The pilots Mule Rearing African American Soldiers 1 gas masks doughboys with mules African American Officers pilots in dress uniforms Riveters

Dispatch Newletter

The WWI Centennial Dispatch is a weekly newsletter that touches the highlights of WWI centennial and the Commission's activities. It is a short and easy way to keep tabs on key happenings. We invite you to subscribe to future issues and to explore the archive of previous issues.

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the united states world war one centennial commission

March 7, 2017 

AASLH joins the WW1 Poppy Program


AASLH Poppy Program

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission (WW1CC) welcomes the partnership of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) in the new WW1CC Poppy Program, the Commission's great new grassroots awareness and fundraising effort. AASLH is a national association that provides leadership and support for its members, who preserve and interpret state and local history, in order to make the past more meaningful to all people. AASLH has over 6,000 members across the country. The  Poppy Program can help raise revenue for your historical society while raising money for the National WW1 Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC. Read more about AASLH and the Poppy Program here.

Monahan officially sworn in as WW1CC Commissioner during Legion winter meeting

Monahan swearing in

John D. Monahan of Essex, Connecticut was sworn in as Commissioner on the United States World War One Centennial Commission during the American Legion’s 57th annual Washington Conference last week. He was appointed to this position by the American Legion. He has served the Legion in the past as commander of La Place-Champlin American Legion Post 18 in Essex, Conn. and in various post, state and national levels. A 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army, Monahan served in uniform both as an enlisted soldier and as an officer. His swearing in brings the Commission to its full authorized number of 12 commissioners. Read more about the ceremony and the Commission here.

National Museum of American History announces World War I exhibits


The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will commemorate centennial of the official United States involvement in the First World War with a number of displays, exhibits, and programs.  The Museum holds a variety of collections demonstrating the transformative history of World War I and of the United States’ participation in it. The objects and their stories help illuminate civilian participation, civil rights, volunteerism, women’s military service, minority experiences, art and visual culture, medical technological development and new technologies of war and peace. Read more about the Museum's plans for commemorating the Centennial here.

Living history performer recreates life of influential WWI figure Dr. Isaiah Bowman


Doug Batson is a living history performer, a former military geographer, and an expert in the geography of World War I. He brings these passions together when he does performances portraying Dr. Isaiah Bowman, then-Director of the American Geographical Society (AGS). In January 1918, President Wilson tapped Dr. Bowman to lead "The Inquiry," a group of distinguished geographers who served as a precursor to today's National Intelligence Council. With its vast collection of maps and reports, The Inquiry propelled America onto the world stage at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference -- and together, they developed President Wilson's Famous "14 Points". Read about Batson's thoughtful portrayal of the man whose pioneering work in WW1 is still shaping our national security structure today.

U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Tracy Crow Writes About WWI Female Marine Sergeant Lela Leibrand (Ginger Roger's mother)

Wwrite Blog

To kick off Womens History Month, the WWrite Blog features U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Writer, Tracy Crow, author of the critically-acclaimed memoir, "Eyes Right: Confessions from a Woman Marine", "On Point: A Guide to Writing the Military Story" and the anthology, "Red, White, and True: Stories from Veterans and Families, WWII to Present".

For this week's post, Crow discusses WWI Female Marine Sergeant Lela Leibrand, one of the first 10 women to join the Marine Corps. Leibrand was also mother to star Ginger Rogers. A great read!

In July 2017, she, along with co-editor Jerri Bell, will release the anthology, "It's My Country Too: Women's Military Stories from the American Revolution to Afghanistan".

This past weekend, the WWrite blog launched its weekend update, writerly news: all things writerly happening on the Commission's website for the past week plus, feature various news items about WWrite Bloggers including recent publications, public talks, and conferences. If you have a news item regarding WWI and writing, please contact:

White Ceramic Mug: $12.00

Coffe Mug

Cup 'O Ja or Tea Time  - enjoy a hot steamy beverage in an official WW1 Commemorative coffee mug.

This and many other official commemorative products are available at the official merchandise shop.


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A Story of Service from the  Stories of Service section of








Shinichi Takenouchi

Shinichi Takenouchi

Submitted by: Michael Itamura (grandson)

Shinichi Takenouchi served in World War One with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known July 1918-March 1920.


My grandfather was a cook during his almost two years of service in the Army. He was born on Maui, the first son born to Japanese Immigrants to Hawaii. I know little about his time in service as he died when I was only 4.

I have been able to piece together where he was based on photos from his albums and that he was recorded at being at Fort Ontario, NY in the 1920 census.

