Author Edward E. “Ed” Saunders gives the first program, Knapsacks and Roses, Montana’s Women Veterans of World War I, on Wednesday, March 6th. On the centennial year of America’s victory in World War I, his book and program tells the epic true stories of intrepid and heroic Montana women who served in uniform in that terrible upheaval: mostly as nurses in the Army Nurse Corps.
During World War I over 200 of these courageous and indomitable women from the big sky country served stateside in crowded, understaffed, diseased-filled base hospitals, and overseas in war-torn France, enduring terrible and deadly battlefield conditions. They served an indifferent federal government denying them equality as the men. After the war, the women came home alone, unheralded, and mostly forgotten. They faced another battle—a battle for recognition. Knapsacks and Roses showcases these women veterans using their words and through official reports of the day, shining the light of honor on these women—and all America’s women veterans of World War I—richly deserved and long overdue.
Saunders, is a retired lieutenant colonel, U.S. Army, and ground combat veteran of the Persian Gulf War. Reared in the American West, Saunders directed the effort to create the Yellowstone County [Montana] World War I Women’s Memorial. He previously wrote and published, Sentinels, Yellowstone National Cemetery, From Prairie to Hallowed Ground, a Photographic History. He and his wife live in Laurel, Montana. Saunders will be signing his book after the program.