OSWEGO – This year marks the centennial of the end of World War I, making it the theme of this year’s Fort Ontario History Conference last weekend.
Historians from across the U.S. and Canada spoke on various topics including the Armistice, the Remembrance Day poppy, and Canadian Army physician and poet John McCrae whose poem “In Flanders Fields” inspired the adoption of the poppy as the symbol of remembrance in Great Britain, Canada, the U.S., and other allied countries.
Other 1914 to 1918 topics covered uniforms and equipment of the Canadian Army, and daily life of the Canadian soldier on the front lines and his family back home.
Fort Ontario State Historic Site Superintendent Paul Lear presented a discussion about the fort’s history as a U.S. Army general hospital during the “war to end all wars.”
It included its conversion from infantry to medical use, daily life, and the impact of the global Spanish Influenza epidemic on the post.
The conference was an official event of the New York State World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee and held at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center in Oswego.