The Superior Express -

Country Roads


November 5, 2020

I will certainly be glad when this election is over. It used to be by late election day evening, it was known who won the election. This year it may be a different story. We may not learn who won until days or weeks later. This election has been one for the books. So much confliction and diversity. Let’s hope when it’s over, we all have the “sportsmanship” attitude and unite again behind a common cause.


Veteran’s Day is November 11. The special day has been so important to my family.

My great-grandfather was a Civil War veteran. My grandfather was a WWI veteran and my father was a WWII Veteran. Several uncles also are veterans and my son is a veteran.

I have many special memories of past Veterans Day celebrations.

I remember accompanying my father to Veteran Day programs held by the local American Legion, at auxiliary meetings, and later programs held at the local schools. Veterans were asked to stand during the programs to be recognized. They proudly served their beloved country!

Veteran’s Day was first known as Armistice Day. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. It was President Wilson who proclaimed November 11 as Armistice Day in 1919 at the first anniversary of the end of WWI.

My grandfather, Claude Boyles, was 15 years-old when his farther died. He and his twin brother, Clyde, farmed the family farm, northwest of Courtland, for their mother.

Claude’s draft registration, filed June 5,1917, stated he was “short and slender.” He listed his mother as his only dependent. When America entered WWI, Claude, like many young men, rushed to enlist. A local newspaper article announced the auction of his farm machinery and livestock and that he had enlisted in the Coast Artillery and would be sent to San Diego, Calif.

The article reported, “Claude has tried on several times to get into the service, but had been rejected on account of his low weight. Claude is a fine young man and his friends here know he will give a good account of himself in the service of his country

He served in the 33rd Brigade and participated in the American Expedition. He was shipped to France where he helped regulate where the large artillery was fired. He reached the rank of master sergeant.

He later told me about it raining there a lot and holes were dug to sleep in on the battlefield. He said, “You wouldn’t dig the holes too big or you’d drown by morning.”

He said food was scarce and the water not fit to drink.

He sustain injuries from breathing the mustard gas used as a horrible weapon by the Germans. His leg was broken in an artillery accident.

He remembered the end of the war and how happy the soldiers were because they knew they would soon be going home.

He said, “The first thing we did when we heard the war had ended was to thank the Lord in prayer.”

Claude returned to his home area took a job as a farm implement salesman to save fundsso he could once again become a farmer. It was on one his sales trips that a train stop was made in Narka, Kansas, where Esther Cossaart worked. It was love at first sight.

They soon married and made their first home near Formoso.

In time he started farming again on rented farms. Eventually he purchased his own farmland in the Burr Oak area.

Claude and Esther’s sons continued farming the family farms, and now his grandsons are carrying on the farming tradition. He was proud of his country and his service during WWI, and encouraged his four sons to do the same when duty called during WWII.

Claude told his oldest son just before he went into the service, “I thought I had fought in the War that was to end all wars. I guess not.”

Thank you to all those who have served their country in the wars of long ago, in peaceful times to help keep the peace, and in more recent wars and conflicts.

If you see a veteran, be sure and thank them for their service.


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