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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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the united states world war one centennial commission

June 13, 2017

“I hope it is not too late”: How the U.S. decided to send millions of troops to WWI

Pershing arrives

 In June, 1917 the Allies were desperate for reinforcements, but the U.S. wasn’t quite ready to provide them. It had declared war in April 1917 with only a small standing army. U.S. General John J. Pershing arrived in France just four weeks after the Selective Service Act authorized a draft of at least 500,000 men. Though President Woodrow Wilson intended to send troops to France, there was no consensus on how many. Pershing, visited his counterpart, French general Philippe Pétain, with a sobering message on June 16, 1917: the American Expeditionary Force had hardly any troops to deploy. The United States, Pershing told Pétain, wouldn’t have enough soldiers to make a difference in France until spring 1918.

“I hope it is not too late,” the general replied.

Read the entire story of how Pershing dealt with the crisis.

A Fighting Chance for Veterans: how the Catholic Church and Catholic University supported the troops in WWI and after

John Burke

World War I took place at a time when there were few of the official channels of support for our military members and veterans that we have today – there was no Department of Veteran Affairs, there was no GI Bill, there were only a handful of organized Veteran Service Organizations (VSO’s) to advocate for veterans. Benefits and treatments afforded to Great War veterans were limited. However, there was enormous emotional support for the troops. As the United States entered World War I, public support for the military was very high. Catholic Americans, and major Catholic organizations like the Knights of Columbus, joined the support effort and displayed spirited patriotism. Read more about their activities and efforts here.

Why the new Wonder Woman movie had to be set in World War One

Wonder Woman

The comic book character Wonder Woman has always been closely and explicitly associated with World War II. In her 1941 debut in All Star Comics #8, Diana is specifically sent by her mother Queen Hippolyta into Man's World to help Steve Trevor fight the Nazis. With her origin story is so rooted in World War II, when it was announced that the first Wonder Woman feature film would be set against the backdrop of World War I, fans and critics alike had deep concerns. But read how at least one writer thinks that the WWI setting works effectively both for the heroine and the Great War. 

"Getting the concept approval is a very important milestone in the review process" for America's WWI Memorial

Memorial detail 1

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette published an extensive article on the status of the national World War I Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC last week. The hometown newspaper for Memorial architect Joe Weishaar does a  deep dive into the memorial project, the Pershing Park site, and the ongoing review process. Check out the detailed article here for an excellent status report and overview of the progress the Memorial is making.

"World War I was a significant turning point in history, the study of which should be a key component of any course on Western social history."



Around the country, more than half a million middle and high school students have been competing in National History Day (NHD) contests. Students conduct rigorous historical research focused around the 2017 theme, "Taking a Stand in History", and they created projects in one of five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. After competing at local and regional contests, the top projects in each category next advanced to one of 58 affiliate contests held regionally. Finally, the top two projects in each category were invited to the National History Day Contest held this week, June 11-15, 2017 at the University of Maryland in College Park. This year's National History Day Contest was special for the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, as we were able to sponsor a special prize for student projects on the theme of World War I. We spoke to Gary Pettit, the NHD Director of Communications, about this year's projects, and about the importance of World War I to the students. 

LOC Veterans History Project launches WWI website companion exhibit

Rifle Replacement

The Veterans History Project (VHP) has launched a web exhibit that complements the Library of Congress’s major exhibition “Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I.” The three-part web companion, “Experiencing War,” will help tell the larger story of the war from the perspective of those who served in it. Part I is now available; Part II and Part III will be available in July and September 2017. Drawing from nearly 400 personal narratives from World War I, VHP’s archive is an unparalleled source on the individual experience of the Great War. Read more about this new exhibit at the Library of Congress here.

"Wwrite Blog" new post

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This week's post, "More Gentile Than Grim: Letters Home from WWI," comes from author, editor, and award-winning teacher, David Chrisinger.

Chrisinger is the editor of See Me For Who I Am, a collection of essays by veteran students that seeks to undermine three main media-create stereotypes that divide them from the American people they have fought to protect: as superhuman; as broken, disabled, and traumatized; or as dangerous, ticking time bombs. 

