Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the treadOf the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
A lot of them WEREN'T volunteers
So? They served. That's what matters.
Well, I think the implication of many of them volunteers is that many also were draftees.
The Library of Congress has a great website on the WW I draft (see; https://blogs.loc.gov/headlinesandheroes/2018/06/wwi-draft/ ).The website notes that 70% of WW I's four (4) million soldiers were draftees...and they served well. What is a bit deceptive on this issue is after the first blush of volunteers in 1917, the doors were shut for further enlistment in the Army after December 15, 1917 and thereafter all entrants into the Army would come into that service via a draft classification system of the Selective Service System.The Navy and Marine Corps took volunteers until August 8, 1918, when they too would only receive new recruits through the selective service system.Forcing people to come through a classification system of selective service, which identified highly skilled tradesmen needed for technical tasks. It was an attempt to find skilled mechanics, railroad personnel, etc, to avoid costly training of volunteers for these tasks. Selective service questionnaires identified people with specialties to send to the Army, not just raw-boned recruits. One last note is worth mentioning about these draftees: About 20% of all these draftees were immigrants or sons of immigrants from many foreign countries, whom we owe a lot for their service. They spoke 46 languages when they walked into boot camp. To manage that kind of Tower of Babel and shape them into troops to use by trainers was quite a task due to communication challenges. That is quite a story in itself! For further reference on this subject, I recommend David Laskin's book, "The Long Way Home: An American Journey From Ellis Island to The Great War."
What is the status of the memorial?
Memorial info: https://www.worldwar1centennial.org/