November 11, 1918: World War I Ends
On November 11, 1918, World War I ended after more than four years of brutal fighting. Nearly 39 million soldiers had been killed, wounded, or listed as missing. American soldiers arrived on the scene only during the last year-and-a-half of the war. Still, some 116,000 died in the conflict.
About 58,000 West Virginians served in the war. Of these, more than 1,100 were killed in action, and nearly 700 died in training. Many others died from influenza or other diseases.
On the home front, patriotic West Virginians rationed food and coal, volunteered as Red Cross personnel, and sold Liberty Bonds. In addition, the U.S. government built an ordnance center at South Charleston and a gunpowder plant at Nitro. Neither facility, however, was completed before the war ended.
Of the more than two million Americans who served in World War I, the last-surviving veteran was Frank Buckles, who died at Charles Town in 2011 at the age of 110. Today, memorials to the war can be seen in Welch, Kimball, Logan, Martinsburg, Huntington, and Charleston, with individual statues and plaques in many other towns.