More than 42,000 Floridians served in the military during the First World War, which was fought from April 1917 until November 1918. Included in this number were Herbert and George Frank Drew, grandsons of former Florida Governor George F. Drew. Both saw combat service as officers in the American Expeditionary Force--Herbert in the Fifth Field Artillery of the First Infantry Division and Frank in the 327th Infantry of the Eighty-second Infantry Division. During the time they spent overseas, Herbert and Frank wrote to and received letters from their family in Live Oak. On November 12, 1918, the day after the armistice was signed ending the fighting, their father, Frank Drew wrote long, emotional letters to each of his sons. He described his feelings on the end of the war, criticized the wartime policies of President Woodrow Wilson, and discussed plans for the future. The letter reproduced here was written to his son Frank. In a similar letter to Herbert he stated, "Everything has been in a delirium of joy over here."
Live Oak, Florida, Nov. 12th., 1918
I wanted to write to you and Herbert yesterday-on the very day of Victory (the day which, as Ralp has remarked would be the great day for the whole world of the future); but somehow the heart was too full. The fear of death that I have carried there for you boys for all these months was somewhat relieved; though I shall not draw a long breath of entire relief until I can get a message from you. The War Department has been so far behind with its advices that it has taken away much of the comfort in the addage the "no news if good news." It seems almost too good to be true that this horror is over for the world. The celebrations in this country have been like a tornado; but I know that over there in Paris and London it has been something beyond de- scription. The terms of armistice are highly satisfactory to everyone here; because no one can think of anything any more drastic to suggest. My, but how good they are! And how they have repudicated the maudling sentimentality that the President was hatching up. The country has settled with him good and hard; and the Democratic party is as dead to- day as the militarists in Germany. The papers forecast red revolution in Germany; though long before this reaches you the extent of it will be known. I have a memorandum made some weeks ago anent [sic] the different race types in Germany; and I am going to send it to you in bearing upon the "boche". It shows a distinction that the President has not apparent- ly grasped as the peoples over there have. The revolution in Germany should run its course far enough to demonstrate that his theories of certain things are erroneous enough to prove a lesson for this country.