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100 Cities / 100 Memorials & Memorial Hunters Club

Blog postings about our program to support the identification, rescue and conservation of our Nations WW1 Memorials.

Three New Project Profiles

There are three new 100 cities / 100 Memorials project worth noting: 

1. From California, the Santa Monica Open Air Theater Memorial Bronze Plaque being submitted by the Sons of American Legion Squadron 283 from the Pacific Palisades. The open air memorial theater at Santa Monica High School is dedicated to the soldiers "Who gave their lives for world liberty". The memorial was dedicated May 30, 1921 and is being refurbished to honor them.

2. From Tennessee's Madison County, To recognize the sacrifice of the men of Madison County who died in the war, the Surgical Dressings Workers of Jackson erected a Memorial Fountain on the Courthouse Square after the war. The date of the installation is unknown. Presumably it happened between 1919 and 1925, which was when the Jackson McClaran Chapter of the Red Cross closed. Originally, the fountain was topped by a sculpture representing an eternal flame or an urn, and it was located against the sidewalk in the northeast quadrant of City Court square. Today, the the column is topped by a flat a metal plaque.

3. From Pennsylvania's Montour County, when their WW1 Soldiers returned, the residents spared no expense in welcoming them home. Contributions of nearly $10,000 (in 1919 dollars) we donated by private citizens and a 4 day welcoming celebration was held in Danville. A granite tablet hols a bronze plaque on each of its four sides inscribe with the names of those who served - not just those who died honoring their community's service to the war.

Important Reminder

We want to remind you, especially if you are planning a project, that you need to submit your grant application before June 15, 2017. The submission instructions are here.

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Looking For a Few Good...

Volunteers Needed to help us implement the Memorial Hunters Club 

The 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program also includes the creation of a National Register of WW1 Memorials under the Memorial Hunter's Club. 

This program not only solicits public engagement in a crowdsource effort to find, identify, record and submit all WW1 Memorials in the USA, but it also seeks to gather the memorial lists from other existing resources including state, county and municipal organizations, historical societies, and institutes of learning that my have existing registers, Today, there is no comprehensive national register of this fading cultural American heritage and the Centennial of WW1 may be our last, best chance to compile this disappearing information. 

The public has responded and we are receiving many submission. Memorial Hunters - We love you!!!

In fact, the response to the program has outstripped our internal resources to manage and post all the results quickly.

This is why we are looking for a small team of volunteer. We need a few volunteers with some web or technology experience that we will train to verify, clean up the submissions, and post the memorials submitted to our national map system. We need some additional volunteers to solicit participation by local communities, schools, church groups, historical societies at the state, county and municipal levels, local veterans organizations, scout troop, universities and others, 

This work will archive the results for future generations to reference. We will put the results into the public domain for any individual, organization or institution to access, download and do with as they please. 

For example, if someone would like to make a wonderful mobile App, this will provide the foundation. If someone would like to travel the country and make 3D, 360 holographic records of the memorials, the core research will have been done. If a local community would like to post a small map of WW1 memorials on their regional web site, the will have a foundation to work from.

The project remembers our heritage, honors our veterans and creates a resource for future generations. And we need to do it NOW while there is national attention on WW1. If helping in this endeavor interests you, please contact theo.mayer@worldwar1centennial.org

You are sure to learn a lot, and have a worthwhile and enriching experience.

Kind regards

Theo
Program Manager
100 Cities / 100 Memorials
For the US World War One Centennial Commission

Memorial Hunting is a great activity for the young, the not so young and especially as a guided experience with your youngsters!
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9 Weeks Left to Submit a Matching Grant Application for Restoring Your Local WW1 Memorial.

The grant application period is coming to a close. If you have a WW1 Memorial project, it is time to get the applications submitted. In order to help you prepare, a number of people have asked for a .pdf copy of the grant application itself to help them prepare their submittal.

We have posted that PDF in the Resources section of the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials web site.

