Every mother dreads the nightmare.
In the latter months of World War I, the much feared knock came at the door of Mrs. Schuyler Messenger, who had three sons enlisted and fighting in the war. Imagine her sinking heart as she saw the cap of the Western Union delivery manager as she greeted him at the family home three and one-half miles southwest of Niles on "the upper South Bend Road."
The war department regretted to inform her that her son LaRue had lost his life in far away France on Sept. 12, 1918. Their message stated that this brave soldier; not yet 21 and barely more than a boy; had died instantly.
How does a mother digest such news? Why only days earlier, she had received a letter from a Red Cross nurse saying that another son, Samuel, was in a hospital suffering from a wound to his chest.
Published February 27th, 2009