Love and Sacrifice — A World War Brings Double Tragedy to an American Family
“Go west, young man,” a phrase attributed to newspaper publisher Horace Greeley, summarized America’s drive for westward expansion — Manifest Destiny. Telegraph lines followed the advance of the wagon trains, and towns sprouted up along the dusty trails. Progress would not be made sitting still. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, the appeal of a new life brought settlers to homestead the open lands on the windblown Kansas prairie. Where native Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes once hunted buffalo, towns began to grow.
Towns grew with their families, such as those of Ollie Reed and Mildred Boddy. Some stayed to work the land, while others moved on to new chapters in their lives, such as Ollie and Mildred.
From their humble rural Kansas roots, Ollie and Mildred went on to live extraordinary lives with a pioneering and adventurous spirit, all the while holding fast to their simple ethos of dedication to God, country, and family.
Ordinary people have the potential to live exceptional lives, and the Reeds proved this to be true. Whether Mildred was teaching a church group the lessons of the Christmas season through the ornaments on a tree, or Ollie was in charge of a regiment of young men heading into battle, the Reeds readily accepted leading roles without expecting credit or adulation. They were raised in the tradition of making personal sacrifices to benefit others, and to expect nothing in return.
The Reed family — Ollie, Mildred, Ollie Junior, and Theodore, were an exemplary American family during a time when Americans had faith in their political leaders, institutions, and the essential goodness of everyone.
In this book, we are privileged to join their travels through the first half of the twentieth century, guided by the intimate words of Mildred Reed’s memoirs, and the personal letters among family members through courtship, love, longing, and loss.