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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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December 5, 2017

First Strike

Gerald York, grandson of WWI hero SGT Alvin York (front center), holds the U.S. Mint's newly-minted 2018 WWI Centennial Silver Dollar. He is joined by (l to r) Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II ; Daniel Basta, U.S. Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars, Congressman Doug Lamborn; U.S. WWI Centennial Commission Chair Terry Hamby; and Senator Roy Blunt.

United States Mint hosts Ceremonial Strike of new 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar 

coin

On November 28, the United States Mint hosted a ceremonial strike of the 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar honoring the 100th anniversary of American participation in World War I. The World War I Centennial Silver Dollar was authorized by statute in 2014 with bipartisan Congressional support. Three of the sponsors of the legislation, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-Missouri), and U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) personally attended the strike event, along with other distinguished guests.  Read more about the big event here. Find out more about the Commemorative Dollar and when it will be available here.


Has the US forgotten about WWI?

 

BBC Logo

"Despite its profound impact on what became the 'American Century,'" writes BBC News reporter Jane O'Brien, "World War I remains a marginal war for many in the US." But she sees that situation beginning to change with the ground being broken for the new memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC to the 4.5 million Americans who served in the Great War. Interviewing several members of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission, O'Brien shows how the new memorial will fill a void in the nation's capital, and also in America's understanding of "the most consequential event of the 20th Century."  Read the entire thoughtful article here.


"An acknowledgment of the extraordinary sacrifices women were making"

Brooke Kroeger

A remarkable new book has appeared on the World War I scene, one that traces the origins of the Women's Suffrage movement in America, and it's relationship to America's war effort 100 years ago. Specifically, The Suffragents is the story of how, and why, a group of prominent and influential men in New York City, and beyond, came together to help women gain the right to vote. Brooke Kroeger is the author. She is a journalist, author of five books, a professor of journalism at the NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and director of its MA unit, Global and Joint Program Studies, which she founded in 2007. We spoke to her about this book, and what she found in writing it.


Marcelino Serna, most decorated Texan of WWI, was first Mexican-American to receive the Distinguished Service Cross

Marcelino Serna

When the U.S. entered World War One in 1917, it is estimated that roughly 500,000 people who joined the United States armed services were immigrants. According to the National Park Service, this amounted to 18 percent of U.S. troops. Among these, one of the most highly decorated was Mexican-born Marcelino Serna. On the battle lines, he proved his courage as a soldier several times, his actions speaking for themselves as to why he was worth all the decorations he later collected. Read more about the heroism that meant Serna returned as the most highly-decorated Texan soldier to serve in World War I.


Support America’s World War I Memorial while holiday shopping on AmazonSmile!

Amazon Smile

The holiday shopping season is officially upon us. As you shop for friends, family, and loved ones this year, you have the opportunity to both shop and support America’s World War I Memorial at the same time through AmazonSmile, at no extra cost to you. Learn more about supporting the Memorial while you shop here.


“I’m not sure how many people even know why we entered the war."

Mary Mannix

Walk through the doors of the C. Burr Artz Public Library in downtown Frederick in December, and you’ll step back in time 100 years. The Library of America’s “World War I and America” project exhibit that lines the interior walkway of the library transports viewers to the American experience during World War I. The traveling exhibit, tied to the 100th anniversary of the country’s entrance into WWI, is available for local libraries and museums, and Frederick County Public Libraries was one of 120 applicants selected to host the exhibit. Mary Mannix, manager of the exhibit for the Fredrick County Libraries, says that the WWI exhibit is important because the conflict “was the forgotten war, in many ways.” Read more about the Library of America traveling WWI exhibit and how it hopes to foster relationships between modern-day veterans and civilians.


"Pay tribute not only to the Unknown of World War I but all who have served"

Hill

We, The Unknown (WETU) is a brand-new musical commission conceived by Rob Hill, a retired Army Lt. Col and third-generation soldier whose paternal grandfather, John G. Hill, Sr., served in World War I. The work is slated to premiere in Kansas City, MO on June 9th & 10th. The idea for the musical work came to Rob after hearing a brief history of how America’s Unknown Soldier was selected. Almost immediately, he wondered, “what if the person selected was gay or African-American or someone else we might not otherwise expect?” Initially, he considered almost every other format possible to tell the story—novel, film, play—but when he moved to Kansas City, home to the National World War I Museum and Memorial, and joined the Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMC), he decided that a choral work for men’s voices was the best medium to pay tribute not only to the Unknown Soldier but all who have served, many in silence. We discussed the WETU project with Rob Hill, with Ms. Pat Daneman, Rob's co-librettist, and with Timothy C. Takach, the project's musical composer.


WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast

Podcast Logo

The WW1 Centennial News Podcast is about WW1 THEN: 100 years ago this week, and it's about WW1 NOW: News and updates about the centennial and the commemoration.  

Available on our web site, iTunes, Google Play, and TuneIn.

Chag Soldiers unknow

Episode 48
Highlights:

  • Thanksgiving reflections from 1917 @ | 01:15
  • Tank warfare in the battle of Cambrai - Mike Shuster @ | 11:35 
  • Introducing WW1 Centennial Commissioner Zoe Dunning @ | 15:55
  • Ceremonial Coin Strike at Philly mint @ | 16:15
  • Trench Coat and Wristwatch - Speaking WW1 @ | 17:20
  • 100C / 100M project in Springfield, MA @ | 19:55
  • WWrite Blog article by WW1CC intern Sarah Biegelsen @ | 25:15
  • Yurok Native Americans in WW1 - Chag Lowry & Rahsan Ekedal @ | 26:15
  • Memoire - An adventure in 1914 - Christopher Kelly @ | 32:00
  • DH4 WW1 Aircraft restoration progresses @ | 37:50
  • The Buzz - Katherine Akey @ | 38:30

 

Image credit: A work-in-progress image of a Yurok Native Army soldier drawn by Rahsan Ekedal for the upcoming Graphic Novel "Soldiers Unknown" by Chag Lowry


Wwrite Blog Post This Week

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When British musicians Patricia Hammond and Matt Redman found and performed German sheet music written by a soldier killed in Verdun, they had no idea the song, "Soon, Too Soon," would also lead to the discovery of the composer's body.

It had been buried in an unmarked grave in France's Meuse-Argonne region.

 Read about the captivating hunt for a man behind a melody in this week's WWrite blog post!


Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

silent night record

A Silent Night: A WWI Memorial in Song $14.95

A wonderful and totally unique Holiday gift for your WW1 enthusiast friends

The pieces of music you will hear on this disc are, in a sense, living artifacts of the WWI era, Despite the vast contrast in style among the various composers, almost every piece was composed within the ten-year period between 1912 and 1922.  The poetry and the music itself is infused with the emotions of the war, from vengeful violence to solemn mourning, to desperate calls for peace.  

Among the composers represented here are George Butterworth, a British composer who was killed in the Battle of the Somme; Ivor Gurney, a British composer and poet who wrote songs in the trenches; Carl Orff, a German composer who was wounded when a trench collapsed on him; Francis Poulenc, a French composer who fought in WWI as a teenager, then served again in WWII; and Charles Ives, the iconic American composer who wrote Three Songs of War when the US entered the conflict in 1917.

Press Quote from Washington Post:

"This recital was so different - so refreshingly, marvelously different...The goal of a recital is not originality as much as making a statement as an artist. And at this, Brancy and Dugan succeeded superbly."

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial.


Take advantage of the
Matching Donation by the
Pritzker Military Museum and Library

Double Your Donation - Soldiers


Norman E. McLeod

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org

Norman McLeod

 

Submitted by: Rob McGregor

 

 

Norman E. McLeod served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known Jun 1916 - Jan 1919.

At just 16 years of age he joined the Plant City Rifles, Second Florida Regiment (National Guard) on 13 Jun 1916. Was mobilized on 19 June 1916 for service on the Mexican border. Returned to in late spring of 1917 after America's entry into the war and mobilized again as part of the 124th Infantry Regiment, 31st Division (known as the Dixie Division) and sent to Camp Wheeler, GA.

Norman chose to go to France sooner than the Dixie Division was scheduled to go and transferred to L Co, 103rd Infantry Regiment, 26th Division.

Norman's unit was part of the Aisne-Marne Campaign, advancing up the Marne salient and pushing into Belleau Wood, moving 10 miles from 18-25 July 1918. The Germans were heavily engaged in the use of mustard gas and heavy artillery along this front, and the battles were furious and unrelenting.

Read Norman E. McLeod's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.


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November 28, 2017 

Zoe Dunning named to United States World War I Centennial Commission

Zoe Dunning

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has filled the empty seat on the United States World War One Centennial Commission with Commander Zoe Dunning, USN (Ret.) of San Francisco. Dunning fills the opening on the Commission created by the resignation of former Chair Robert Dalessandro earlier this year. Read more about newly-appointed Commissioner Dunning here.


"I so wanted to create a great design!"

Transfield

 

Later today, in Philadelphia, the US Mint will host a ceremonial strike event for the new 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar. On hand, will be a distinguished group who were involved with the coin project, to include Congressional sponsors of the legislation that authorized the coin; Don Everhardt, legendary US Mint coin engraver; and Terry Hamby, the Chair of our WWI Centennial Commission. However, no one there for the big event will be more excited than Leroy Transfield - designer of the new coin. He is an experienced sculptor from New Zealand. His design was picked through an open international competition, hosted by the U.S. Mint, and this is his first coin for them. We talked to him about the coin, the inspiration, and his own personal ties to WWI.