In this post, he discusses a WWI project he completed with new student veterans at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point using hundreds of letters written by WWI soldiers from the town where the university is located. Don't miss this post describing their surprising, insightful reactions!

WW1 Centennial News Podcast

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


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

Highlights of Episode #23 - June 7, 2017

  • Official Bulletin: Ships, planes, wood, film, and phones |@ 03:00
  • Guest: Mike Shuster on the big explosion on the Messine Ridge. |@ 10:00
  • The Storyteller & The Historian: George Cohan’s “Over There” turns 100 |@ 14 :00
  • Events: Virginia WW1 Reenactment Day |@ 20:30
  • Special: PTSD awareness month |@ 21:30
  • Guest - 100C/100M: Dr. Steve Kelly on Brownwood texas Post 196 project |@ 28:00
  • Guest: Roy Steinberg on the play “Billy Bishop Goes To War”|@ 33:30

And much more... 


Features from our State web sites

Ralph Moan





An Unlikely War Poet: A Doughboy from Maine

World War I has been noted for the amount of incredibly evocative war poetry it produced, notably from such soldier-poets as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. However, very few of those well-known poets were American. World War I has been noted for the amount of incredibly evocative war poetry it produced, notably from such soldier-poets as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. However, very few of those well-known poets were American. Joyce Kilmer, who went to war with the New York National Guard’s famed 165th Infantry Regiment, the “Fighting 69th,” was a renowned American poet before he was killed at the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918. Alan Seeger, uncle of American folk singer Pete Seeger, penned the poem, “I Have a Rendezvous with Death,” which was published posthumously after he was killed in action in 1916 while serving with the French Foreign Legion. The poem was apparently a favorite of President John F. Kennedy. Overall, the number of war poets produced by the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) was small, perhaps because the United States did not enter World War I until 1917. That, however, did not stop Corporal Ralph T. Moan from picking up the pen when he returned home to Maine in 1919.





Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the American Poster

One hundred years ago, Americans were reluctant to get involved in what they viewed as Europe's war When the United States finally entered the war in April 1917, public opinion had to be turned around. The U.S. government mobilized an incredible cadre of artists to create "pictorial publicity" for all aspects of the war effort -- from recruiting to war relief to food and fuel conservation. Artists of the caliber of James Montgomery Flagg, Howard Chandler Christy, Charles Dana Gibson, J. C. Leyendecker, and N.C. Wyeth produced an impressive body of art. Unfortunately, all but a handful of these posters have long since been forgotten.

This exhibition combines artifact holdings from the Atlanta History Center with the magnificent poster collection of Atlanta historian Walton Rawls, whose landmark book Wake Up, America! World War I and the American Poster was published in 2001. The result is a fascinating look at American posters of World War I, both as graphic masterworks and as illustrations of a tragic historical episode. Read more about the exhibition here.


Knox 2


Knox College in the Great War

During World War I patriotic fervor swept through Knox College unabated. Soon after the United States declared war, Knox's faculty and students leapt into the war effort with enthusiasm, expressing support for France and "suffering humanity" and pride in the American military, “responding promptly and generously to the call of the country for men for military service.” Students and alumni both responded to the call, with Knox well represented at "nearly all of the first officers' training camps, the largest delegation being at Fort Sheridan where upwards of 40 men were enrolled." The December 1917 issue of The Knox Alumnus reported that "Knox is somewhat above the average in the number of men in the government service. More than a fourth of the men registered last year are on the honor roll." Read more about Knox College in WWI here.

Official Commemoration Merchandise

Flag At Legion Headquarters

Official 3' X 5' WW1 Doughboy Centennial Flag: $49.95

Surprise you Dad with a Father's Day gift that will also honor those who served.

This WW1 Centennial Flag is made of durable nylon and measures 3x5'.  This flag has the iconic Doughboy silhouette digitally screened onto it and has 2 brass grommets to hang the flag.    A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this item are designated for this endeavor. You can show your support, and help promote the efforts, by proudly displaying your custom flag.

A Certificate of Authenticity as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial is included.

