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From Loon Lake
Herewith bio the poet Warren Penfield
Born Indianapolis Indiana August 2 1899
Moved at an early age with parents to southern Colorado
First place Ludlow Consolidated Grade School Spelling Bee 1908
Ludlow Colorado Boy of the Year 1913
Colorado State Mental Asylum x1914, 1915
Enlisted US Army Signal Corps 1916
Valedictorian US Army Semaphore School Augusta Georgia
Assigned First Carrier Pigeon Company Seventh Signal Battalion
First division, AEF. Saw action Somme Offensive pigeons having the shit shot out of them feathers falling over trenches blasted in bits like snowflakes shifting through the concussions of air or balancing on the thin fountain of a scream.
Citation accompanying Silver Star awarded Warren Penfield 1918: that his company of pigeons having been rendered inoperable and all other signal apparatus including field telephone no longer available to him Corporal Penfield did stand in an exposed position lit by flare under enemy heavy fire and transmit in extended arm semaphore the urgent communication of his battalion commander until accurate and redemptive fire from his own artillery indicated the message had been received. This was not true. What he transmitted via full arm semaphore under enemy heavy fire was the first verse of English poet William Wordsworth’s "Ode Intimations of Immortality" from Recollections of Early Childhood as follows quote: There was a time when meadow grove and stream the earth and every common sight to me did seem appareled in celestial light the glory and the freshness of a dream…endquote.
So informed Secretary of Army in letter July 4 1918, medal enclosed.
Incarceration US Army Veterans PsychologicalFacility Nutley New Jersey 1918…
Excerpted from Loon Lake by E. L. Doctorow Copyright © 2012 by E.L. Doctorow. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.