Support America’s World War I Memorial while holiday shopping on AmazonSmile!

AmazonSmile button

The holiday shopping season is officially upon us. As you shop for friends, family, and loved ones this year, you have the opportunity to both shop and support America’s World War I Memorial at the same time through AmazonSmile, at no extra cost to you. Learn more about supporting the Memorial while you shop here.


Blinded Veterans UK & BVA/Project Gemini Exchange Visit to California

Blinded Veterans

A remarkable exchange-visit took place in Southern California last month, one with deep roots to World War I. Six blinded military veterans from the United Kingdom, with the organization Blind Veterans UK, spent a week meeting with six American veterans, who are members of the U.S.-based Blind Veterans Association (BVA), and who also have suffered war-related vision loss. Blind Veterans UK was founded in 1915 as a charity whose purpose was to train and support soldiers blinded in the First World War. Blind Veterans UK conducted training for blind UK service members, and later shared that training with U.S. service members when American Expeditionary Forces members required vision rehabilitation. Read more about a century of helping soldiers who lost eyesight in their nations' service here.


For the Doughboys: How to preserve World War I memorials in Illinois

Victory Memorial Chicago

An important editorial in the Chicago Tribune newspaper has put the spotlight on the plight of neglected World War One Memorials in the nation's third largest city and fifth largest state. The Editorial Board also mentioned both the new national World War One Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC, and the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program. Kenneth Clarke, president and CEO of the Pritzker Military Museum, the Founding Sponsor of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission,was featured in the editorial that urged attention to "this important opportunity at the centennial to reflect on the past and remember the sacrifices, even if the Doughboys are all gone." Check out the entire editorial here.


Pensacola State College students unveil WWI project at Navy aviation museum

Pensacola exhibit

Senior students at Pensacola State College in Florida, and staff members at the Naval Aviation Museum, worked together on a special exhibit that pays tribute to the 100th anniversary of the U.S.'s entry into World War I. Through creative designs and exhaustive research, the exhibit tells the stories of World War I, including early aviators, war rations and the Spanish Flu. The project was an eye-opener for the students, as they discovered "how World War I affected the entire world." Read more about the Pensacola exhibit here.


WWI centennial aim: a commemorative tree planted in all 75 Arkansas counties

Arkansas trees

Trees planted around the world a century ago served as living reminders of soldiers who died during World War I, part of a reforestation effort and a way to create distinct memorials. During the centennial observance of "The Great War," memorial tree programs are again underway, with the goal in Arkansas to plant a specific commemorative willow oak in each of the state's 75 counties. Read more about this statewide World War One Centennial program, and check out their progress here.


WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast

Podcast Logo

The WW1 Centennial News Podcast is about WW1 THEN: 100 years ago this week, and it's about WW1 NOW: News and updates about the centennial and the commemoration. 

Available on our web site, iTunes, Google Play, and TuneIn.

From the  memorial design - podcast - ww1cn

Episode 47
Thanksgiving Fundraiser Special:

  • Web donations: ww1cc.org/donate
  • Text-to-give donations: Text “wwi” to 91999
  • Learn more: ww1cc.org/memorial
  • Being Thankful | @ 00:40
  • Mr. Terry Hamby, Chair of the WWI Centennial Commission | @ 04:00
  • The Honorable Ted Poe, Congressman | @ 10:10
  • The Honorable Emanuel Cleaver, Congressman | @ 14:30
  • General Mark A. Milley, 39th Chief of Staff of the Army | @ 18:00
  • Bob Vogel, director of the National Capital Region (NCR), National Park Service | @ 22:15
  • The Honorable David Shulkin, Secretary of Veterans Affairs | @ 27:05
  • Keith Harman, Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars | @ 30:10
  • Denise H. Rohan, National Commander, American Legion | @ 32:20
  • The Honorable Muriel Bowser, Mayor of Washington | @ 35:45
  • The Honorable Doug Lamborn, Congressman | @ 38:20
  • The Honorable Kevin Yoder, Congressman | @ 40:20

Wwrite Blog Post This Week

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The ground breaks. 

As the new WWI Memorial materializes in D.C., it's fascinating to take a look at other war memorials and the narrative of their construction. 

Reading the "story" of the ways memorials are conceived plays an important role in the understanding of public, cultural memory. Delve into the subject this week with WWrite's blog post,"Forgetting to Remember: Making America's Great War Monumental Again," by WW1CC intern, Sarah Biegelsen. Don't miss this fascinating tour of some of America's interesting WWI monuments...and their stories.


Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Key Chain

“Nothing Stops These Men” – Special WWI Keychain $9.95

This is one of the great little gems in our official commemoration merchandise. It is solid... weighty... substantial... looks great and (editors note) I have had one in my pocket for 15 months now and looks as good today as the day I started using it... to hold my keys and to start conversations about WWI.

This commemorative gem is under $10.00 and is a GREAT Holiday gift for friends, associates and family as a stocking stuffer. Buy several and give a little gift that will provide practical value to the recipient all year and a lifetime of commemoration as part of the proceeds go to build America's National Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington DC.

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial.


Take advantage of the
Matching Donation by the
Pritzker Military Museum and Library

Double Your Donation - Soldiers


E. Reynold Thomas

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org

E Reynold Thomas

 

Submitted by: Margaret Thomas Buchholz {daughter}

 

 

E. Reynold Thomas served in World War 1 with the United States Marine Corps. The dates of service are: Known jan 1918 to early 1920. 

My father, Corporal E. Reynold Thomas, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 4 November 1898. His maternal ancestors were Quaker and came to this country with William Penn.

He enlisted in the Marines (serial # 305258) just after his 19th birthday on 4 January 1918. He left Atlantic City High School a semester before he would have graduated 

Thomas revered his grandfather, J. Warner Kinsey, who had served in the Civil War, and when he was a boy scout went with him to a memorial reunion at Gettysburg (1905).

After basic training at Parris Island he was sent to France in April 1918, and was assigned to the 55th Company, 2d Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. He fought at Belleau Woods through the month of June and at Soissons 18 and 19 July.

It was after Belleau Woods that he wrote the letter to his mother telling how awful it was, “a living hell” – he was one of a small percentage of his battalion to survive. The battalion was at Les Mares Farm on 3 June where they stopped the Germans at the point closest to Paris the Germans would come in the war.

Read E. Reynold Thomas's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.


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November 21, 2017

Celebrating Thanksgiving during WWI

Grocer 1917

For Americans, Thanksgiving is a special annual event, one full of tradition and memories. And the celebration marks the official start of the holiday season. How Thanksgiving was celebrated 100 years ago in in 1917 is both familiar, with family reunions, grocery shopping, large meals and thankfulness, and very different, as there are many things that have definitely changed since 1917. Changes include everything from different cooking styles to improved transportation technologies, but the most important change is that Thanksgiving 1917 took place in the midst of the official American involvement in World War I (1917-1918). Jennifer Crooks of the Thurston TALK web site in Washington State takes a look at how the city of Olympia held its Thanksgiving celebration in 1917, in the midst of mobilization.


The last remaining U.S. battleship to have served in both World War I and II is in danger

 

USS Texas

Things are not going well for our friends who care for the WWI-era Navy Battleship. They need our help. The museum ship, located at La Porte, TX, discovered a significant hull leak earlier this year, which create a list to the ship. They tried to patch the leak, but found that the hull structure was seriously compromised, and would require extensive repair work. The team recently started a Petition to the Texas state government to provide funds to save the ship.  We connected with the team from the Battleship Texas State Historic Site, and talked to Stephanie Croatt, Assistant Superintendent, and to Andy Smith, the Ship Manager, about their efforts.


Traditional ways of working get a technological boost in creation of the national WWI Memorial sculpture

Howard

Sabin Howard, sculptor of the National World War One Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC, discusses in a recent blog post about how two long journeys -- one to a 19th Century sculpture studio in Italy, and another to a 21st Century modeling facility in New Zealand -- led him to connect and leverage key technologies of two very different ages to help translate his sculpture design into three dimensions. Read the absorbing story of art, invention, and insight here. 


Pow-wow honors Wisconsin World War I Native American vets, Red Arrow division

Ho-Chunk

About 200 people gathered on Veterans Day to commemorate 28 Ho-Chunk men – known as Winnebago Indians in 1917 — from the area surrounding Volk Field National Guard training base in Wisconsin who joined the Wisconsin National Guard 100 years ago for the “Great War” in Europe. The families of these warriors — known as Descendants of Red Arrow — have met at Volk Field since 1977 to celebrate their service, their memory, and the 32nd “Red Arrow” Division, which continues today as the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, headquartered perhaps a mile from the hangar hosting the annual pow-wow. Read about more about the ceremony and  its World War One origins here.


History professor tells of difficulties African-Americans faced in WWI service

Ducksworth-Lawton

On Tuesday, November 14, Selika Ducksworth-Lawton, a military historian and history professor at UW-Eau Claire, presented on African-American service in World War I. Ducksworth-Lawton told stories of the difficulties African-Americans faced before the U.S. entered World War I, the environments the soldiers were put under during their time of service and how they were treated when they returned home. The audience included college students, professors and a Korean War veteran who shared his own war experience with African-Americans. Read more about this WWI historical presentation.


