It all started seemingly by chance. A collection of circumstances, so random and yet, so interwoven.
The results of these events were catastrophic. Societies upended; Economies ravaged; People dead as
battles raged against a faceless enemy. Disquieting anxiety settled in on what the future held in store for
all. Individuals on the frontlines dug in for a protracted engagement. Yes, the last few months have been
without precedent.
These last weeks have been a time to take stock of what is and is not essential in our lives…what we can
live with or without…and what we are genuinely thankful for.
We are reminded how truly blessed we all are to live in these United States. Our country has risen to the
challenge since March. Inventories of lifesaving therapeutic medicines and medical supplies have
skyrocketed as American industry boosted output, to the point that we now have surpluses and are now
looking at how we can ship those supplies to our international neighbors.
Why would we do that? Why send away these materials that, just a few short weeks ago, were in such
short supply or imperative to our own citizens’ care and recovery? Should we not hold onto these
provisions for the next health crisis? The truth is, to do so would run counter to who and what we are as
Americans. We are generous and compassionate by nature in this country, and we see that generosity
and compassion time and again. Sometimes we realize it during the times of national or local
emergencies as communities band together to support each other. Other times we will simply notice how
our neighbor comes to plow out our driveway after a few inches of snow. At its base, we all have, and
we give to those who have not. We do not need to be commanded to do so by some higher authority; we
want to help.
The pinnacle of that selflessness manifests itself in segments of our populace that we all know: medical
first responders, law enforcement, and military service members. These are individuals whose assistance
goes well beyond the norm. In many cases, they hold our own lives in their hands as they treat us, protect
us, and defend us.
Clara Goldsmith, this year’s Hometown Hero, was such a person.

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Nearly 106 years ago, the nations of the world were making that terrible descent into conflict. The “war
to end all wars” was one of the first conflicts in which professionally trained nurses were an integral part.
By extension, World War I illustrated a dependence on medical personnel trained in trauma care and the
urgency to prepare them for war. Over 22,000 professionally trained female nurses were recruited into
the American Red Cross for service with the U.S. Army between 1917 and 1919, and over 10,000 of
these served near the Western Front. Another 1,500 or so nurses served in the U.S. Navy during this
time, and several hundred more worked for the American Red Cross.
The nurses of World War I found themselves situated in numerous places around the frontlines of the
war. Some worked in field hospitals just behind the lines, more were placed in evacuation hospitals miles

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further back, and others were located at base hospitals safely away from the front. These hospitals
spanned the globe and were in Australia, Egypt, England, France, Belgium, Greece, India, and modernday
Turkey and Israel.
The nurses endured many of the same terrible hardships the soldiers experienced: exhaustion,
homesickness, grim conditions, bitter winters, and intense heat. Additionally, various diseases and
infections spread where the nurses worked, especially in field hospitals, due to the crude and often
unhygienic areas.
Not unlike ourselves here in 2020, the nurses of the day also grappled with a viral outbreak known as the
“Spanish Flu.” Known as one of the deadliest outbreaks ever, the Flu infected around 500 million people,
about a third of the global population. The Spanish Flu killed between 17 and 50 million people, a wideranging
estimate that reflected the brutal conditions realized in treating the disease and tracking deaths.
By comparison, the contemporary coronavirus afflicting the present day has resulted in just over 5 million
infections and 328,000 deaths thus far.
The implementation of professional nurses in World War I was exceedingly helpful and aided in saving
untold lives. Several nurses from World War I received awards and commendations for their bravery
and courage.
Indeed, many nurses are at rest in Arlington National Cemetery. Over 650 nurses who fearlessly served
in the U.S. Armed Forces are buried in Section 21 of the Cemetery, which is often called the “Nurses
Section.” There, amidst a backdrop of evergreens, an 11-foot-tall white marble statue appears to gaze
reverently upon the deceased nurses that lie before her. Signifying “The Spirit of Nursing,” the immortal
female icon wears simple attire with her hair pinned up, a realistic style of many of the Great War’s
Clara L. Goldsmith was born on April 16, 1895, in Logan County and later moved with her family to
York Center, where she attended school. She was the daughter of Matthew and Mary Johnston
Rosebrook. Mrs. Goldsmith had a twin sister Cara, a sister Mae, brothers William, John Benjamin (Ben),
and Chester.
She entered Nurses Training School located in Springfield, Ohio, in 1913, where she graduated three
years later. In 1918, Clara became an Army Nurse in Camp Pike, Little Rock, Arkansas. Mrs. Goldsmith
battled Rheumatic Fever for ten weeks in a Fresno, California Hospital. In 1923 she served on the staff
of the Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. One year later, in 1924, Mrs. Goldsmith married what would
be her husband of 47 years, David. She was very active at the East Grand Boulevard Methodist Church
in Detroit, serving as church librarian, school secretary, and church treasurer. Later in life, she returned
to Ohio. She lived in Marysville and became a member of the First United Methodist Church there. Mrs.
Goldsmith died on March 10, 1978, and was buried right here in the East Liberty Cemetery.
There is a song called “The Rose of No Man’s Land.” It was written as a tribute to the Red Cross nurses
at the front lines of World War I.

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I’ve seen some beautiful flowers
Grow in life’s garden fair
I’ve spent some wonderful hours
Lost in their fragrance rare
But I have found another
Wondrous beyond compare...
There’s a rose that grows in no-man’s land
And it’s wonderful to see
Though its sprayed with tears, it will live for years
In my garden of memory
It’s the one red rose the soldier knows
It’s the work of the Master’s hand
‘Neath the War’s great curse stands a Red Cross nurse
She’s the rose of no-man’s land
Out in the heavenly splendor
Down to the trail of woe
God in his mercy has sent her
Fearing the World below
We call her Rose of Heaven We’ve
longed to love her so...
There’s a rose that grows in no-man’s land
And it’s wonderful to see
Though it’s sprayed with tears, it will live for years
In my garden of memory
It’s the one red rose the soldier knows
It’s the work of the Master’s hand
‘Neath the War’s great curse stands a Red Cross nurse
She’s the rose of no-man’s land

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This year’s Hometown Hero is Clara L. Goldsmith, and we thank her and all the “roses” who have aided
our service members and veterans during their most desperate times of need.
Tyler Hall