George had been looking forward to reaching this city of Omaha for several days. He was sure that returning to the “West,” as he called it, would bring us more success and popularity. He expected large crowds as we entered the city. Instead, as we passed through the town, no one seemed to pay us any mind. They huddled in groups, their noses buried in newspapers and talking with high energy and frantic voices. Perhaps it was because I could not read a newspaper that I didn’t know a great war had broken out across the ocean on the 28th of July 1914.
“Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated and now a terrible war has started in Europe,” a woman in a sunbonnet said. “Now lots of countries are joining in the war.”
“How long before we are forced to join in the battle?” her companion responded.
“The British have already come over to buy every spare horse they can get their hands on,” said another.
The last comment caused me to lift my head and twitch my ears. Would this affect me? Would George sell me to go off and fight a war? I wasn’t quite sure what war was but by the looks on the humans’ faces when they talked about it, I was sure that it wasn’t something I wanted to be a part of.
George and the other Overland Westerners didn’t pay much attention to the war news until it affected them. They did two interviews with pictures for the Omaha paper. Early the next morning George went to get a paper. When he came back, his face was red with anger. He threw the newspaper down in front of Charles. “War news! War news! Nothing but war news! Not an inch about us!” he shouted as he kicked a coffee pot across the ground. “How are we supposed to become famous if the papers won’t cover us!”
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