Montana's female WWI Veterans are recognized by the U.S. Senate

Saunders

Ed Saunders, an Army veteran from Montana who spent six years finding the stories of many of the state's female WWI veterans and chronicling their service,was instrumental in the dedication of a new memorial plaque for the servicewomen in 1917. Continuing his efforts to get the Montana women the the long-overdue recognition they earned and deserve, Saunders requested that Montana U.S. Senator Jon Tester read into the Senate Congressional Record a commendation for Montana and America's women veterans of World War One. Read more about how Saunders' senatorial salute efforts succeeded here.


Historic WWI DH4 aircraft will fly again

DH4

Nearly 100 years after the end of World War I, a team of aviation enthusiasts in Kentucky is hard at work restoring the first warplane built in America — the Dayton-Wright DH4. "Not many people know about World War I," said Dorian Walker, a member of the Saving Liberty DH4 group. "That doesn't mean it's any less important." Walker and the group members hope to remind the public of that importance by restoring the DH4 in time for test flights by next spring with plans for airshows across the country and a trip to France. "It gives you a chance to witness something firsthand," he said, adding the historic, wooden biplane is a symbol for how far American aviation has come in 100 years. Read more about the ongoing efforts to get the Liberty Plane flying again here.


WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast

Podcast Logo

The WW1 Centennial News Podcast is about WW1 THEN: 100 years ago this week, and it's about WW1 NOW: News and updates about the centennial and the commemoration.  

Available on our web site, iTunes, Google Play, and TuneIn.

Podacst

Episode 46

Highlights:

  • The Suffragists in WWI @ | 01:20
  • The Battle of Passchendaele ends - Mike Shuster @ | 11:45
  • Ceremonial Groundbreaking episode announced @ | 16:30
  • Meet the designer of the National WWI Memorial - Joseph Weishaar @ | 17:30
  • Speaking WWI - “Snapshot” @ | 24:45
  • 100C/100M in Jackson, MO - Lawson Burgfeld @ | 26:50
  • “Travels with Darley” on the Western Front - Darley Newman @ | 33:25
  • Native American Story of Service - Nick Brokeshoulder @ | 39:00
  • The Buzz - Katherine Akey @ | 48:50

more...


Wwrite Blog Post This Week

Wwrite Blog Logo

WWI. Russia. What do we really know? 

This week's WWrite post by Michael Carson is "Russian Occupation of Persia, the October Revolution: Viktor Shklovsky’s Memoirs"

The post opens a door to this question by discussing the memoirs of Russian WWI soldier and writer, Viktor Shklovsky. Carson explores several pivotal questions about Shklovsky's writing and its relevance to the Centennial: why read Shklovsky’s Sentimental Journey: Memoirs, 1917-1922 a hundred years after the First World War? Why remember this account of the October Revolution and the Russian occupation of Persia when we have forgotten so many other accounts of the First World War? What does this young Russian commissar have for us today except for yet another account of yet another endless bloody war that few remember now? Don't miss this riveting introduction to an important voice from WWI's Russian perspective.


Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Mug

White Ceramic Mug

Availability: 2-3 Days

$12.00

Hot cocoa, steaming team, strong Java, a Hot Toddy - they all need a home! So order a full set of these mugs in honor of the Centennial of the War that Changed the World! 

They feature the iconic Doughboy silhouette flanked by barbed wire so prevalent during WWI, you can enjoy your favorite beverage in this 15-ounce ceramic mug, help us build America's WWI Memorial in Washington DC and honor the sacrifices made by U.S. soldiers all at the same time.

A sante!

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial.


Take advantage of the
Matching Donation by the
Pritzker Military Museum and Library

Double Your Donation - Soldiers


Andrew A. Capets

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org

Capets

 

Submitted by: Andrew J. Capets {grandson}

 

 

How do you write a 'Story of Service' about a young Doughboy and make it stand out among the millions of men and women who served in the Great War? Do you tell the story about this Private being so cold during a night in France that he had to sleep on top of a manure pile just to keep warm? Do you talk about his pride after returning home from the war, and that he routinely attended Battalion reunions in Erie, PA to commemorate his service with friends?

The answer is yes, you document as much as you know, and write down any story you were told to ensure that the experiences of this young Doughboy will be known 100 years from now.

I went a whole lot farther and released a book in September 2017 called "Good War, Great Men. The 313th Machine Gun Battalion of World War I." The book was written for the same reason this portion of the WW1CC website was created, "The stories of the service of all these Americans should not be forgotten." I wrote the book to commemorate my grandfather's service during the Great War, as well as wanting to help other family members that have descendants of the 313th Machine Gun Battalion read about their own soldier's experiences through the writings of over a dozen men that served together in World War I.

