“War is a deplorable alternative and we must enter upon it only after the most earnest consideration,” a speaker at Darwin Merritt’s memorial service in Red Oak in 1898 declared. He said newspapermen and congressmen would not do the actual fighting in wartime. “The men who fight the war will be the men who enlist at the sound of the fife and the taps of the drum, and take in their hands the muskets.”
Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays. Cheryl Mullenbach is the author of non-fiction books for young people. Her work has been recognized by International Literacy Association, American Library Association, National Council for Social Studies, and FDR Presidential Library and Museum.