Memories of a WWI Veteran’s Daughter
Fairview resident, Maureen North is the proud daughter of a WWI veteran. Her father, Andrew Buck Bright was born Jun. 6, 1894. He enlisted in the army when he was 23 years old. In Aug. 1918, he went to France. He served in France during the war and occupied Germany after the war. Intertwining memories North has of her father with those of her seven siblings, she is able to describe some of what her father experienced while serving in the war, “He told us that so many brave men were just trying to survive with horrible rations and a limited supply of medicines. The influenza struck and was devastating for everyone. We felt that Dad had some immunity to it and although he got sick, he was able to fight it off and recover. So many died from the sickness that the remaining few had to help take care of the dead. He said that those that died were non-stop and he believed that more died from illness than from enemy fire. It was a sad time.” During the war he was a sharpshooter and because he was a farmer before enlisting, he helped care for the military livestock. Bright was honorably discharged on Jul. 28, 1920.
Regarding how being in the military affected her father, North said, “The war did have a positive effect on Dad as he had respect for every person.”
After the war was over, Bright continued to serve in the army as a recruiter. While in Pennsylvania, he met his wife, Grace Brown. They married in Pennsylvania and then moved to South Carolina. Four of their eight children were born in South Carolina. When the Great Depression hit, the Bright family moved to Philadelphia. North described her mother as a great mom. She said her parents were honest, hardworking and loving. The children’s ages spanned 23 years. North’s father was 50 years old when she was born.
North described her father with much admiration, “He was a gentle giant”. She said her father had a wonderful sense of humor, “He loved to laugh. When things tickled him, he’d barrel laugh.” He cared for his kids. He was generous all his life. That generosity included sending money whenever possible, to his relatives in South Carolina. He was honest. North tells of a time during the Great Depression when her father was walking to work and a robber attempted to rob him. He had less than 25 cents with him. Her father started talking to the robber explaining to him all the mouths he had to feed, and the robber said, “You keep it” and then walked off.
She is proud that her father fought in WWI. She adds, “I’m a little sad about seeing any of the men go to war. You have to be so proud of them for doing that, but it’s hard to figure out how they recruited so many of them.” North’s uncles served in WWII. Two of her brothers, Ronald and Andy Bright, served in the army.
Andrew Buck Bright died in 1982, he was 88 years old.
North has lived in Fairview since 2003.