Submit your family's Story of Service here


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the united states world war one centennial commission

February 28, 2017

"Remembering World War I is essential"


Monique Seefried

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is preparing for a major national event on April 6th, 2017, to mark the 100th anniversary of America's entry into the war. The event will take place at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. Monique Brouillet Seefried, Ph.D., is a Commissioner on the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission. Seefried has been a regular lecturer on World War I, its causes and its consequences. In an interview she talks with us about the event, the significance of the Centennial of WWI, and why the decision by the U.S. to enter the war is so important for the nation to commemorate 100 years later. Click here to read the entire interview.

"Give those who are gone a voice and keep them from ever fading from history"

Finding the Lost Battalion cover

Historian, author, and long time WW1CC web site contributor Robert Laplander has been very busy. He just released the third edition of his landmark book "FInding The Lost Battalion"; he is working on a new book about that unit's Commander, Charles Whittlesey; and he has been involved with the highly-anticipated PBS/American Experience series THE GREAT WAR. In addition to all that, Robert has been doing deep research with his "Doughboy MIA" section of the WW1 Centennial Commission web site, working to account for the World War I casualties who are still listed as 'Missing'. Click here to get a full update on all Robert's activities, and learn why he is dedicating so much effort to these WWI projects.

Add your centennial commemoration event or activity to the national register

National Event Register

The WW1CC U.S. National WW1 Centennial Events Register U.S. National WW1 Centennial Events Register is a living document of exhibits, commemorations, and events happening around the entire country. It is designed to help people find local things to see & participate in during the centennial period, part of teh Commission's role as a national clearing house for centennial activities. If your organization is planning an event (or many events) to commemorate the Centennial of WWI, put them on the Commission calendar--click here to learn how.

WWrite Blog: Actor/Writer Darryl Dillard on the Great War's Influence for Black Male Actors Today

WW1 Poster and modern magazine

The image is of a WWI Military Recruitment Poster next to a 2008 Vogue Controversial Cover with Lebron James and Gisele Bundche.

To prove loyalty to the country and gain respect, blacks volunteered in droves to join the war and fight for their country side by side with whites.

Read this fascinating article by actor/writer Darryl Dillard as he explores the reality of the times and the implications for today in this week's feature article in the WWrite blog.

100 Cities / 100 Memorials: Kevin Fitzpatrick's excellent post about the WW1 memorial restoration project on Governors Island, NY

Governors Island NY

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.

Read about this great 100C/100M project being spearheaded by Kevin Fitzpatrick

The WW1 Poppy Kits are in the official WW1 Centennial Merchandise Shop

Poppy Kit

Basically, a partner organization can make a $64.99 donation and get a poppy seed kit, containing 60 poppy seed packets.

Then, the partner organization can turn around, and distribute the poppy seed packets for $2 a piece or more -- and the partner organization can keep that.

In this way, we raise money for the National World War I Memorial in Pershing Park, and we help our partner organizations to raise money for their own agenda.

Order the kit in the Official WW1 Centennial Merchandise Shop

Learn about the program at

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A Story of Service from the  Stories of Service section of








David Gaines Gentry, Jr,

David Gaines Gentry, Jr.

Submitted by: Barbara J. Selletti 

David Gaines Gentry, Jr. served in World War One with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 01 Apr 1918-03 Apr 1919.


David was a Private in Co. B/E, 105th Ammunition Train, 30th Division of the Army. He was a 22 year old cotton mill worker in Jonesville, SC at the outbreak of the war. He had only recently married with a young one on the way.


For a young man who hadn't traveled more than 100 miles from where he was born and lived, the prospect of not only serving in the military must have seemed exotic, but also traveling over the ocean to another county.

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the united states world war one centennial commission

February 21, 2017

Innovative "Poppy Program" launched this week to support National World War I Memorial


Poppy packet

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission has launched its nationwide "WW1 Poppy Program" to enable groups across the country to support construction of the new National World War One Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC, while also raising funds for their own organization. The “WW1 Poppy kits” neatly package 60 poppy seed packets, to be used in fund-raisers for veteran service organizations, state WW1 centennial organizations, 100 Cities / 100 Memorials projects, or even scout troops, school and churches. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is officially announcing and endorsing the Poppy Program to its membership this week, and other national, state, and local organizations will be joining the program as well. The red poppy is an internationally recognized symbol of remembrance for veteran sacrifice. Each seed packet sparks awareness and conversation about the Centennial of WW1, and helps honor the legacy of the 4.7 million American veterans who served during the Great War. Click here to get all the information about how your organization can become part of this terrific program.