Access it directly here, print out a copy and use it as a reference in preparing the application.


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Saving Hallowed Ground Memorial Tree Program

An Article by John Marks


On August 29, 1914, just months after the outbreak of what would come to be known as "The Great War," a memorial group in Adelaide, Australia planted an English Oak in the city's Creswell Gardens. This was the first "memorial tree" dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives serving in World War I. In the years that followed, memorial groups, veterans' organizations, and others planted memorial trees in communities throughout the United States and around the globe to honor the lives lost during the conflict. As the centennial anniversary of World War I approaches, Saving Hallowed Ground—a historic preservation and commemoration non-profit organization and an official commemorative partner of the National WWI Centennial Commission—has begun a renewed effort to plant memorial trees to commemorate the WWI era.

General John J. Pershing, Commander of the American Expeditionary Force on the Western Front during WWI, attended a tree planting in Philadelphia in September, 1919. (Photo Credit: Library Company of Philadelphia, World War One Graphics Collection).

Through our Memorial Tree Program, Saving Hallowed Ground offers communities an opportunity to honor the contributions of soldiers and citizens who served on small and large scales across the country and around the world during WWI. On September 11, 2016, Radnor Township, Pennsylvania, and Bateman-Gallagher American Legion Post #668 sponsored the first tree in this renewed program, planting a Swamp White Oak in the township's Veteran's Park. Since then, Saving Hallowed Ground has facilitated the planting of a dozen memorial trees in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and has plans for trees to be planted in South Carolina, Arkansas, and elsewhere. The Memorial Tree Program represents a unique opportunity for communities to engage deeply with their local history and to establish a powerful and lasting connection to the WWI era.

Saving Hallowed Ground Founder and President, Eugene Hough, speaking in his ‘doughboy’ uniform at the dedication of our first Memorial Tree in Radnor, Pennsylvania (Sept. 11, 2016)

Yet just as a colony of Aspen Trees relies on a single, interconnected system of roots, the success of Saving Hallowed Ground's Memorial Tree Program depends on developing and maintaining a strong and widespread network of partners and participants across the country.

"The planting of WWI Memorial Trees represents a unique opportunity for each community to share their stories and unique historical narratives," says Saving Hallowed Grounder Founder and President Eugene Hough. "These contributions and connections are essential for the growth and success of the Memorial Tree Program."

Each participating community will receive an official "Tree Tag," to be permanently installed at the planting site, that identifies the tree as part of the national Memorial Tree Program. These "Tree Tags" allow local sponsors to dedicate the tree to specific individuals, groups, or others who contributed to WWI in significant ways. Each tree planted as part of the program also gets included on a digital map, maintained by Saving Hallowed Ground, identifying the location and dedication of all the Memorial Trees planted with the program.

Communities interested in participating can contact Saving Hallowed Ground through our website to get the process started. Typically, organizations work with local nurseries, horticulture centers, or other entities to secure the donation of a tree to be planted. Once the tree has been obtained, local organizations simply need to provide Saving Hallowed Ground with some information about the tree's location and dedication and we can begin processing and creating their Tree Tag. There is a small sponsorship fee required to obtain the Tree Tag (starting at $110), but many local and national resources, including the 100 Cities/100 Memorials Program, exist to help defray costs.

Students prepare to participate in a Memorial Tree planting event in Wayne, PA (Nov. 11, 2016)

Finally, we encourage sponsoring groups and organizations to reach out to other entities in their community who might be interested in participating. Civic organizations, veterans groups, scouts, historical societies, and local governments have all been enthusiastic partners at previous plantings, and Saving Hallowed Ground is happy to assist you in identifying and recruiting potential partners. Some local sponsoring organizations decide to maximize the impact of their Memorial Tree planting by also participating in Saving Hallowed Ground's other programs. Through our Monument Education & Preservation Program and Follow The Flag Program, we can help engage local students and veterans in restoring WWI monuments or participating in flag folding ceremonies in conjunction with the tree planting. Through participation in these programs, these tree planting ceremonies can become sites for your community to gather together, share stories, and cooperate to commemorate the history of the of the World War I era.