Read Andrew A. Capets's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.


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November 14, 2017

Groundbreaking

Commission hosts Ceremonial Groundbreaking for WWI Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC

Speakrs Four

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking for America's World War I Memorial on Thursday, November 9, 2017 at the memorial's site, Pershing Park.

Among the featured speakers for the event (at right, top to bottom) were U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and Centennial Commission Chair Terry Hamby.

For the ceremonial groundbreaking, the keynote speakers used presentation-shovels to turn soil that came to the ceremony from the Meuse-Argonne battlefield in France. Meuse-Argonne was the site of the largest military battle in the history of the United States military, and involved over one million service members. 26,000 Americans were lost in the battle.

The Centennial Commission used the event to announce that they had received leadership gifts from two of America’s leading veteran service organizations, the American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Each of the organizations made donations in the amount of $300,000, to be used for the creation of the new national-level memorial.

The groundbreaking ceremony received broad coverage nationally, internationally, and locally in Washington, DC media.

Sandra Pershing

Sandra Sinclair Pershing, the granddaughter-in-law of General John Pershing, who led the American Expeditionary Force to Europe in World War One, penned an eloquent guest opinion piece in The Hill newspaper, noting that "It would be inconceivable to Gen. Jack Pershing that a century ago he would be told the men under his command would not have a memorial to their sacrifice in the nation's capital when the centennial of that conflict would finally arrive."

Read more articles about the groundbreaking ceremony here.


Outdoor exhibit of striking images of WWI battlefields at Pershing Park until December 8

 

Fields of Battle

The experience of American soldiers in the Great War is documented in a free outdoor special centennial exhibition, Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: The Doughboys, 1917-1918, which debuted Wednesday in Washington DC's Pershing Park. The exhibition features the incredible contemporary photographs of Michael St Maur Sheil, depicting the battlefields of the Western Front where the Doughboys fought. The exhibition, co-curated by the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, opened in conjunction with the ceremonial groundbreaking for America's World War I Memorial. Read more about this amazing WWI battlefield photo exhibition here.


"Belgium will never forget the sacrifices made by American soldiers"

Belgian unit

The Embassy of Belgium has a remarkable new World War I exhibit that has been traveling across the United States. It tells a unique story of a unique military unit, that had adventures unlike any other, during the World War I period. The Expeditionary Corps of Armored Cars (often called ACM) was a military division formed by Belgian volunteers during WWI. It was sent to Russia at the request of the Tsar to fight the German Army on the Eastern front and distinguished itself in battle in Galicia in 1915. After the Bolshevik revolution, the ACM corps found itself in hostile territory and reached the US through Siberia and China. The exhibition consists in 19 banners (4 dedicated exclusively to their journey in the USA). We caught up with two members of the Belgian Embassy staff, who worked with the exhibit -- Gaëlle Powis de Tenbossche, and Carl Vander Maelen. They took a few moments to tell us all about it.


Trains and Traction restoration of historic World War I American Rail Cars in France

Jaubert

An amazing group of people in France have been working on an amazing project to remember the American troops who helped France 100 years ago. Calling themselves Trains and Traction, they are railway enthusiasts who have spent countless hours restoring an original American Army World War I-era railway boxcar, for eventual display & exhibit. The rail car was left behind in France, and was a ruin when discovered by the group a few years ago. Olivier Jaubert (shown at left working on a boxcar) is the Director of Heritage for the Trains and Traction Foundation, and he told us about his team, and what they have done.


Delaware honors its WWI Servicemen with new Memorial at State Capitol

Governor John Carney

One hundred years after America’s entry in the Great War, just to the south of Delaware’s Legislative Hall where the General Assembly meets, stands the nation’s most recent WWI monument, commemorating The First State’s citizens who served in the United States Armed Forces in the conflict. A two-year effort produced the stately granite monument which was unveiled on a cool November 4th before Governor John Carney, other elected officials, residents and visitors. Read more about the Delaware monument and the dedication ceremony here.


WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast

Podcast Logo

The WW1 Centennial News Podcast is about WW1 THEN: 100 years ago this week, and it's about WW1 NOW: News and updates about the centennial and the commemoration.  

Available on our web site, iTunes, Google Play, and TuneIn

POWs in WW1

Episode 45
Highlights:

POWs in WW1 | @01:30

The war on the eastern front is over - Mike Shuster | @11:15

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - Gavin McIlvenna | @15:50

Speaking WW1 “Dingbat” | @22:40

100C/100M, Wheaton IL - Nancy Flannery & Rob Sperl | @24:15

The Millionaire’s Unit - Dr. Marc Wortman | @30:50

North Dakota WW1 Centennial Committee - Darrell Dorgan | @38:00

Warrior in Khaki - Native American Warriors - Michael and Ann Knudson | @44:15

WWrite Blog - Pierre Lemaitre’s, The Great Swindle | @51:20

The Buzz - Native American History Month | @52:25


Wwrite Blog Post This Week

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WWrite Blog Twitter Feed Launched!

