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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Traumatized WWI veterans moved a high-ranking colonel with their stories

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

War in Europe had been over for years, but the trauma continued, as illustrated by Col. Charles A. Forbes’ visit to Sacred Heart Hospital .

Forbes was the director-general of the “consolidated war risk bureaus,” which was a federal veterans’ insurance program.

He visited 16 wounded men at Sacred Heart and listened to their stories.

“I’ve got heart trouble, kidney trouble and rheumatism,” one wounded veteran said. “And I’m not making much headway – I’m sick too much.”

The colonel asked the doctor to send him the particulars of the case and vowed to help the veteran out.

Another wounded vet lamented that his “compensation was reduced by 10 percent.” The colonel said, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you.”

The colonel stopped to chat with a Lamont, Washington, veteran whose foot was partially shot off. His foot was in a cast and he was in a wheelchair.

“Mr. Sweet, telegraph this man’s case to Washington today,” the colonel said to his secretary. “Put him down for immediate increased compensation.”

At the end of the visit, Col. Forbes said, “Remember, that back in Washington we want to know of your life, your sorrows and your joys. The government is back of you. We have taken on a big program, but the government will see it through.”

On this day

(From Associated Press)

1963: Twenty Black students entered Alabama public schools following a standoff between federal authorities and Gov. George C. Wallace.

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