For more information about the program, please visit our website at savinghallowedground.org/memorialtree. On our website you'll find the full participant guide, frequently asked questions, and the digital map of existing trees. You can find out more about the organization, our other programs, and contact information at savinghallowedground.org.

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Cape May County Herald: Woman Asks City’s Help Honoring World War I Veterans on Centennial

Our director of Communications, Chris Isleib, sent me a link to this article. It tells the story of a citizen in Cape May County who wants to refurbish the local WW1 memorial to commemorate the sacrifice of the local veterans who served a century ago.

HELP US CONNECT WITH THESE GOOD FOLKS AND GREAT PROJECTS.

We have $200,000 in matching grants available for project just like this... and there are less than 100 days left to submit grant applications via the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials Website.

We have resources, and a national spotlight for these projects, but we need your help to get the word out.

Thank you!

Theo Mayer & Susan Mennenga Program Managers: 100 Cities / 100 Memorials


By Al Campbell

Posted: Friday, March 10, 2017 12:03 pm | Updated: 12:10 pm, Fri Mar 10, 2017.

By Vince Conti

CAPE MAY – Kate Wyatt, speaking for the Greater Cape May Historical Society, asked Cape May City Council March 7 for support in helping the society celebrate the centennial of America's entry into World War I.
It was in 1917, after a Presidential election in which Woodrow Wilson, former New Jersey governor, ran as the candidate who had kept America out of the war, that Wilson responded to continued German attacks on American merchant vessels by taking the country into the stalemated European conflict. Wyatt said that the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, on a triangular island at the intersection of Columbia Avenue and Gurney Street, is "the only memorial" in Cape May County erected to commemorate the American servicemen lost in that war, as part of its "all wars" theme.
It was dedicated July 4, 1923. On behalf of the Historical Society, Wyatt requested city help in the efforts to mark this important anniversary. She requested that the city polish the large base plaques at the memorial making it easier for visitors to read the history they convey. She also asked that the city plant and maintain a red-white-and-blue garden theme at the base of the monument. Lastly, she asked that the city helps to ensure the presence of a speaker at the monument on Veterans Day. The Monument The obelisk, topped by an eagle with wings outstretched, displays metal plaques that honor veterans from each of the nation's wars starting with the Revolution.

Read the full article: http://www.capemaycountyherald.com/news/government/article_8a2f8dd0-05b3-11e7-81b1-67a573f148f1.html?mode=story

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Governors Island NY Memorial Project submitted to 100C / 100M

This is Kevin Fitzpatrick's excellent post about the WW1 memorial restoration project on Governors Island, NY that he is spearheading.


Last summer I started work on a project that is small in scope but means a lot to me. Today I submitted the final grant application information to the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission for what I am calling the Governors Island World War I Memorial Project.

Last year when my book The Governors Island Explorer's Guide was published I was not done with the island, which is by far my favorite park in the city. I started work on my next book, World War I New York: A Guide to the City's Enduring Ties to the Great War, which comes out in about a month. I wrote a section on Governors Island, since it was so important during WWI. And as anyone who has been to Governors Island can tell you, it has a lot of bronze plaques. Some needed replacing and renovation, which is where my project started.

I met with the Trust for Governors Island, which manages the island and preserves its history. I spoke to the National Park Service, which oversees 22 acres of the National Monument. I led a site inspection by my friends from New Jersey, Peaceable Kingdom Memorials, to visit the memorials and estimate the scope of the project.

Now that the grant application is complete and the restoration and renovation can commence, here is the full outline of the project:

New York City has untold numbers of monuments and memorials spread out across its five boroughs, from the large Grant's Tomb to the modest Balto statue. There is one public park that has the highest concentration of World War I memorials in the city: Governors Island. A military base for two hundred years, the island roads are named for soldiers killed in the Great War and there are more than twenty bronze tablets dotting its 172 acres. For the centennial of the war, this project is to restore and replace three of these tablets: two for soldiers killed in hand-to-hand combat, and one for General John J. Pershing.