Stay up to date with the latest writerly WWI posts and events!

Today, WWrite launched its Twitter Feed that will be linked to the blog. These Tweets will replace the weekend updates and will appear regularly. The Twitter account is just getting off the ground and will continue to evolve and improve over the coming months. We will also be working to link it to all relavent information on the WWI site. All suggestions welcome at jennifer.orth-veillon@worldwar1centennial.org. Please find us at: @orthveillon, #WWrite 

For more details see this week's post in the WWrite Blog.


Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Fleece sweatshirt

Navy Fleece Sweatshirt: $46.00

Head into the Holiday season and gatherings with the family, warm, snug and totally commemorative! This fleece sweatshirt top is not only comfortable, but also features the Centennial Doughboy Icon.

Sweatshirt features: Navy with white doughboy embroidery. 80% cotton/20% polyester,  9.5 Oz. High quality heavy weight pre-shrunk fabric. Sweatshirt has ¼ zip pullover with cadet collar and silver metal zipper. Ribbed cuffs and waistband with spandex. Cover-seamed arm holes. Mens’ sizes available M – 2XL (Small and XL are currently sold out)

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial.


Take advantage of the
Matching Donation by the
Pritzker Military Museum and Library

Double Your Donation - Soldiers


Harry Shankman

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org

Harry Shankman

 

Submitted by: Ronald Miller

 

 

Harry Shankman served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1917/1919.

Harry Shankman’s W.W.I. Service History

PFC Harry Shankman: Private First Class, E-2, Service #1390206

Member of Company "L" (4th Platoon) . . . of the 3rd Battalion . . . Of the 132 Infantry Regiment . . . of the 66th Brigade . . . of the 33rd "Prairie" Division.

The 33 DIVISION (The Prairie Division) was comprised of the troops from the Illinois National Guard. They trained at Camp Logan, TX then sailed for France in May 1918. The 33rd served with the Australians at the Amines sector, and was represented by units at Verdun and at the Meuse-Argonne. As a division, the 33rd Division spent 27 days in active sectors and 32 days in quiet sectors. It captured 3,987 prisoners-a record for a National Guard Division - and advanced 36 km (22 miles) against the enemy while sustaining 989 battle deaths & 6,266 wounded. 

Most combat operations were either about 70 miles north of Paris, or about 135 east of Paris.

Read Harry Shankman's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.


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November 7, 2017

National World War I Memorial ceremonial groundbreaking set November 9 in D.C.

Memorial

After years of extensive research, planning and coordination with state, federal, military and international governments, supporters of the National World War I Memorial will break ground for the site just prior to Veterans Day on Nov. 9 at 11 a.m. at Pershing Park in Washington, D.C. The program will serve as an opportunity to thank partners and supporters who have helped turn a historic vision into reality. Unique to the event, the symbolic groundbreaking ceremony will include soil brought from French battlefields signifying the allied service and sacrifice of those who fought for the common cause of freedom. VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin is scheduled to be among the featured speakers.
The event will be live streamed via Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/ww1centennial.
Find out more about the ceremonial groundbreaking by clicking here. You can help build the Memorial by clicking here.


North Dakota web site goes live

North Dakota web site menu

Welcome North Dakota! The North Dakota World War One Centennial website is now live at ww1cc.org/northdakota. At the new “North Dakota in World War I” web site you will find stories on ND centennial events and activities, articles about North Dakotans Who Served, scholarly Research Articles and Documents, and an event calendar. There is also a map of the state’s World War One monuments, memorials, and historic sites. The ND development team will be joining us on the WW1 Centennial News Podcast show on Wednesday, November 8 to tell you more about their state program. We invite you to register for the WW1 Centennial News live show. North Dakota joins a growing number of state sites hosted by the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission. Click here to see the other states’ web sites.


WWI Centennial will be featured in 2017 NYC Veterans Day Parade, other activities

NYV Vets Day Parade

The  United War Veterans Council in NYC is hosting activities on and around Veterans Day, including the New York City Veterans Day Parade (formerly America’s Parade) on November 11th, as well as activities that take place during Veterans Week NYC, November 4th-11th. The Veterans Day parade will feature100+ WWI re-enactors marching, and can be seen live nationwide on a variety of streaming platforms, as well as on local television in NYC. Find out more about the big Veterans Day events going on in the Big Apple here.


