In Flew Enza

Ever wonder about the spanish flu? One of our most esteemed members (who just happens to be my mother lol) posted something on the forum that she had written for our family history awhile back.

It was first printed in Paper Plates, Napkins and Other Musings:

In Flew Enza
I had a little bird
It’s name was Enza
I opened the window
and in flew Enza.

A simple little jump rope rhyme to commemorate the worst epidemic this country has ever seen. One quarter of the population was wiped out in this outbreak. I have no records which of our family members succumbed to Spanish Flu, but there were a number who died in this time frame. It was devastating enough to merit a few paragraphs in any family history.

There has never been absolute proof where the epidemic started. Evidence seems to indicate it began at Fort Riley, Kansas in early Spring 1918. Soldiers burned tons of cow manure. As this was being done a gale sprang up unexpectedly. It became a virtual dust storm. The sun went black. Two days later on March 11 a private reported to the infirmary with a fever, sore throat and headache. Less than a minute later another soldier reported the same symptoms. By noon there were 100 cases, by nightfall, 500. Forty-eight men died in this initial onslaught. Then it seemed to disappear.

This was a good time in this country. Women had the vote, we had airmail, smallpox, anthrax, diphtheria and rabies had all been identified and cured. The country was behind the war effort 100%, celebrating with parades and parties-breeding grounds for an airborne virus. Something no one could hope to identify. Virus were not visible until the invention of the electron microscope, still far in our future.

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