The Passions of Patriots Blog.

Welcome! This is the companion blog for the historical novel The Passions of Patriots, part of the Irish Firebrands family saga.

Like the novel, this blog is a work-in-progress. It will feature research notes, book reviews, best-of-the-web reblogs about the First World War, and progress updates about its namesake novel.

grampa jim 1917 or 1918My French great-grandfathers and Polish grandfather were still fairly recent immigrants to the United States by the time war broke out, and although they had to register with the draft board, they didn’t serve, but the man who later became my Irish step-grandfather did. Grampa was born in Chicago of Irish immigrant parents on Dec. 24, 1894. His draft registration is dated June 12, 1917. I know nothing about his service, but this photo survives.

About two years after my Polish grandfather died, Grampa married Gramma. He was an excellent stepfather to my mother and her siblings, and was my favorite grandfather. He died when I was in kindergarten. The Passions of Patriots is not by any stretch of the imagination “his” story, but he is my connection to the Great War, and I plan to dedicate the book to his memory.

Like his fellow doughboy veterans, Grampa received the Victory Medal when it was issued in 1921. The medal had a beautiful rainbow-colored ribbon when it was new, but that had disappeared by the time I appeared on the scene. When I was a kid, sometimes my mother would let me put the heavy medallion on a string and wear it as a pendant. It lives in my fire safe, now. It’s difficult to find good, detailed images of the decoration, especially of the reverse (which I think is the more interesting side), so until I can get Grampa’s medal scanned, these will have to do.

WWI medal reverse2

WWI medal face2


Filed under Great War

7 responses to “The Passions of Patriots Blog.

  1. So far, so good! I’m very impressed with the new blog, my friend! What a sweet story about Grampa. And even sweeter that he gets a dedication. 🙂 I can’t wait to read the book! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you! Grampa had been one of those Irish bachelors who married late, and he didn’t have kids of his own, but he enjoyed fathering and grandfathering. I was the fourth grandchild, but he made each one of us feel special. Even though I was only six when Grampa died, I have a fair number of vivid memories of him, to go with the stories my mother can tell about her “Pa.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Irish Firebrands: Christine Plouvier, Novelist and commented:

    “The Passions of Patriots” Blog goes public today! December feels like a good time to debut a “new baby” blog, because it’s the ultimate Birthday Month: my son’s and mine, Grampa’s (120th), my blogging anniversary, and of course, Christmas (see my post about the Christmas Truce). As the “Irish Firebrands” family of blogs grows, I thank you for your support!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good stuff. My grandfather came back with one lung.

    Liked by 1 person

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