Atlanta During the Flu Epidemic of 1918

You may have noticed that i am kind of a history nerd, and that includes researching my own family’s history. Recently, my father uncovered an interesting letter written by his grandfather after the death of his grandmother during the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918. The grandfather died less than a year later from complications of the flu, leaving my grandfather and his eight siblings orphaned. My Grandfather was three, and the events of the flu epidemic had a very serious and real impact on his life that resonates with my family here in 2007.

I decided to learn more about the flu epidemic, and started reading up on it online. I was interested in anything particular about the effects of the epidemic on Coffee County, where my grandfather’s family lived. I couldn’t find anything specific on that area, but did come across an interesting University of Georgia site with a chronology of the events of the epidemic in Georgia.

The 1918 epidemic was the worst epidemic in U.S. history. (Why did I never learn this in American history? Seems relevant and interesting.) Almost 700,000 people died in one year, which is more than all Americans killed in all wars of the 20th century; That’s a pretty staggering number. I can only imagine the fear and sense of helplessness that must have been taking over the country, with the epidemic spreading, and the country fighting WWI.

Anyway, the site is interesting, with a chronology of the epidemic in Georgia, and specifics about Atlanta, which somehow had far fewer losses than other cities of comparable sizes.

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