Governors Island, located in New York Harbor 800 yards from Manhattan, is one of the most unique parks in the United States. In 1966 the U.S. Army left Fort Jay after tenancy that stretched back to 1800; then the U.S. Coast Guard took over the post and operated for thirty more years. In 1996 the USCG closed the base. In 2003 the U.S. turned the island back over to the people of New York. Today Governors Island functions as both a city-funded public park, and the Governors Island National Monument, twenty-two acres administered by the National Park Service ("The NPS") since 2001. In 2016 more than 500,000 visited Governors Island, which is only open from May to September.

On Governors Island is the National Historic District, with forts, buildings, and monuments that have been designated national and state historic landmarks. It is in the boundaries of the Historic District that the majority of the WWI monuments were left by the U.S. Army. The Historic District, except for the acreage controlled by the NPS, is managed and maintained by the Trust for Governors Island ("The Trust"), a city agency that is part of the City of New York. The mandate of the Trust is to preserve and protect the historic elements dating back to the post-Colonial era left in its care.

The scope of the Governors Island World War One Memorial Project is to support the Trust by replacing two WWI memorials that have gone missing, and to restore one memorial that was damaged by a vehicle. These bronze tablets will be replaced and restored with the support and approval of the Trust.

The research, project management, and funding is being provided by Kevin C. Fitzpatrick. He is an author of two books on Governors Island history, a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve veteran, and professional project manager. The restoration and replacement of the memorials is contracted to Peaceable Kingdom Memorials of Neptune City, New Jersey; the owner's grandfather was a WWI veteran stationed at Fort Jay as the island's tailor.

About the Memorials

There are three components to the project. They are named:
1. Private Hay
2. Captain Kimmell
3. General Pershing

The three memorials share these characteristics:
* Cast bronze tablets
* Measure 12 inches x 8 inches
* Dedicated by the U.S. First Army (formerly headquartered on Governors Island)
* Included on numerous online databases for U.S. monuments

It is important to replace these memorials to honor the men who served our country. The boulders that the memorials were once attached to are still in their original location and condition. This cuts the cost of the project because three bases for the memorials do not need to be brought to the island. The importance of the project is that with these three missing memorials, the inventory of Governors Island World War One locations has three holes in it, places that should be filled in time for the centennial. Each of the service members was unique in his own way with a story worth remembering and honoring; currently there are only three large boulders with empty places on them.

Why Governors Island? Why a WWI project? One of the hallmarks of the government of Flanders for the centennial of the Great War is what it calls "peace tourism." To quote:

"There is also the further objective to considerably increase peace tourism in Flanders…The First World War has left a great many visible scars upon the landscape. Aside from the numerous military cemeteries, graveyards and war memorials, there is a host of other landmarks to remind people of the events that happened during the Great War. For that reason, Flanders considers it important that relics of the War be suitably maintained and preserved. To achieve that aim, investments are made in the renovation, restoration, and maintenance of World War I sites."

The centennial of World War I can be the impetus to make Governors Island a new destination for commemorative and peace tourism. Just like battlefield tours, cemetery visits, and national monument tourism, Governors Island could be termed the best World War I collection of memorials in New York. While it does not have a Doughboy statue–there are fifteen spread around the city–it does have more memorials for more people than any other location (excluding cemeteries).

Governors Island also has the added historical ties of the first military action in the war: On the night of April 6, 1917, minutes after the U.S. Congress declared war, soldiers from Fort Jay boarded Coast Guard and Army tugs and seized all of the German ships in the harbor. These vessels, were converted to troopships, such as USS Leviathan, to carry Doughboys to France. Governors Island was an important training post, center of General Leonard Wood's preparedness movement, and a vital supply depot during the war. While many other locations in New York that played a part in WWI have been lost to development or time, Governors Island exists in a kind of time warp, appearing almost exactly as it was left by the Army in 1966. By adding Governors Island to the list of international WWI memorials, perhaps it will draw some of the 50 million annual visitors to New York to the island.