New exhibit at the Woodrow Wilson House: The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay

Mallows Bay

Partially submerged in the middle of the Potomac River, in Mallows Bay, lies the largest shipwreck fleet in the Western Hemisphere. More than 200 shipwrecks, the majority of which date to World War I, represent a haunting legacy of the Great War. In April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson approved the greatest shipbuilding program in history: an order for 1,000 ships to make up the shortage of transport vessels needed for the war effort. The war ended before any ships were put into service and hundreds were simply scrapped in the Bay. To celebrate its legacy, the Woodrow Wilson House in Washington DC presents a new museum exhibit that explores the Ghost Fleet’s fascinating—and scandalous—history.

Also we invite you to listen to the interview with Steve Bunker & Carrie Villar about The Ghost Fleet and Mallows Bay on this recent WW1 Centennial News Podcast @07:35


Commissioner Hamby at Indiana events to honor Corporal Gresham, Veterans Day

Hamby

A number of events took place in Indiana last week, to mark the approach of Veterans Day, and to honor the centenary of the first U.S. Army soldier killed in combat during World War I. That first soldier, Corporal James Bethel Gresham, hailed from the town of Evansville Indiana, and was lost on November 3rd, 1917. Commission Chair Terry Hamby represented the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission at a wreath-laying ceremony for Gresham, and also helped the Indiana Military Museum add a piece extremely rare WWI equipment to its collection.  Read about both Indiana events (and a surprise that Kentuckian Hamby received in the Hoosier State) here.


Returning American soldiers faced a sobering reality in 1919: Prohibition

Prohibition

The global impact of the Great War reverberated throughout world history. Millions of lives were changed in four years, putting nations on radically different paths. In the United States, the war fundamentally shifted how the nation viewed itself in global affairs and how it behaved at home. As industries and the federal government prepared for conflict, a social movement that brewed for nearly eighty years saw the golden opportunity to achieve its ultimate goal: the national prohibition of alcohol. The Great War itself wasn’t the only contributing factor to the 18th amendment’s passage, but the timing was critical. Read the National Archives and Records Administration analysis of the nexus that occurred here.


Web Site Features -- The WWrite Blog

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This week's post looks at Pierre Lemaître's The Great Swindle: A Prize-Winning WWI Novel Hits the Screen During France's Great War Centennial

"The Great Swindle", sounds strange among familiar WWI books like The Return of the Soldier, by Rebecca West, A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway, or All is Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. But, yes, this book is not only about a post-war traumatic experience; it is also about the art, and, yes, the money that could be made by making a business out of the millions of dead bodies that had a hard time finding a proper grave after the combat ended.

Read this fascinating article in the WWrite Blog.


WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast

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The WW1 Centennial News Podcast is about WW1 THEN: 100 years ago this week, and it's about WW1 NOW: News and updates about the centennial and the commemoration. 

 

Available on our web site, iTunes, Google Play, and TuneIn.

German submarines drove the WWI naval strategy in the Atlantic

Episode 44
Highlights:

The US naval war of 1917 | @01:10

The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay with Steve Bunker & Carrie Villar | @07:35 

Living in NYC? Did a “Slacker” live in your apartment 100 years ago?  | @14:55

The Balfour Declaration - Promise of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine with Mike Shuster | @17:15

The worldwide history of Veterans Day | @22:05

Ceremonial Groundbreaking for America’s WWI Memorial in Washington DC | @24:10

Veterans Day Events | @24:30

Speaking WWI…  “Scrounge” | @28:00

100C/100M in Riverside IL with Joseph Baar Topinka | @29:30

International Report - Notre Dame Projection spectacular and documentary premiere | @36:20

Falling back to Daylight Standard Time - Blame the Kaiser | @37:35

The Buzz in Social Media | @39:35 


Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Victory Pin

U.S. Victory lapel pin: $4.95

This is a great gift item and even better conversation starter about WWI, what it was, what it meant and why it matters.

Soldiers received Victory buttons upon their discharge from service in “the War that changed the world”. 

This always popular 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.

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial.


Take advantage of the
Matching Donation by the
Pritzker Military Museum and Library

Double Your Donation - Soldiers


Gilbert W. Zeits 

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org

Gilbert Zeits

 

Submitted by: Carol Hylton

 

 

Gilbert W. Zeits served in World War 1 with the the United States Army . The dates of service are: Known March 21,1918 to May 20th, 1919 .

Gilbert's mother, an immigrant from Bohemia, had 7 sons, four of whom fought in the first World War. Three sons were in the Army and one in the Navy. They all lived in Traverse City, Michigan.

The eldest brother, Alfred Zeits was killed and is buried in France. He served with the 11th Machine Gun Battalion. 

Gilbert served from March 21,1918 to May 20th, 1919 and was able to visit the battlefields and places they stayed in France in 1981 with his surviving daughter. He took part in the battles of Argonne Forest and St. Mihiel.

Read Gilbert W. Zeits's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here. 


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