AUBURNDALE, Fla. — Auburndale resident Don MacDonald is hoping to play a part in keeping the living memories of World War I alive.

  • Don MacDonald's father served on the front lines
  • He wrote down many of his father's war stories
  • WWI ended on Nov. 11, 1918
  • More Polk County headlines

His father Donald served on the front lines of the war in Europe until it ended 100 years ago. 

"Well, I think so many of the children of WWI vets are getting to my age. I'm in my late 70s and pretty soon all this will be lost," MacDonald said about why he wrote down many of his father's memories of the war.

MacDonald said his father remembered the enthusiasm that so many young men had for going off to the fight, only to be confronted with the brutal reality of seeing people slaughtered.

"He said so many men were listed as 'missing in action' in WWI because the brutal fact was when a big shell would hit, if it would hit right among men, the term 'literally blown to bits' was true," he said.

The war ended on November 11, 1918, after the allies signed an armistice with Germany.

"He said you could have heard a pin drop," MacDonald said of his dad. "And he said, 'We all climbed ladders and got out of the trenches and there were the Germans, and you could look four or 500 yards away and they are all climbing and they are just starting to walk to go home.' He said, 'I waived at a couple of them and a couple of them waved back and that was the end of the war.'"

MacDonald said his father didn't like to talk about his war experiences and he would sometimes wake up at night haunted by what he had witnessed.

"And it made him say to himself, 'Here we are, the most intelligent, sensitive life form on the planet and we are doing this to each other.'"