Colorado WW1 Centennial web site now live


Colorado web site logo

Welcome Colorado! The Colorado World War One Centennial Commission's new website is now officially operational at It is the first Mountain state to go live. At the new "Colorado in World War I" web site you will find information and photos that tell the story of Colorado in the great war, as well as an event calendar and a growing map of the state’s World War One monuments, memorials, and historical sites. The CO development team will be joining us on the all new WW1 Centennial News Podcast show on Wednesday, February 22 or 28 to tell you more about their state program. We invite you to register for the WW1 Centennial News live show. Colorado joins a growing number of state sites hosted by the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission. To see the other states’ sites, click here.

America’s official event commemorating the day the U.S. entered World War I

Dr. Matt Naylor

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is preparing for a major national event on April 6th, 2017, to mark the 100th anniversary of America's entry into the war. Titled “In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace: Centennial Commemoration of the U.S. Entry into World War I,” the event will take place at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. Dr. Matthew Naylor, President and CEO of the Museum, is a Commissioner on the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission. In an interview he talks with about the event, the significance of WW1, and why the Museum and Memorial is the right location for this commemorative event. Click here to read the whole interview.

African-American heroes are a part of a vanishing World War I legacy

Carol Mosley Braun abd Thomas Davie

U.S. World War I Centennial Commission Diplomatic Advisory Board member Carol Mosley Braun (right, top) pens an inspiring Op-Ed this week for the Military Times publications about the 350,000 African-Americans who served in the U.S. armed forces during World War I. Soldiers like her own grandfather, Thomas Davie (right, bottom), attached to the Army’s 10th Calvary Regiment, served with honor and earned respect from American troops, Allied service members, and eventually the American public. The former Ambassador and Senator points out that the roots of the civil rights movement that swept America in the 1960s were planted through the heroic service of African-Americans 50 years earlier on the front lines of World War I. Read the entire thoughtful Op-Ed here.

100 Cities / 100 Memorials

100C/100M Submission texas

American Legion Post 196 in Brownwood, Texas submits their 100 C/ 100 M Matching Grant proposal.

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.

Read about their great project and see the interesting photos on the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials blog.

WWrite Blog

Pilgrim at Surrennes

African American WW1 Veterans' Wives discover equality on the other side of the ocean.

This week, WWrite Blog Curator, Jennifer Orth-Veillon, offers her post entitled "On A Boat Alone," as she discusses the "Gold Star Pilgrimage," a U.S.-government sponsored program that brought wives to burial sites and battle grounds in Europe post WWI. She focuses on the African American women who took these trips and discovered equality, not in their own country, but on the other side of the ocean.

Read the article on the Commission's WWrite Blog

WW1 Centennial Flag: $49.95

Show your support for the WW1 veterans and the Centennial by proudly flying the official WW1 Centennial colors!

This is the new official WW1 Centennial Flag, now available in the Commission's Merchandise Shop. The flag made of durable nylon and measures 3'x5' showing the iconic Doughboy silhouette digitally screened onto it.

We learned last week that these colors are now flying at the American Legion's National Headquarters.

  Centennial Flag

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A Story of Service from the  Stories of Service section of



Lee Roy "LeRoy" Appleton



Lee Roy "LeRoy" Appleton

Submitted by: Ethel Lee Douglas Lawson (niece)

Lee Roy "LeRoy" Appleton served in World War One with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 15 May 1917 - 23 Nov 1917.


My Uncle LeRoy Appleton served in WWI as a private in Co. G of the 144th U.S. Infantry. He was 25 years old when he enlisted May 15, 1917.


Many years ago my mother, Ethel Mae Appleton Douglas, told me an interesting story about my Uncle LeRoy and my father, John Albert Douglas.


My mother and her brother had been very close all of their lives, since the death of their mother at an early age. When my mother had not heard from her brother for a very long time, she became extremely worried for fear he had been killed or wounded so badly he could not write letters. After unsuccessfully trying to console my mother, my father decided to get on the train from Texas to New York. That’s where the troops came in from the European war zone and where war records were kept.


 My father searched and searched, finally finding Uncle Leroy in a hospital so “doped up” that he had no awareness of what was going on around him. My father was told that Uncle LeRoy’s entire unit, troop (or whatever it was), had all died from disease or gas poisoning. My uncle was expected to die too, but hadn’t died yet, so he was just being kept “doped”, expected to die at any time.


