me. I told the boys that the…germs can’t kill me on foreign soil for I’m going to croke in the good old U.S.A”
While he may have had the flu, he must have had a mild case to cheat the hospital out of another patient. He did survive the flu and the war and lived a long and happy life in the U.S. with his family.
Photo and story contributed by Tim Montgomery and Angie Rodday