This and many other commemorative items can be found at the Official WW1 Commission merchandise shop.

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George Goody

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

George Goody

Submitted by: Jack Sherman {grandson}

George Goody served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1910-1920.


My grandfather joined the Army at 16 to avoid working in the woods of Maine. His father signed his papers but couldn't read and write English so was rather angry when he figured out what was happening.

George left Maine and ended up in troop I 6th Cav on the Texas Mexico border during the punitive expedition. Since he didn't read or write English he was never promoted in 6 years of service.

When we declared war on Germany and the Army needed French speakers grandpa George became a genius overnight since he could read, write and speak French just fine. 

Read George Goody's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.

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the united states world war one centennial commission

June 6, 2017

Rebecca and Charles: A testimony from beyond the Atlantic

Rebecca and Charles

Rebecca Goethe was a schoolgirl in war-ravaged France in 1918. Charles DeVries was a young American who left his studies at Hope College in Michigan, responding to the call for volunteers in the Army with the American Expeditionary Forces. Charles had known Rebecca less than three weeks when he proposed marriage. Their poignant story of war, romance, and a century of history will be in the spotlight when the French village where they met honors the Americans who came to France's rescue in WWI. Read this daughter's tribute to her parents' love and lives a century after the Great War brought them together, and how a French village remembers.

Support America's WW I memorial


Joseph Weishaar, lead designer for America's World War I Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC, had an Op-Ed published by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review newspaper last week. Weishaar's short but forceful message notes that building the national Memorial in DC "sends a signal to our families, children and grandchildren that courage, honor and sacrifice still mean something. It is a message to our current and future veterans that they will not be forgotten." Read Weishaar's thoughtful Op-Ed here.

World War I-themed Chautauqua event in Seward, Nebraska, on June 12-18

Gerald Meyer

Chautauqua was an adult-education movement in the United States, highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In those days before film & radio, the Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for a whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day. Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying that Chautauqua is "the most American thing in America."  A modern version of Chautauqua events are alive and well today -- and there will be a World War I-themed Chautauqua event held in Seward, Nebraska, on June 12th-18th, at the Nebraska National Guard Museum and the city of Seward. There will be speakers, presentations, reenactors, and displays, all talking about the Nebraska Guard, World War I, and present-day. All events are free and open to the public. We caught up with the one of the organizers for the event, Gerald Meyer, to talk to him about what visitors will see there. 

"These pictures bore witness to intense suffering, hope, and sacrifice"

Kelly painting snip

Josef Kelly is a professional artist based in the DC-area. He has recently become inspired by the stories of World War I, and started painting a series of pieces related to many themes found in the war. His work is remarkable, and it has earned him endorsement from the U.S World War I Centennial Commission, as a Commemorative Partner. We spoke with Josef recently about his work, about his inspirations, and about the series he is creating on WWI. 

American "Polonia's Army" fought for a nation that was not on the map in 1917

Polonia ARmy recruiting


In the nation’s great effort in 1917 and 1918 to raise the American Expeditionary Force that eventually grew to some 4.7 million men and some women, the enlistment of 30,000 men to fight for another country which at that time had not been on the map of Europe for some 120 years was overlooked. But the little-known Polish Army in France, principally made up of American volunteers of Polish descent, is a fascinating chapter of the war that deserves to be remembered. Read how the Polish diaspora created the American “Polonia” and how that community rallied to assist the victory that restored the nation of Poland to an independent existence.

"Wwrite Blog" new post

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This week's post is: "A Journey of Commemoration: The Great War through the Lens of Art", by Susan Werbe.

Susan is the executive producer of the "The Great War Theatre Project: Messengers of a Bitter Truth", performed in Boston, New York, and Letchworth (UK).

In the post she also discusses the process of weaving voice, dance, theatre, writings, and song cycles to examine the collective memory of war on the individual.

Werbe also talks about her latest project, "Letters You Will Not Get", a libretto, using various genres of women's WWI writing, set to commissioned contemporary music. Read the blog post to learn more about this wonderful showcase of an extraordinary, multidisciplinary project—not to be missed!