My father checked Uncle LeRoy out of the hospital and took him home, where my family cared for him and got him off the drugs. Uncle LeRoy married one of my mother’s best friends and lived into his eighties.

Click here to submit a World War I Story of Service.

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the united states world war one centennial commission

February 14, 2017

"After April 6, 1917, everything about America changed"


The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is preparing for a major national event on April 6th, 2017, to mark the 100th anniversary of America's entry into the war. Commission Chair Robert Dalessandro talks this week about the significance of the date. As a career historian, Dalessandro puts some perspective on the events that took place 100 years ago to the United States on the path to war, and how those events changed the nation and the world entire world. Read the Dalessandro interview here

Graphic novel tells stories of Native American soldiers' experiences in WWI U.S. Army


Chag Lowry

Chag Lowry is a Native American graphic novelist who lives in Northern California, whose interest in telling the story of World War I were kindled by hearing the stories of his great-great-uncles who served in the Great War. Lowry is turning the things that he has learned about the Native American who served in the U.S. military in WWI into a new graphic novel, entitled SOLDIERS UNKNOWN. Lowry calls the experiences of Native American solders unique, and took some time to tell us about it. Read the interview, and check out some of the graphic art here.

"Stars and Stripes" forever? No, the military paper actually started in WWI

Stars and Stripes  

Most Americans are aware of the military-based newspaper “The Stars and Stripes.” But many don’t know that it came into existence as a morale-builder after Americans surged into France during World War I – and even fewer probably know of its links to another august publication, “The New Yorker.” The Library of Congress Blog takes a look at the origins of the paper that generations of American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines have looked to for news from home, and how on man's will made the concept come into being.  Read the blog post here

100 Cities / 100 Memorials Blog

110c/100m icon

Three great questions that have come up:

This blog post features three recent questions from the participants to the matching grant challenge about their participation.

  1. Can an in-kind donation count as part of the match for the program?
  2. Can I still submit a grant application?
  3.  Will our project qualify?

Read the actual questions and see the answer in our latest blog post.

From the WWrite Blog

Ida wells

"Black History Month gives the WWrite blog the opportunity to showcase African American writers and artists inspired by WWI.

This week, Major Jasmine Motupalli, Assistant Professor of Engineering at West Point, and Afghanistan War veteran, reflects upon the roles of African American women during WWI, especially the actions of journalist, activist, and suffragist, Ida B. Wells. Major Motupalli also shares part of her memoir in progress about her experience in Afghanistan as an intelligence officer."

“THE NAVY NEEDS YOU!” Poster: $12.50

Navt recruit poster

Vintage replica WWI 14” x 24” poster inspired by the U.S. Navy’s plea to report to the nearest recruiting station. A patriotic and distinctive way to accessorize your wall space, this commemorative poster is offered exclusively through the World War One Centennial Commission.

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A Story of Service from the  Stories of Service section of




Clement Anthony Grobbel

Clement Anthony Grobbel

Submitted by: Michael V Grobbel

Clement Anthony Grobbel served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known May 26, 1818 to July 7, 1919.

Clement Anthony Grobbel of Center Line, Michigan, was a member of the US Army "Polar Bears" who were sent to North Russia in the closing weeks of World War One.


Clem was 22 years old when the U.S. entered World War One. He was soon drafted into the Army and on 27 JUN 1918, he arrived at Camp Custer, near Battle Creek, MI. There he began training with Rifle Company I of the 339th Infantry Regiment of the National Army.


The 339th became known as "Detroit's Own Regiment", since three-quarters of the enlisted men and officers were from the Detroit area (upon their return to the U.S. in 1919, the 339th and their attached units took to calling themselves the "Polar Bears"). On 14 JUL 1918, the 339th broke camp and boarded trains for New York City, from which they sailed for England on 22 JUL 1918.

Read the whole Story of Service here.

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the united states world war one centennial commission

February 7, 2017

Commission announces April 6 Centennial Commemoration of U.S. entry into World War l

Proclamation of War

The United States World War I Centennial Commission has officially announced the national ceremony commemorating the centennial of the United States entry into World War I, a war that changed the nation and the world forever. The national ceremony, “In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace:  Centennial Commemoration of the U.S. Entry in World War I,” will be held on April 6, 2017 at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mo. Invited attendees include the President of the United States; Congressional leadership; Cabinet members; State governors; U.S. military leaders; veteran organizations; representatives from U.S. military legacy units that trace their history back to World War I; descendants of significant American WWI figures; and other organizations, dignitaries, and VIPs. International invitees include the Heads of State of nations whose people were involved in the Great War. Read more about the ceremony here.


