MARV CRUZAN contributed this selection.

A Soldier's Diary
The Diary of Bugler Benjamin Edgar Cruzan
Battery F, 341st Field Artillery, 89th Division, 3rd Army American Expeditionary Forces, 1917-1919
Benjamin Edgar Cruzan

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Never before or since,
As changed itself to past
Without a word - the men
Leaving the gardens tidy,
The thousands of marriages
Lasting a little while longer:
Never such innocence again.

Philip Larkin

     This a literal transcription of the diary kept by my father, Benjamin Edgar Cruzan, as he served with the American Expeditionary Forces during the Great War. Though coarse in appearance and betrayed by his third-grade education, this diary testifies to his powers of observation; that he was ever the student.
     Like his father before him who served with the Union Forces at Vicksburg, Jackson and Missionary Ridge, Ben Cruzan was an unabashed patriot; a nineteenth-century idealist in the early light of the twentieth-century since grown cynical.
     While some may note that the Great War has been mythologized by such classical memorists as Siegfried Sassoon, it was ordinary men like my father who, with roots deep in a growing and vital nation, memorialized the Great War as historical experience.
     Before he passed away, my father told me that he often regretted never having asked much about his father's experiences during the Civil War. What is never told, what is never heard, what is never written, is lost.
     My father's experiences shall always remain a part of the texture of my daily life.

Marvin C. Cruzan, February 20, 1988

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Guide to Diary Entries

All Entries
December 1917
January 1918
February 1918
March 1918
June 1918
July 1918
August 1918
September 1918
October 1918
November 1918
December 1918
January 1919
February 1919
March 1919
April 1919
May 1919
June 1919

view actual pages of the diary     go to 'Views of War' section

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