The Brave & The Bold: 21st General Hospital During WWII

On this Memorial Day, we are honored to share a reflection from Gold Foundation supporter Dr. Harry Agress Jr.

One of the greatest stories about humanism is one I could never have imagined.

It involves my Dad, hematologist Lt. Col. Harry Agress Sr., and the other heroic doctors, nurses and staff from Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. This amazing team selflessly and courageously cared for up to 4,000 wounded a day in hospitals of their own creation during WWII.

I knew very little about this, as my father rarely discussed it. My sister stumbled across an audio recording about his experience in World War II. Then I dug in to see what I could learn.

I was frankly awestruck by what I discovered.

This team of healthcare professionals started from zero beds and built hospitals to care for thousands of wounded soldiers, both American and prisoners of war, as well as injured civilians. They had an incomparable work ethic and a complete and total respect for human life.

The presentation “The Brave and the Bold: The 21st General Hospital During WWII” shares what I discovered as I looked further into how they handled the many complicated challenges they faced in the throes of war.

They individuals truly were the Greatest Generation.

I recently presented “The Brave and the Bold” at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, which meant a great deal to me personally, as my father trained and practiced there for his entire career.

Below is a 3-minute introduction, produced by The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

I’d like to express my gratitude on Memorial Day and every day to all the brave veterans and reservists who have served our country.

I am very happy to share this presentation with the Gold community. I hope you will find it stimulating and inspiring.

View the full presentation below:

The Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the medical school affiliated with the Barnes-Jewish Hospital, is a Blackwell member of the Gold Partners Council, a group of medical schools and health systems that are leaders of humanism in healthcare.

For more information or to request a presentation by Dr. Agress at your school or hospital, please reach out to Pia Miller at