Staff Writer

It’s been said three things lived inside the trenches during World War I: rats, water, and soldiers. Conditions were less than ideal, where they took up shelter for weeks at a time to avoid machine gun fire and artillery attack from the air.

Due to unsanitary conditions, disease was rampant, including trench foot, a condition that affected soldiers that remained in wet socks and boots for extended periods of time. This often led to gangrene, which could result in nerve damage, tissue loss, or amputation.

Inside the Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda, there is a life-size trench exhibit, so guests can get a visual representation of how soldiers lived during that time.

On Friday, the Military Heritage Museum held a commemorative event for the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, and the end of World War I.

Executive director of the museum Gary Butler said the museum wanted to create a realistic visual experience with the trench, which is an ongoing exhibit.

“That’s what people remember,” said Butler, “This [trenches] was a key part of their service.”

For more on the museum visit:



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