History and Background About the Memorials

The memorials share certain characterics that tie to First Army and are historic in nature. In 1928, for the tenth anniversary of the Armistice, the Sixteenth Infantry Regiment, headquartered at Fort Jay, set out on an ambitious memorial project of its own. The regiment named every major road for fallen members from its ranks, including the first three American Doughboys killed together in 1917 in France. One of these was Private Hay, who has a damaged memorial. The regiment named the docks, piers, and scenic locations for battles and engagements, such as Meuse-Argonne Point and Soissons Dock. General Pershing, who sailed for France from Governors Island, had a tree memorial dedicated on the centennial of his birth in 1960. That memorial is now missing, while the oak tree thrives.

This is an overview of the three memorials, their history, and their current status.

Private Hay (restoration) – Hay Road (1928)
GPS Location: 40.690909, -74.018651

War Bond Fundraising appeal.The charming, tree-lined road that stretches from Castle Williams northeast along Regimental Row is Hay Road. It is named for Private Merle David Hay, one of the first Americans to die in France in World War I. Hay was a farm boy and store clerk from Glidden, Iowa, who signed up to fight just weeks after the United States declared war on Germany. Within three weeks of enlisting Private Hay sailed to France, and a few months later he became one of the first three U.S. Army soldiers to die there. On Nov. 3, 1917, German troops raided their trench position near the village of Bathelémont les Bauzemont, east of Nancy. Enemy soldiers killed Private Hay, along with Corporal James B. Gresham and Private Thomas F. Enright, all serving with Company F, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. The surprise attack by the Germans occurred at night, with vastly outmanned American forces engaging the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. Witnesses saw Private Hay using a bayonet to fight two German soldiers during the battle, and he was found dead after the attack. Two days later, Corporal Enright and Privates Gresham and Hay were buried near where they had died. An inscription marked their graves: "Here lie the first soldiers of the illustrious Republic of the United States who fell on French soil for justice and liberty." In 1921, Private Hay's remains were removed and reinterred in his Iowa hometown. The cemetery itself, previously known as West Lawn Cemetery, was renamed Merle Hay Memorial Cemetery.

In 1928 the 16th Infantry named this road in honor of Private Hay. A memorial bronze plaque was affixed to a boulder on the roadway post-World War II. At some point in the last five years, a vehicle struck, damaged, and knocked the memorial off its base. The Trust has the damaged tablet in its care. This memorial will be sent out for restoration and refurbishment. It will then be returned to Governors Island and replaced to its original location on Hay Road. The Hay memorial will also be used as a template for the other two missing plaques.

Captain Kimmell (replacement) – Kimmell Road (1928)
GPS Location: 40.690130, -74.012458
37 Kimmel Road, Brooklyn, NY 11231

The scenic island perimeter Kimmell Road begins at Pier 101 and runs along the water facing Red Hook, Brooklyn. It terminates at Yankee Landing. This road was dedicated in 1928 to honor Captain Harry Lispenard Kimmell, Jr., Company C, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. Captain Kimmell was born in 1895 in the District of Columbia, the son of Commander Harry L. Kimmell, Sr., an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy. He was an appointed a midshipman in July 1914 but withdrew and joined the Army after the U.S. entered the war. Captain Kimmell earned the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions on July 19, 1918, south of Soissons, when his company was halted by machine-gun fire. He led a platoon through a heavy barrage and captured a German machine-gun nest, forcing them to surrender. His gallantry enabled the entire battalion to continue the advance. He won a second Distinguished Service Cross posthumously. He led two platoons of his company against a strongly held enemy position in the Argonne Forest. He fell mortally wounded while leading the advance, but other members of his command, inspired by his gallantry, successfully assaulted the enemy position. Captain Kimmell was killed in action near Fleville, France, on Oct. 9, 1918. Captain Kimmell was 22 years old when he died and was posthumously promoted to major. His remains were interred in Argonne American Cemetery; in 1921 they were buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 3, Grave 4089.

