Cemetery tour Thursday

SIDNEY — The Shelby County Historical Society will lead a free Graceland Cemetery tour, Thursday, June 21, beginning at 8 p.m.

One hundred years ago this year, in 1918, the Sidney community suffered through twin tragedies, two of the worst times in its history.

Many young men were being drafted and sent off to war — to a strange war far away in Europe. The enemy was the German army. Many of the relatives of the soldiers had friends and neighbors who were of German origin, spoke German only or had relatives in the German army. As word began to return about the deaths of some of our soldiers, community concern turned to anger.

Also in 1918, a strange new disease began sweeping the cities and town of America. It was called the Spanish influenza. In just two months, it killed twice as many people in Shelby County than were lost in the fighting. Fear swept thecommunity.

The tour will include the graves of some of those struck down in battle and some by the fearsome plague and how Sidney lived through those trying times.