American Experience offers screening opportunities for “The Great War” series



The Great War


AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is offering state and local World War I centennial commissions the opportunity to host community screenings of "The Great War." Starting March 1, organizations can hold a screening event to give their community a sneak peek at “The Great War.” The series covers many themes, so AMERICAN EXPERIENCE has created a selection of clips to choose from. Your event can be a general overview of “The Great War” or focus on thematic issues raised by the documentary. Each clip includes an introductory prologue, and comes with suggested talking points and sample discussion topics to help shape your event. This is a great opportunity to partner with your local PBS station, a local history scholar, or university and host a panel discussion or lecture series. “The Great War” will premiere on PBS on Monday, April 10 at 9/8c. For more information, visit, and visit to request a screening event.


Rich history of the 82nd Airborne spans the century since its WWI formation

All American Legacy Podcast logo

The U.S. Army's famed 82nd Airborne Division got its start as the 82nd All-American Division in World War I. The Division is celebrating 100 years of service to the nation in 2017 with an innovative series of videos and podcasts in a yearlong retrospective on the 82nd's legacy. The Division's Public Affairs Officer, LtCol Joe Buccino, talks about the unit was  the 82nd was formed for entry into WWI in August, 1917, as a Division that represented the full breadth of the American culture, thus earning the nickname "All American." Read more about this storied fighting force, and how WWI set the pattern for its proud history.

Warren, PA couple raises awareness for WWI national memorial in DC


Mark and Sarah Nickerson were pictured in the January 24 issue of DISPATCH as two of the team of Commission volunteers on Inauguration Day handing out free poppy seed-packets, telling people about the Centennial Commission's education programs, commemorative events, and memorial preservation projects. Now Mark and his wife are featured in a very nice article in their home town Warren, PA Times-Observer newspaper. A long-time reenactor, and owner of a collectibles store, Mark turned a planned trip to be a spectator at the Inauguration into an opportunity to raise awareness for the National WWI Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC, as well as the debt the nation still owes to the Doughboys. Read more about the Nickersons' great day in DC here.

WWrite Blog: Benjamin Busch Returns to Iraq in "Today is Better than Tomorrow:" A British WWI Cemetery Revisited Ten Years After Serving in the Iraq War

bush part 2

Actor, writer, filmmaker, and photographer Benjamin Busch follows up on last week's post about discovering a WWI Cemetery in Iraq. Here, Busch speaks about his return to Iraq in 2013 as a journalist. He discovers the British WWI cemetery he visited and cared for ten years earlier has been destroyed.

U.S. Victory lapel pin: $4.95

victory pin

THEY ARE BACK. We ran out of these but they are back in stock.

This popular WW1 commemorative item is the Victory buttons soldiers received upon their discharge from service in “the Great War”.

Hand cast in jeweler’s alloy and hand finished in a satin bronze patina, the design features the star, symbolizing victory, honor and glory; a wreath of evergreen laurel leaves symbolizing triumph over death; and the U.S. insignia, clearly identifying the country served.

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A Story of Service from the  Stories of Service section of


Mary Coan Reilly Ravener


Submitted by: Bob Ravener (grandson)

Mary Coan Reilly Ravener served in World War 1 with the United States Marine Corps. The dates of service are: Known 1918-1922.

The United States Marine Corps has a long and proud tradition fighting America’s battles and after the U.S. declared war on Germany, were using virtually every active duty service member to fight in the Great War or training those preparing to fight. On 08 August 1918 that all changed when they took on another cause, women in uniform. That’s when Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels wrote a letter authorizing the Commandant of the Marine Corps to enlist women in the Marine Corps Reserve for clerical duty.

Six weeks later, on 24 September, a five foot tall, grey eyed, and auburn-haired Mary Coan Reilly, became one of those first women Marines.

During this period of global crisis and tumultuous change, a little more than 300 women donned the forest green uniform of the Corps, but selection was anything but easy for these aspiring Marines. In fact, it was extremely competitive. According to the book written by Captain Linda Hewitt in 1974, “In New York City alone, 2,000 hopeful applicants lined reply to a newspaper article that the Marine Corps was looking for ‘intelligent young women’.” Mary was one of those many applicants and became one of only five or so to be selected to serve in New York at the Marine Corps Publicity Bureau in lower Manhattan.

Read the rest of  Story of Service of Mary Coan Reilly Ravener here.



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