In 1928 the 16th Infantry named this road in honor of Captain Kimmell. A memorial bronze plaque was affixed to a boulder on the roadway post-World War II. At some point in the last two years the memorial has gone missing. A replica of the plaque, using older photos, will be created. It will then be returned to Governors Island and replaced to its original location on Kimmell Road. [Note: the original plaque had Captain Kimmell's surname misspelled and incorrect date of death; these will be corrected on the replacement memorial plaque.]

Pershing Hall and the Pershing Oak.
General Pershing (replacement) – The Pershing Oak (1960)
GPS Location: 40.691661, -74.013638

A tree memorial is a living memorial. Nobody knows the history of tree memorials, but the practice gained an immense following after World War One. In the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island, thousands of tree memorials were dedicated to service members following the war. Regimental Grove in Central Park still exists and a few tree memorials remain nearby the Brooklyn Public Library. On Governors Island one tree memorial stands for General of the Armies, John J. Pershing, within sight of the dock he departed the U.S. in 1917 to lead the American Expeditionary Forces. The oak stands in front of Pershing Hall, built in 1934, and once the home of First Army. From this building the Army planned Operation Overlord in World War II.

In 1935, upon his 75th birthday, every French battlefield town liberated by the A.E.F. held oak tree planting ceremonies in General Pershing's honor. It was international news when the commander in chief went back to Saint Mihiel for the tree planting. In remarks, he said that America would defend France again, "They were services we would be ready to give again if circumstances warranted." Twenty-five years later the centennial of General Pershing's birth was 13 September 1960. President Eisenhower proclaimed September 13 as General of the Armies John J. Pershing Centennial Day. The President called for "appropriate ceremonies designed to commemorate the life and accomplishments" of the general on the centennial of his birth in Laclede, Missouri. New York State followed suit, with a similar proclamation from Governor Nelson Rockefeller made in Albany.

The Army held a grand ceremony while planting an oak sapling tree memorial on Governors Island. Today the oak is massive, and towers perhaps 100 feet. While the A.E.F. commander has a square named in his honor on Forty-second Street in Manhattan, this 1960 tree memorial is the only living memorial for him in the city.

At some point in the last three years the bronze plaque has gone missing. A replica of the plaque, using older photos, will be created. It will then be returned to Governors Island and replaced at its original location next to the Pershing Oak.

Project Leads for Restoration

Project Leader: Kevin C. Fitzpatrick
New York, New York
Mr. Fitzpatrick has been visiting Governors Island since it opened to the public in 2003. He began leading walking tours there in 2010. Mr. Fitzpatrick is the author of The Governors Island Explorer's Guide (Globe Pequot Press, 2016) and World War One New York: A Guide to the City's Enduring Ties to the Great War (Globe Pequot Press, 2017). Both detail locations on Governors Island from WWI. He has written and edited five other books and is a licensed NYC sightseeing guide. Mr. Fitzpatrick has been a project manager for more than 20 years, and has worked on the staffs of MTV, the New York Times, Time Warner Cable, Pearson, and HarperCollins.

Restoration Leader: Peaceable Kingdom Memorials, Inc.
Neptune City, New Jersey
Peaceable Kingdom Memorials was established on the Jersey Shore in 1995 by Beth Duze Woolley. She had fifteen years experience in the monument industry before launching the business. Among the many memorials and monuments the company has created: National Historic Landmark plaques for the National Park Service, plaques at Monmouth Battleground State Park, the Church of the Presidents in Long Branch, President U.S. Grant memorial in Long Branch, and New Jersey's first monument to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The company has also worked on historic cemetery conservation and restoration in a dozen burial grounds in New Jersey (full list available). The company works with many regional history groups, including the Long Branch Historical Association, on local tablets and memorials. Ms. Woolley's paternal grandparents lived on Governors Island (in a tent) during World War I when her grandfather was the post tailor.

