To the men that fought in a war where technology had the upper hand.
On July 28th, 1914, the first shots of what would become known as the Great War, and later as World War One, were fired as Austria-Hungarian forces prepared to invade Serbia and began a cascade of alliances set in motion which would drag most of Europe and powers outside of Europe into one of the deadliest wars in world history. A war that was just the beginning of wars to come and would be the keystone in a series of events that caused World War II, the spread of Communism, the following Cold War, and indirectly events still playing out today.
As important as this war was in the history of the past century and even today, the average Joe seems murky on the details. Google has no doodle for it's 100th anniversary, and most people you ask didn't even know today was the 100 year mark of a war that just isn't as well known as it's sequel.
Over the past month or so I have been involved in an online project where amateur historians read through old British war diaries (logs, not personal diaries) to piece together the actions day to day of individual units that fought on the British side in WWI. I'd studied the war lightly in the past, more to better understand the causes of WWII, but never delved so deeply into that period of history before starting this project. Spelling errors and smudged ink forced me to study this war more in detail and revealed how ignorant I was about this "less exciting" prequel to WWII.
I highly recommend to the history buffs out there who might routinely gloss over this period to give it a good study. And for the rest of you, just remember that 100 years ago, a war was fought that would setup WWII decades later. Neither side was evil, but both sides lost a lot of good men. And while the Americans were late to the war and contributed only so much to it, this was the first time so many of our countrymen died on European soil.
119 Americans were awarded the Medal of Honor during this war, a quarter of them posthumously. Honor their memories by reading a little about the war they fought in.