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Monday, February 17, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Remembering great-uncle who served in WWI, Spokane teacher reminds students ‘freedom comes at a cost’

UPDATED: Mon., May 28, 2018

Brian Huseland holds a photograph of his great-uncle, Theodore Fournier, a veteran of World War I, during a Memorial Day ceremony at Fairmount Memorial Park in Spokane on Monday, May 28, 2018. “It is important for each generation to remember the past,” Huseland said. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Brian Huseland holds a photograph of his great-uncle, Theodore Fournier, a veteran of World War I, during a Memorial Day ceremony at Fairmount Memorial Park in Spokane on Monday, May 28, 2018. “It is important for each generation to remember the past,” Huseland said. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Brian Huseland showed up at a Memorial Day ceremony at Spokane’s Fairmount Memorial Park holding a framed portrait of his great-uncle, Theodore Fournier, who enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Minnesota teenager in 1916.

Huseland, a fifth-grade history teacher at Northwest Christian Schools, said Fournier deployed to France in the summer of 1918 as a private in the 103rd Infantry Regiment, and that September, just weeks before the war ended, he was wounded by shrapnel in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel.

“He wasn’t there very long, unfortunately, before he went down,” Huseland said.

Fournier survived the shrapnel blast, and at a Red Cross hospital in Chicago, he developed a storybook romance with a nurse named Bernice. But, Huseland said, “he didn’t want to marry her until he was better and could hold down a job.”

Tragically, while undergoing the last of many surgeries to remove bits of twisted metal from his left leg, Fournier lost too much blood and died on an operating table in February 1921, Huseland said.

It’s a story Huseland tells his students every year around Memorial Day. He said too many young people grow up with a sense of entitlement, and “it’s always good to remember that this freedom comes at a cost.”

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