My paternal grandfather entered World War I at the end of August, 1918. He arrived at Fort Jackson, S.C. in September 1918 as part of an Engineering Company.
Influenza hit the training camp in epidemic proportions in mid-September. According to records, hundreds soon became infected and were too ill to stand. My grandfather was among them. By the time the illness had run its course, over 5,000 had been stricken and over 300 had died. My grandfather did not die directly from the flu itself, but from the effects it had on his heart. He died in 1929 at age 32, of a massive heart attack, the day before my dad's second birthday, when my grandma was three months pregnant with my aunt. She never remarried.
My grandfather arrived in Fort Jackson in September. The Armistice was declared on November 11. I can't help but think of the sadness of it: Were it not for those few short weeks in 1918, my father and aunt would have grown up with their father, and my grandmother would have had more than five years of marriage with the man she loved.