Paul Rugh (left) and his younger brother Roy Rugh (seated on the right), both born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, had this portrait made in July 1917 when they registered for military service. Paul, who had already served two four-year enlistments in the Marines between 1903 and 1912, joined this time to protect his younger brother. Instead, he was severely shell shocked and disabled. He was discharged and sent home to their brother Edward, who cared for him until Paul died. Roy saw action at Toul, Second Marne, Chemin des Dames, and St. Mihiel. He suffered lung damage from gasses used at the front but returned home able to work.
John Rosamond Johnson, a prolific composer, producer, and performer of African American music, wrote "Welcome Home Again" in 1919. "Gather around and join the crowd in the jubilee, Shake the hand of 'Hero Boys' from over the sea." After serving less than one year as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 15th Infantry, New York Guard, Johnson resumed his musical career.