Bronze Casting Work: Matthews Bronze
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Matthews International Corporation traces its roots back to 1850 in southwestern Pennsylvania. It is an international leader in the memorial product business and has clients around the world. In 1927 Matthews pioneered the flush bronze memorial tablet, which revolutionized the cemetery industry. For more than twenty years, Matthews has been manufacturing the cast bronze inductee plaques for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. Two of the company's most famous bronze memorials are for United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 11, 2001, and the Elvis Presley gravesite memorial at Graceland in Memphis.

Timing and Rededication

The restoration work will take place in the spring and summer 2017. The installation will be in early September 2017. The rededication will take place for all three memorials during Governors Island World War I History Weekend, Sept. 16-17, 2017. 

The event is free and open to the public.

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Matching Grant Project Profile - Brown county, Texas

Matching Grant Project Profile - Brown county, Texas

Brown County Texas has submitted their grant application to 100 Cities / 100 Memorials. Here is a profile on their project from their submission:


Restoring the World War I Memorial Brown County Texas

Very few if any American Legion Posts have done as much to restore, preserve, and improve their World War I Memorials as American Legion Post 196 in Brownwood, Texas. Our local World War I Memorial was placed at Brownwood High School in 1921. Funds were raised for the memorial by the Brownwood High School Class of 1921. Brownwood High School opened in 1917 and closed in 1961 when a new high school was built across town.

The World War I Memorial was located behind a bush, and most people had forgotten about it. With the help of the Central Texas Veterans' Memorial committee, the original World War I Memorial was moved from its old location to a new Central Texas Veterans' Memorial location in the 36th Division Memorial Park in Brownwood.

The World War I Memorial that honors those who served, fought, and died in World War I was weathered, aged, and forgotten. This was a sacred memorial to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War I, the Great War, the War to End All Wars. Most people have forgotten the shared sacrifice that united our country in World War I. In 19 months of war from April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918, our country of 92 million people suffered 117,465 total fatalities of which 53,402 were combat deaths. Additionally, there were 204,002 wounded. Many countries in the world sustained a "lost generation". Many soldiers knew they had a "rendezvous with death". The book "Miracle at Belleau Wood" by Axelrod should be required reading for every American.

We moved our old World War I Memorial to its new site in 2016. The new memorial site included the old World War I Memorial along with a new granite tablet with the names of the 39 Brown County veterans who died in World War I, a new plaque with the wording from the old World War I Memorial that had become difficult to read, and another new plaque telling about the original World War I Memorial. The cost just for the World War I portion of the memorial was approximately $12,000. The profound words on the original World War I Memorial were these:

To those men from Brown County
Who rendered valiant service in the world war;
Who feared not;
Who believed in the sacred principles
Upon which this republic is founded;
Who preferred death to slavery;
Who signified a willingness to give their lives
And to perpetuate democracy;
This monument is reverently dedicated.

The new Central Texas Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 11, 2016. The podium for the dedication was placed in front of the old World War I Memorial. United States Congressman Mike Conaway was our guest speaker. The memorial was dedicated at exactly 11:00 AM on November 11, 2016.


The Central Texas Veterans' Memorial honors all Veterans, but especially the 259 Veterans from Brown County who made the ultimate sacrifice from World War I forward. There were 39 fatalities in World War I, 198 in World War II, 8 in the Korean War, 11 in the Vietnam War, and 3 after September 11, 2001. The memorial consists of 12 granite tablets around a 75 foot diameter concrete circle. 

