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100 years ago in Spokane: Father, 52, wants to join his boys at the front

 (Spokesman-Review archives)
(Spokesman-Review archives)

All five sons of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Altman were serving in the military, and now the father wanted to join up as well.

“If Mr. Altman has his way, he will soon be with his boys at the front,” said Mrs. Altman.

The only problem: Mr. Altman was 52.

Yet according to his wife, this fact would not deter him.

“He is a carpenter and … wants to work for his trade for the army and is as well and strong as a younger man would be,” she told the Spokane Daily Chronicle. “He says he will fool them some day and get into the service yet, though he has been rejected several times. If he wants to go so badly I am willing he should. He lived in Luxembourg (as a child) and my mother comes from there, too, while my father was French, so we feel pretty strongly about the war.”

She admitted that “it is pretty lonesome around here now,” with just Mr. Altman and their two young daughters at home.

Before long, sorrow would visit the Altman home. Two of their five boys would never return from the war.

From the war beat: President Woodrow Wilson formally declared war against Austria-Hungary, an ally of Germany.

Wilson called Germany and Austria-Hungary “two medieval governments which plunged the world into war.”

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