AUSTIN, Texas —
At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, warring allied nations and Germany signed an armistice which effectively brought hostilities in the Great War to an end. For that reason, November 11, 1918 is remembered as the beginning of the end of the “the war that will end war.” Over time the solemn holiday, originally known as Armistice Day, would transform into Veterans Day— celebration of all who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
In honor of Veterans Day, and as a part of our nation’s wider observance of the American World War I centennial, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) releases its newest history guide, Texas and the Great War.
Designed to remind readers of the war’s iconic recruitment posters, the guide takes readers through a detailed chronology of the war and highlights Texas’ unique contributions to the effort.
Certainly, the greatest of those contributions were the sacrifices made by thousands of Texans who served in the armed forces, including those who earned the highest military honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor.
A Laredo native, Private David Bennes Cantú Barkley served in the U.S. Army, Company A, 356th Infantry, 89th Division. In France, he accomplished his mission of swimming across the Meuse River in order to infiltrate German lines and perform reconnaissance of enemy locations. He died on the return swim and later lay in state at the Alamo, the second person to be honored in this way. He was buried at San Antonio National Cemetery.
Private First-Class Daniel Edwards, born in Mooreville, was nominated for the Medal of Honor twice. First for covering his battalion’s retreat by himself after all other members of his gun squad became casualties—an act of heroism that earned him bayonet wounds in the wrist and stomach, as well as an eventual Distinguished Service Cross. Secondly, for rejoining his outfit weeks later in a German trench where he killed four enemy soldiers, took four prisoners, and was severely wounded in action. Following a career in helping veterans, Edwards died at Veterans Administration Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas and is buried near Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Born in Florence, Texas, Hospital Apprentice First-Class David Hayden served in the U.S. Navy and was with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Regiment, U.S. Marines in France. While under intense machine gun fire, Hayden ran to a fellow wounded soldier, dressed his wounds, and carried the soldier to safety. Hayden is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
In addition to information on notable Texans who served in the Great War, the THC’s newest history guide also outlines travel destinations for heritage tourists interested in discovering the real stories of Texas’ home front contributions to the war effort and the places that preserve them. A mobile app version of the guide is also available for free download. Part of the Texas Time Travel Tours app, the mobile tour adds to the travel experience by offering videos, first-person interviews, maps, and other useful visitor information for exploring World War I history in Texas.
For more information about heritage travel opportunities in Texas, visit TexasTimeTravel.com, where you can download or order a free copy of the THC’s Texas and the Great War.