100 Cities / 100 Memorials - COUNTDOWN

100 cities 100 memorials

Less than 10 days until the grant Application Submission deadline.

There are less than 10 days to get  grant applications submitted. The grant application deadline is June 15, 2017.

If you have any last minute questions (and many of you have)  please contact us via the program's "submit a question" link.

We will get you answers immediately. Let us know what we can do to help you succeed.

The 100 Cities / 100 Memorials team!

Features from our State web sites

Wisconsin exhibit


The Wisconsin Veterans Museum Oral History Program

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum's (WVM) mission to affirm, commemorate, and acknowledge the achievements and sacrifices of Wisconsin veterans in America's military past.The WVM Oral History Program honors those who served by recording and preserving their stories and experiences. Since 1994, staff members and volunteers have conducted and collected over 2,100 interviews with veterans from around the state. The collection represents all branches and all conflicts and eras since World War I to the present day. The Museum recently opened a new temporary exhibit, WWI Beyond the Trenches: Stories from the Front. Throughout the next two years the museum will be offering programming and events that feature Wisconsin’s contribution to the Great War – in which 122,000 people from Wisconsin served. As part of these efforts, the Oral History Program will showcase the small but exciting collection of World War I oral history interviews. Read more about this remarkable Wisconsin program here.






Samuel Woodfill: The Outstanding Soldier

Praised as “Outstanding” by AEF commander General John Pershing,1 Samuel Woodfill would be resoundingly praised as a hero following his return from Europe after World War I. For his bravery and heroism, he would receive the Medal of Honor as well as numerous other military honors both from the United States and several European nations. Though Woodfill reportedly disliked publicity, Indiana’s war hero would receive no shortage of it as he met with presidents, was given a standing ovation in Congress, and was chosen by General Pershing to represent the Army’s infantry as a pall bearer in the burial of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Renowned for his incredible feats as a soldier and remarkable humility as a hero, the Outstanding Soldier of the First World War is considered to this day to be one of Indiana’s greatest war heroes. Read more about this extraordinary soldier here.




Pvt. Joseph W. Guyton, First American Soldier Killed on German Soil

Joseph Guyton was born on June 10, 1889 in Evart, Michigan, a small town known for its lumber mills back in its day.  Pioneers were just settling the area back in 1866 through homesteading after the Civil War.  He attended a small school house just outside of town.  At age 20 he married his sweetheart Agnes Winona Baker from Lake City, Mi.  Two years later in 1911 they had a daughter named Olive Clara Guyton.  Life at this point was going very well. In 1914 war broke out over in Europe.  America tried to stay neutral but Germany kept violating our neutral status.  On May 7, 1915 German U-boats sunk the sister ship to the Titanic, The Lusitania.  1198 passengers lost their lives including 128 American's.  America was very upset and cries for war emerged across the country.  Finally on April 6, 1917 the United States of America declared war on Germany.  Some men enlisted and others were drafted.  Guyton was drafted. Under military law Guyton could have refused to go since he only had a daughter and no name sake in case he should die.  Guyton was too proud not to go.  He felt it was his duty to go since he was called to war. Read his whole story here.

Navy recruitment poster

“THE NAVY NEEDS YOU!” Poster - $12.50
June 5, 1917 was Draft Registration Day! So on the 100th anniversary of 10,000,000 young men registering for the draft we proudly offer this 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.

Like the poster suggests, you too can help make American history.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this item goes towards funding America's World War One Memorial in Washington, D.C.


This and many other commemorative items can be found at the Official WW1 Commission merchandise shop.

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

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Lau Sing Kee

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

Lau Sing Kee

Submitted by: Guy Takamatsu

Lau Sing Kee served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known April 18, 1918 to April 25, 1919.


World War I hero and highest decorated enlisted man from San Jose, CA: Lau Sing Kee (1896 -1967)

This writer learned of Lau Sing Kee on a visit to the Chinese Museum located at History Park, a subsection of Kelley Park in San Jose. His medals are on the display, courtesy on loan of his relatives. He won the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart from the United States and the Croix de Guerre from France. Lau Sing Kee was born in Saratoga, his family moved to San Jose. He died in New York City.

