When you go to war as a boy you have a great illusion of immortality. Other people get killed; not you. . . . Then when you are badly wounded the first time you lose that illusion and you know it can happen to you. After being severely wounded two weeks before my nineteenth birthday I had a bad time until I figured out that nothing could happen to me that had not happened to all men before me. Whatever I had to do men had always done. If they had done it then I could do it too and the best thing was not to worry about it.
In the spring of 1918, a young Ernest Hemingway left Oak Park for the Italian front in a war the United States had only entered months before. He enlisted with the Red Cross, serving first in an ambulance unit and then as a canteen worker.
In June of that year, while distributing chocolate bars and cigarettes to soldiers at Fossalta di Piave, an Austrian mortar exploded and shrapnel struck Hemingway; 227 pieces cut into his body. While carrying a wounded comrade to safety, Hemingway was hit by machine-gun fire.
He was not yet 19 years old. His later work, and that of many of his contemporaries, dealt with the aftershocks of war, and the way it changed those who fought and those who loved them.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of that war, Hemingway's first, The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park announces the following programs:
The premiere of “A Farewell to Arms: In Fifteen Seconds,” a Hemingway video commentary on Instagram.com/ehfop.
All November: Free admission to the Hemingway Museum and Birthplace for military, active duty or retired.
Youth art competition: The Hemingway Museum and the National Veterans Art Museum will accept collages from artists ages 5-18 on the theme of “Peace Triumphant,” to be exhibited at the two museums during the month of December.
An exhibit of collages on the theme of “Peace Triumphant,” in honor of the 100th anniversary of World War I. Named after the Oak Park-River Forest War Memorial. The monument is composed of three larger-than-life sized figures in bronze representing the World War I forces on air, land and sea. Behind the soldier, pilot and sailor is a stone figure, representing Columbia in the act of sheathing her sword (indicating the end of war). A bronze wall plaque on the north side is engraved with the names of 56 soldiers from the Oak Park and River Forest area who lost their lives during World War I. Four plaques encircle the first tier of the pedestal base and are engraved with the 2,446 names of the enlisted men from the two communities.
Open to artists ages 5 - 18
1. Complete the Entry Form Download NVAM Show Entry Form
2. Bring or mail Entry Form and work to The Hemingway Museum, 200 N. Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302
Nov. 20, 7 p.m .: Reading and Signing, Steven Florczyk, author of Hemingway, the Red Cross and the Great War, Hemingway Birthplace, 339 N. Oak Park Avenue. Free and open to the public.