It was called “the war to end all wars” — better known as World War I, a massive conflict that cost the lives of 9 million soldiers.
Many more wars would come despite that optimistic label, but emotions ran high for those returning from the battlefields of Europe in November 1918 — which will be celebrated by the Surry County Historical Society Saturday at the Edwards-Franklin House.
Every holiday season an open house event is held there which highlights a different period in America’s history and this Saturday the theme will be “A World War I Welcome Home Christmas.”
As in past years, the 1799 Edwards-Franklin House will be prepared accordingly by historical society members, with the public invited to tour the house and enjoy period decorations and Christmas treats from the World War I era.
Admission to the event, scheduled from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, is free. The Edwards-Franklin House is located at 4132 Haystack Road, off N.C. 89 west of Mount Airy.
Although known as the Great War, World War I often takes a back seat to other conflicts, especially World War II. Yet it played a significant role in 20th-century America, according to information from Dr. Annette Ayers, a historical society official.
As the world’s first global conflict, waged from 1914-18, it introduced modern technology to warfare that resulted in widespread casualties, including from gas attacks.
This devastating war in Europe preceded a period of jubilation in America, which emerged as a world industrial leader with a booming economy accompanied by the period known as the Roaring Twenties.
The economy and military of Germany, meanwhile, were left in shambles through the punitive desires of its enemies, thus laying the groundwork for World War II.
Last year’s holiday open house had a Civil War-era theme.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.