Sgt. Lau Sing Kee is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

He received his medals for staying 3 days straight at a message center. In spite of his position being shelled and gassed, he refused to leave his post. At one point he was by himself for 24 hours.

Read Lau Sing Kee's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.

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the united states world war one centennial commission

May 30, 2017

World War I was well-represented across the nation on Memorial Day 2017

Chicago parade

General Pershing would have been proud - our American World War I veterans were well-represented and well-honored this Memorial Day, thanks to the work of hundreds of volunteers across the entire country. The U.S. National WW1 Centennial Events Register on the WW1CC web site showed over 50 Memorial Day Weekend events/exhibits/activities/parades on our Events Calendar, shared by groups and individuals in Arkansas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Ohio, and Florida. The Centennial Events Register is open and interactive, and we welcome the addition of World War I-themed input from all sources. Check out some of the events on Memorial Day that put the spotlight on World War I around the nation.

"It is our job to create a memorial that will bring visitors to the site."

Sabin Howard

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts recently gave approval for the design-concept for the new National World War I Memorial in Washington DC. This vote of support was a huge milestone in the creation of the memorial, and came as great news to the World War I Centennial Commission, and to the Memorial Design Team. Now come the challenge of making the We spoke to the memorial's sculptor, Sabin Howard, about the approval, and what it means for the project. Read what he had to say about the Way Ahead for the Memorial here.

NOAA Corps' century of service to the nation started in WWI


With America’s entry into the World War I, a commissioned service of the Coast & Geodetic Survey (C&GS) was formed on May 22, 1917 to ensure the rapid assimilation of C&GS technical skills for defense purposes. During World War II, officers and civilians of the C&GS produced nautical and aeronautical charts, provided critical geospatial information to artillery units, and conducted reconnaissance surveys. Today, the work of the C&GS—and more—is conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps—one of the seven uniformed services of the United States—are the direct descendants of the C&GS of WWI. David Hall, Public Affairs Officer of the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations unit of NOAA, talked with us about the centennial, and the roles and missions of NOAA today.

Doughboy MIA discovery garners national media attention, articles

Laplander mug

This has been a big month for our friend Robert Laplander. He is the leader of a small group of volunteers called Doughboy MIA, a group doing research into the 4,224 missing service members from World War I. They try to bring accounting for those missing, as the U.S. Department of Defense is only able to support MIA research going back to World War II. Laplander had a breakthrough discovery on the case of Seaman Herbert Renshaw, a U.S. Navy sailor who was lost at sea during an anti-submarine combat patrol, off the coast of Virginia on 22 May 1917. In the Renshaw case, the seaman's name was evidently omitted from those MIA's named on the chapel wall at Brookwood Cemetery. The Brookwood chapel is an American Battle Monuments site, in the UK, which bears the names of missing US sailors, soldiers and Coast Guardsmen who died at sea during World War I combat operations. Laplander's success with the case has brought him significant media attention, which may help the Doughboy MIA group's efforts. Robert spoke to us about the efforts, and what this new attention means.

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This Week's WWrite blog Post: University of Kansas Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures Associate Professor, Lorie A. Vanchena, discusses:  WWI American Immigrant Poetry: A Digital Humanities Project, an impressive and original project about WWI American poetry. The poems are written in response to World War I by immigrants in the United States and constitute a broad range of commentary on the war—for, against, and much more.

100 Cities / 100 Memorials

100 cities 100 memorials

17 days until the grant Application Submission deadline.

If you have a project planned - don't forget to submit it in time. No late submissions will be accepted. If you have any questions - please contact us via the program's "submit a question" link.

We are here to help!

Features from our State web sites





Rush University Medical Center in WWI

Lee C. Gatewood, MD, (1889-1950) served on the medical staff of Presbyterian Hospital, Rush University Medical Center’s predecessor hospital, and served on the faculty of Rush Medical College. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, Gatewood joined Presbyterian Hospital’s Base Hospital No. 13, a unit based in Limoges, France, serving the wounded during the war. Before Unit 13 traveled to France, however, Capt. Gatewood was responsible for training medical officers in several base camps throughout the country. He photographed his experiences at Camp Douglas, WI; Camp Funston, Fort Riley, KS; and Fort Des Moines, Iowa.

