In 1917, Martin Treptow lived in Cherokee, Iowa. He was a barber, a common man. In that year 1917, our United States was drawn into a horrible war, World War I and Martin Treptow enlisted. He was a young man with his whole life in front of him, but he signed up to fight.
In December of that year, 1917, Private Treptow and his regiment landed in France. He was a member of the famous “Rainbow Division”. His job was to carry important messages between battalions on the frontline — it was very dangerous — but Martin took on the job.
The men in Martin’s regiment noticed something about Martin – he carried a small notebook, a diary in his inside pocket. He never talked about his writings but he was always noting in his diary.
Martin Treptow was a good soldier, he did his job well, and on July 29, 1918, while carrying a crucial message between battalions under heavy artillery fire, Martin Treptow, a common man, an Iowa Barber, Private Martin Treptow was killed in battle. And when Martin’s dead body was found on the battlefield, as they searched through his pockets to find that message he was delivering — instead they found his diary, and in that diary there was a message — a message to be delivered to all of us here tonight. At the top of the front page of his diary, it was titled “My Pledge”, and under it, these simple, common, powerful words:
“America must win this war. Therefore
I will work,
I will save,
I will sacrifice,
I will endure,
I will fight cheerfully,
and do my utmost,
as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.”
Let us all take serious consideration of what our own “Pledge” to our America must be.
About Jerry Stewart
I am a story teller. Since 1998, I have been telling the true stories of our nation and those Americans gone before us. To say the least, these stories have been well received by Americans, both young and old. So, here’s where the stories have taken me. In 1998, I was broadcasting my stories on just one radio station in Washington State. Today, from Texas 15 years later, these programs are now broadcast through a syndicated radio network to over 400 radio stations all across America, with literally millions of listeners.