They honor the 259 local heroes; Fighting 36th Infantry Division-Texas National Guard-that trained here in World War II; Camp Bowie-Brownwood Texas; Major General Fred Walker-commanding general of the 36th Division in World War II and representing all officers from Brown County; Commando Charles Kelly-The One Man Army-the first recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor in Europe in World War II and representing all enlisted men from Brown County - especially those who returned from all wars with PTSD; the Lost 36th Division Battalion in the Vosges Mountains of France; the Lost 36th Division Battalion on Java; and Colonel Jack Bradley who was Brownwood's most decorated combat veteran. We moved the old World War II Memorial from across town to this new site. We also have plaques honoring veterans from the Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Additionally, we have a concrete walking trail just under 1/2 mile long with a handicapped water fountain and benches for people to sit and rest. There is a handicapped accessible sidewalk leading to the VA Clinic and to Brownwood Regional Medical Center with blacktopped parking and multiple van accessible handicapped parking spaces. There is an area for Veterans' Memorial Bricks which includes bricks with the names of many local veterans.

American Legion Post 196 is very proud to have been vitally involved with the restoration, preservation, modernization, and memorialization of the original World War I Memorial and the new Central Texas Veterans' Memorial in Brownwood, Texas.


Get YOUR 100C/100M project submitted early so we can proudly present it to the world!

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Some Recent Question From You...

Here are three great questions that have come up recently:


I'll paraphrase the questions

Question from Donna:

Our preliminary project budget breakdown is estimated at $3000 in
materials and $4000 in labor. If we can get local firms, and professionals
to donate some or all of the time and materials needed to
execute the project, can that in-kind donation count as part of the match for the program?

Donna

Since it is not specified in the competition manual, we met with the program executive committee and got a ruling on this one, . Here is the answer.

Answer:

YES, in-kind donations by a business or supplier can be considered for the match however: 

1. The rate or cost of the in-kind donation is at a standard, commercial and competitive rate they would charge for that service if it were paid for. 

2. The company provides a letter declaring the service and it's commercial value. 

3. They provide an invoice for the service with a line item of the donation that zeroes it out. 

It would however exclude volunteer labor.. IE if a group of legionnaires come out and help you do gardening, you can't just throw a value on that and submit it to the match.


Question from James:

I just ran into this site by a bit of happenstance. Any chance the Commission might accept late submissions. Our city's Eagle Memorial is in dire need of rehabilitation. Thanks!

James

Answer:

The submission period for grant applications is open until June 15, 2017 and the project needs to be scheduled for completion by November 11, 2018 - so I think you should be in good shape. 

A great way to get the ball rolling is to contact your local American Legion post, VFW post and Daughters of the American Revolution chapter. These folks will likely have been involved with the original establishment of the memorial. The American Legion and the VFW are also both supporting members of the program - They can be powerful allies and partners in getting these service projects happening.

Question from Mathew:

Our Central School District is working on a monument project involving a bronze tablet that was cast in 1919 with the names of men who died in service from the central towns in our county. The tablet was mounted on the front wall of the county courthouse and remained there until the local American Legion post relocated, to which they took the tablet with them.
Over the last 100 years, the tablet has had many homes but due to recent arrangements was in storage. Students with the school are attempting to raise money and awareness to establish a local monument for WWI veterans using that tablet.
As far as I know, as county historian, we have no memorial dedicated solely to WWI veterans. Would this project be eligible for a grant?

Mathew

Answer:

YES, provided that the project is slated to be completed prior to 11/11/2018. 

Your project accomplished all the goals we are after: 

  • Restoring and preserving the honor to the vets, 
  • Creating a community awareness of the community's connection to WW1 and 
  • Teaching the next generation about that. 

I am not on the jury so I have no sway - however,  I just want to say: Thank you! 

Additionally, if you get a preliminary grant application done and submitted , we can promote the project on the US WW1 Commission's website, giving your project visibility, credibility and some sway with local funding sources. You can updated your submission after all the way until the submission deadline on June 15th, 2017.


We will post more questions as they come up in these final months before the grant application deadline on June 15, 2017. Thank you all for your interest and incredible dedication in getting these wonderful projects going!

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