In World War I, 104 African American doctors joined the U. S. Army to care for the 40,000 men of the 92nd and 93rd Divisions, the Army's only black combat units, both of which served in France during the war. Gatewood served as an instructor for black medical officers at Fort Des Moines. Read the rest of the story and see the other photos here.




Most highly decorated African American soldier from Indiana in World War I


During the First World War, millions of Americans answered the call to serve the United States with unwavering loyalty to their nation. This number included thousands of African Americans who bravely stepped forward to fight and die for the United States, in spite of the prejudice they so often faced from the country they loved. Despite the uniquely high level of adversity they faced, many black soldiers would see combat on the battlefields of France and would perform their admirably, earning many awards and commendations. Among these decorated soldiers was Aaron Fisher, a young man from Lyles Station in Southern Indiana. Read his inspiring story here.



Eddystone Munitions

The manufacture of artillery ammunition in Eddystone, Pennsylvania during World War I is forever associated with the fatal explosion of April 10, 1917. Numerous articles have been written on this tragedy. Less known are details of the ammunition plant it self and its subsequent role during the war. The Baldwin Locomotive Works created the Eddystone Ammunition Corporation to produce 76.2mm (3 inch) shrapnel shells for Russia under a contract with Britain. Construction of a factory began in 1915. The contract for 2.5 million shells was to be completed in December 1916, but was extended because of delays in acquiring machinery. The contract was completed in August 1917. In September, 1917, the U.S. government bought the machinery and equipment of the of the Eddystone Ammunition Corporation. Read more about the Eddystone ammo plant and the 1917 tragedy there.

John Brancy and Peter Dugan

A Silent Night: A WWI Memorial in Song $14.95

Baratone John Brancy and pianist Peter Dugan created this wonderful album.

They were guests last week on the WW1 Centennial News Podcast. You can hear some musical clips from the album and learn about how the project came to be. Go to WW1CC.org/cn to listen to the podcast. Their interview begins around 25:30.

The album is now available through the official WW1 Centennial merchandise shop along with a wonderful collection of official WW1 centennial merchandise.

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

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John Wespe


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

John Wespe

Submitted by: MCPO Michael J. Norrod, USN (Ret.) {grandson}

John Wespe served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known WWI 1917 to 1919.


My grandfather, John Wespe, served in the U.S. Army in WWI.

He was born 1887 in Louisville, Kentucky, orphaned and raised in a Catholic Orphanage. 

He worked as a candy maker at the National Candy Company in Louisville from 1900 to 1917.

He went from Private to 1stLt by the end of the war.

He enlisted May 8th, 1917 at Fort Thomas, Kentucky. Subsequently serving in Company M of the 30th Infantry Regiment. Initially at Camp Syracuse, New York and then at Camp Greene, North Carolina. He departed for Europe February 27, 1918 and was attached to the 359th Infantry Regiment. Serving in Europe from then until June 7, 1919. His company commander was Capt. Mark Clark, later to gain fame as a four star general in WWII and the Korean War. They remained life long-friends and my mother remembered meeting him several times as a young girl. 

Read John Wespe's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.

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the united states world war one centennial commission

May 23, 2017

CFA approves updated Memorial design concept -- "Now the real work begins"

Vice Chair Edwin Fountain

At a hearing on May 18, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) approved the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission’s design concept for a national World War I Memorial at Pershing Park in the nation’s capital. The approval was a significant milestone in the progress toward building the memorial, on a site authorized by Congress in 2014. CFA is one of the two Federal agencies with responsibility for design approval of memorials in Washington, D.C., along with the National Capital Planning Commission.Members of the CFA commented that the designs have come a long way and are moving in a good direction. Edwin Fountain, Vice Chair of the Commission, took some time to share his thoughts about the outcome of the hearing, and the way ahead for the Memorial.

