NURSE Ida Henrietta Vietmeier

NURSE Ida Henrietta Vietmeier

Birth
Ulster Township, Floyd County, Iowa, USA
Death 8 Jan 1919 (aged 28)
France
Burial Fere-en-Tardenois, Departement de l'Aisne, Picardie, France
Memorial ID 56640910 · View Source
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Ulster Township is one of twelve townships in Floyd County, Iowa and the birthplace of Ida Henrietta Vietmeier. Born May 12, 1890 to German immigrants Carolina Wilhelmina Koerner and Carl Vietmeier who were married there in 1869. She had eight older siblings; Lydia, Anna, Louis, Charles, William, Hulda, Laura and Minnie. Her father Carl was a very successful farmer raising crops and livestock. He helped organize a Sunday school and church and frequently held the position of School Director and Supervisor.

In 1911 the City Directory of Charles City, Iowa reflected Ida as a seamstress living at 1500 Clark Street. Brother William passed in 1914 and beloved father Carl in 1915 at the age of 73. Her sister Hulda married about this time and moved to Dos Palos, California. Ida also moved to California to attend nursing school in San Francisco and was living there in April 1917, in all probability as a Red Cross nurse or in private practice.

The United Stated declared war on Germany, April 6, 1917 and entered the World War that had been raging in Europe since 1914. Obviously, doctors and nurses would be needed. With only 403 nurses in the Army Nurse Corps (ANC) when the war began, the Surgeon General called for volunteers. Women in hospitals and private duty as well as many in training responded. Those already staffing hospitals could join the ANC through the Army’s newly established base hospital system and through the American Red Cross. By the end of the war, 21,480 women served in the Army Nurse Corps rendering service “beyond expectations” at a time when women were not even allowed to vote”.

Her exact date of entry on active duty with the Army Reserve Nurse Corps is not clear but 17 days following the armistice and the end of World War I, November 28, 1918 she departed Hoboken, New Jersey assigned to Base Hospital # 71. The US Naval Transport Mongolia also carried 169 other Army Nurses. Ida listed her sister Hulda Gauger, Dos Palos, RFD, California as her next of kin. Landing in France via Liverpool England her orders were changed sending her to Camp Hospital # 52 that had been established three months earlier at Le Mans, Department Sarthe with personnel taken from the American Expeditionary Forces at large. It was located in an old monastery and poorly suited for hospitalization. The total normal bed capacity was 1,700, although in an emergency as high as 2,000 patients were cared for at one time. The strength of personnel varied; during the winter of 1918-19, it averaged 60 officers, 650 enlisted men, and 90 nurses. This institution served the 2d Depot Division area, which at times contained as many as 200,000 troops. It handled a large number of patients, and up to December 31, 1918, admitted among others over 4,500 cases of mumps and the surgical service performed 380 operations. It was well equipped in all departments and practically functioned as a base hospital. No battle casualties were received.

Either late 1918 or early 1919 Nurse Vietmeier contracted measles and then died of pneumonia on Wednesday, January 8, 1919. The family was notified by cablegram # 420. The Pacific Coast Journal of Nursing, 1919 reported the French Hospital Alumnae held memorial services for Nurse Ida Henrietta Vietmeier. The changing of the “blue star to gold” was impressive and during this ceremony one of the dead heroine’s classmates sang ‘Blest Be the Tie that Binds’. The “Gold” star will ever serve as a symbol of her patriotism and sacrifice to humanity. All who knew Miss Vietmeier regrets her loss as she was a valued and faithful member and friend. Her character portrayed all that was good and beautiful…..Florence B. Kindauer, R. N. She was buried in temporary grave # 191, Grand Cemetery, Grand, Le Mans, Sarthe, Section a, Plot 20 on January 9.

Six months later, the June 30, 1919 edition of the San Francisco Examiner Newspaper reported that Memorial Services in honor of 28 California Nurses who died during the World War would be held at 3 p.m., July 1, 1919 in the auditorium of the Red Cross building, Civic Center. The San Francisco County Nurses Association was hosting the event. All Graduate and pupil nurses and nurse’s aides were requested to attend in uniform. Seating for 700 people available. Ida was one of eight being honored who were members of the San Francisco County Nurses Association. Miss Jane Delano, the Director General of the Department of Nursing, American Red Cross, awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, and passed in France was also among the honorees. It is not known if Ida’s mother traveled to California to attend but no doubt her sister Hulda did.

In October 1919, families of fallen Americans were given the choice of leaving their sons and daughters buried in an American Cemetery in Europe with their comrades or bringing them home for reburial in a State or National Cemetery like Arlington or a cemetery in their hometown. Mother Wilhelmina chose to leave Ida with those she served and served with as did approximately 30% of the families facing that decision. On July 29, 1922, she was disinterred for the final time and reburied in Grave # 8, Row 38, Plot D of the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial, Fere-en-Tardenois, Departement de l'Aisne, Picardie, France. The very next day her mother passed in Charles City, Floyd County, Iowa at the age of 74 and was buried in the Flood Creek Cemetery, Floyd County with her husband Carl. Day is done, God is nigh.

Epilogue:

Seven years later in 1929 Congress enacted legislation that paid the travel expenses to the grave sites for mothers and widows whose sons and husbands had died overseas as members of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) during the war and whose remains are now interred in such cemeteries. Sadly Ida had no relative that was eligible to visit her grave under this program. It would have been wonderful if her sister Hulda who she seemed very close with could have gone.



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  • Maintained by: Larry Hume
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: 8 Aug 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 56640910
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for NURSE Ida Henrietta Vietmeier (12 May 1890–8 Jan 1919), Find a Grave Memorial no. 56640910, citing Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial, Fere-en-Tardenois, Departement de l'Aisne, Picardie, France ; Maintained by Larry Hume (contributor 47179734) .