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Helen Holt was married to the youngest man ever elected to the US Senate. After his early death, Helen was elected the 1st female Sec. of State of West Virginia, then served under 8 Presidents establishing elder health care facilities.
If history is biography, then this story, the life of Helen Holt, will clarify some historical issues. Issues like integrity in politics, the merits of education, aid for the elderly, and so much more absorbed Helen's time. As Vice Pres. Joe Biden said, "[Her] life represents a part of the American story." Born in 1913, Helen continues at age 101 to inspire all who know her.
Helen was born August 16, 1913. A quote from William Shakespeare best describes the hesitation that was in the air around the world in 1913, before the storm of war:
Lest you awake the sleeping sword of war;
We charge you in the name of God take heed!
For never two such kingdoms did contend
Without much fall of blood.
The year 1913 marked the end of what was considered the ‘glittering age;’ but the so-called splendor was only on the surface, especially in the cities. Paris was considered the “quintessential city of seduction, sensation, and spectacle.” While his fellow Parisians were concerned about the riotous premiere of Stravinsky's ‘The Rite of Spring,’ French President Raymond Poincaré was still upset about the German take-over of Lorraine (that was back in 1870) and was uncompromising in his attitude toward Germany. In August, 1912, he assured the Russians that his government would stand by the Franco-Russian alliance. However, anticipating the inevitable, in November, he concluded an agreement with Britain committing both countries to consult in the event of an international crisis as well as on joint military plans. We mentioned this because Alsace-Lorraine was the home of Helen's ancestors.
In Greece, King George I was assassinated after having spent fifty years on the throne. His son, Constantine, succeeded him. Also in 1913, the Second Balkan War broke out when Bulgaria attacked Serbia and Greece, two countries who were once its allies. Even the Pope in Rome anticipated the relentless advance of the European powers toward war. He watched in silence, praying he was wrong. In 1914, Pope Pius X met with an emissary of Emperor Franz Joseph and told him that he blessed peace not war. (In 1954, Pope Pius X was canonized, the first pope since Pope Pius V, 1566–1572.)
The year before the war was long remembered as a European idyll, a short poem of passive pleasure with the undertones of strife. But in this country, the idyll description was real. No turmoil … yet!