WWI heroes bravely wore the uniforms of the FDNY and the United States military

FDNY Plaque

Veterans and families were in attendance on May 9 as the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) rededicated a plaque honoring 43 FDNY members who made the supreme sacrifice in World War I and World War II. The ceremony, marking the 100th anniversary of World War I and 75th anniversary of World War II. Of the 43 names on the plaque are eight men who died in 1917-1919 in World War I. Read more about the solemn FDNY event here.

Prima Vista Quartet pays unique French tribute to Americans who served in WWI

Baudime Jam

Many World War I commemoration events took place last month across the country, marking the April 6th centennial of the U.S. entry into the war. One that stood apart, as a very special and unique tribute, was a concert tour provided by the Prima Vista Quartet, a group of world-class musicians from France. To honor the Americans who served during the war, they employed their incredible musical talent to create a live score for the World War I-themed film WINGS. the first film ever to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. Wings was directed by William Wellman, a combat veteran pilot for the American Expeditionary Forces in France during the war. Baudime Jam is the founder, composer, artistic director and violist of Prima Vista. We talked to him about World War I, about the tour of the United States, and about Prima Vista's future efforts.

North Carolina DOT plants acres of red poppies to honor WWI veterans

NC poppies

Red poppies are blooming along North Carolina highways in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of our nation’s entry into World War I. To help honor those who served, NCDOT’s Roadside Environmental unit planted 70 acres of red poppies, an internationally recognized remembrance of sacrifice by our military veterans. “We want to honor those who have served and do it in a way that’s dignified as well as beautiful,” said Jerry Hester, a member of the U.S. World War One Commission. “People ask, ‘Why the poppies?’ It is to honor our servicemen and women, not only North Carolinians, but all over. We’ve had many international visitors who come and see these poppies and remark to us, ‘We’ve never seen anything like this in the world.’” Read the whole story and check out more poppy photos here.

World War I to be well represented in 2017 National Memorial Day Parade

WWI Truck

The National Memorial Day Parade, the nation’s largest Memorial Day event, will take place along Constitution Avenue in Washington DC, from 2-4 PM this Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, 2017. The parade, held annually, is organized by the American Veterans Center & World War II Veterans Committee. It is now celebrating its 13th year. For the fourth year in a row, the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission will be cheering on the volunteers who will represent the American veterans of World War I in this national event. Click here to read the whole story and see photos of the volunteers.

"Official Bulletin" is a unique daily look at World War I American government

Official Bulletin

George Creel, a journalist, friend and staunch supported of Woodrow Wilson during the election of 1916, was appointed by the President  to head the newly minted Committee on Public Information (CPI) as America declared war in 1917. The commissions job was to get public backing for the U.S. war effort. The CPI writ covered all aspects of the U.S. media, including print, film, posters, music, paintings and cartoons. But one of the key CPI products, gone largely forgotten in the century since 1917, is the Official Bulletin, published  throughout the war. We are publishing this daily newspaper again as a part of the WW1 Centennial Commemoration. This archive is an amazing cultural resource of this period in our country. Look at the back issues already published,  and check back daily to see the latest "official news" of 100 years ago today.

100 Cities / 100 Memorials: Countdown to submission deadline!

100 cities 100 memorials


As of the publish date of this issue, there are exactly 24 days left to the submission deadline for the 100 cities / 100 Memorials project.

If you have a project planned - don't forget to submit it in time. No late submissions will be accepted. If you have any questions - please contact us via the program's "submit a question" link.

We are here to help!

Support America's WW1 Memorial in our nation's capital this Memorial Day week

Promotion Toolkit - Panetta video

This Memorial day week, we need your help with some Peer-to-peer fundraising. We are asking you to ask your friend to help!
It's easy.

1. Select one of the 5 Memorial day donation appeal videos and download it.

2. Post the video on your Facebook page, website or other social media site.

3. When you post the video, ask you friends to support America's WW1 Memorial in our nation's capital.

Select your spokesperson - or post a new one each day until Memorial day.

Secretary Leon E. Panetta - Former Secretary of Defense

Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun - Former US Senator and US Ambassador

General Barry McCaffrey, USA (Ret.) - US Military commander, television spokesperson and consultant

Ms. Sandra Sinclair Pershing - step-granddaughter of General of the Armies Black Jack Pershing

Vinton Cerf - Tech guru, internet pioneer and google senior fellow

Help America raise a tribute to it's veteran doughboys by raising the money to build it! Donate yourself and ask your friend to help as well!

