Uncle Sam and mustard gas…

Sam Dettor was his name. He was my uncle on my mother’s side of the family. He and my Aunt Kate lived in Bristol, Virginia. Uncle Sam was a train engineer and a veteran of World War I. During the summer months, as a child, I would go stay with Aunt Kate and Uncle Sam for a week or more. Uncle Sam would often sit in a swing on his front porch reading his Bible. His breathing often was labored with a wheezing sound. I would listen as my Aunt and mother would talk about Uncle Sam. He suffered the after effects of mustard gas from his service during World War I. These memories surfaced tonight during a TV show where they were talking about a helmet worn by soldiers during a war where both sides used gas in a war that was billed as “the war to end all wars”. It did for Uncle Sam. He died before the beginning of World War II.


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