Historian and best-selling author Patrick K. O’Donnell joined Breitbart News Daily on May 28 to discuss his new book chronicling the creation of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery during World War One.
O’Donnell’s book, The Unknowns: The Untold Story of America’s Unknown Soldier and WWI’s Most Decorated Heroes Who Brought Him Home, follows how U.S. commanding General John “Blackjack” Pershing selected eight of America’s most decorated, battle-hardened veterans to serve as casket bearers to accompany the remains of an unknown soldier back to America and its final resting place in Arlington Cemetery.
The bearers appropriately spanned America’s service branches and specialties, O’Donnell told Breitbart News Daily.
The soldiers tasked with ushering the unknown soldier from the killing fields of Europe back to the U.S. included “a cowboy who relived the charge of the light brigade, an American Indian who heroically breached mountains of German barbed wire, a salty New Englander who dueled a U-boat for hours in a fierce gunfight, a tough New Yorker who sacrificed his body to save his ship, and an indomitable gunner who, though blinded by gas, nonetheless overcame five machine-gun nests.”
O’Donnell called World War One the most significant event in the 20th century.
“It changes the world in so many ways,” O’Donnell told Breitbart News Daily. “For one, it changes the world from the old world, the order of monarchies, etc., to the modern world. That’s a major, major change.”
“The world is redrawn in most cases,” O’Donnell continued. “The empires of the old world are remade. The Middle East, for instance, the former Ottoman Empire is carved up into the modern, the artificial countries that we know today such as Iraq and Syria.”
World War One is also “the rise of big government, it’s women’s suffrage changes comes about after World War One, there’s international finance — there’s so many things that occur from that event, that flow from that event and that are continuing to impact our lives today.”
“It’s also the beginning of the American century,” he concluded, “and the rise of America as a major power.”
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