Features from our State web sites

Opha May Johnson



First Woman to enlist in the Marine Corps

By the summer of 1918 however, the Marine Corps was in need of more soldiers, many of whom occupied vital administrative and clerical positions throughout the war department at the time. The idea was circulated and eventually approved to allow women into the Marines to fill these non-combat positions, relieving this men to head for the front. From Kokomo, Indiana, Opha May Johnson was first in line when the recruiting station in Washington D.C. opened its doors to women and would become a legend as the first woman Marine. Opha demonstrated the willingness of women to step up and fill these roles just as earnestly and to perform them just as capably as their male counterparts. Read more about Opha May Johnson here.





The Life and Letters of World War I Aerial Observer Lt. Mortimer M. Lawrence


Lt. Mortimer Lawrence was from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. He enlisted in the Army Air Service shortly after the United States declared war on Germany in 1917, and was sent to aerial observer school to be trained to fly planes to photograph German positions. Mortimer wanted the chance to prove himself as both an aerial observer and a warrior. Little did he know that on November 10, 1918 he would earn his place in the footnotes of military history when he shot down the last German plane of World War I. Read his amazing story here.

Woman's Service



Montgomery Motor Corps Contributes to War Efforts

The 1918 photo  of the women serving on the home front in Montgomery is filled with an air of patriotism. The uniforms look sharp. The faces of the woman convey a serious demeanor. The photography studio background adds gravitas. The women in it are the officers of the Montgomery Motor Corps and they directed the activities of more than 100 local female volunteers who provided a variety of driving services to Camp Sheridan, the 4,000 acre U.S. Army post a few miles north of town. As was the norm at the time, the Motor Corps volunteers were identified with the convention of “Miss” or, if married, “Mrs.” plus a husband’s name. All but one are married. Read more about the Montgomery Motor Corps and the National League for Woman’s Service here.

Doughboy baseball cap

Here comes summer! Time for a WW1 Commemorative hat: $19.95

Hat features: Navy with white doughboy embroidery.100% cotton, structured hat with contrasting pancake visor, sweatband and taping. 6 panel soft crown, pre-curved bill. Velcro closure features U.S. flag emblem on this exclusive commemorative hat. One Size Fits All. Proceeds from the sale of this item will help to fund the building of the America's World War One Memorial in Washington, D.C.

A Certificate of Authenticity as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial is included.

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

Double Your Donation - Soldiers

Jean Allen Crandall


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

Jean Allen Crandall

Submitted by: Chris Mulholland

Jean Allen Crandall served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1917-1919.


Jean Allen Crandall served in the Spanish-American War in Havana, Cuba. Almost 20 years later, at the age of 37, Jean entered service again. On 6 April 1917 the US declared war against Germany and American forces finally entered the “War to End All Wars.” Sometime in late 1917 or early 1918, Jean received a commission in the US Army’s Quartermaster Corps as a Second Lieutenant.

On 29 Mar 1918, he was promoted to First Lieutenant and was listed in the New York Times of 30 March 1918: “Special to the New York Times. The War Department published the following army orders today: Quartermaster Corps. Following promoted to be 1st Lts.: Crandall, J.A.”

Read Jean Allen Crandall's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here. 


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the united states world war one centennial commission

May 16, 2017

International League Baseball joins Commission to remember WW1 veterans

International League

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is proud to announce a broad national partnership between the US World War One Centennial Commission and the International League of Minor League Baseball. The partnership includes a series of special game-nights, honoring local World War I heritage, in the hometowns where the games will be played. The 10-night series runs between May 20 (Armed Forces Day) on through Memorial Day, and ending on June 4th. Get the whole story here. Click here for the schedule of games. Now Play Ball!

Updated Memorial design to be presented to the Commission of Fine Arts in DC

Memorial snip

On Thursday, May 18, the Project and Design Teams for the National WWI Memorial will present their latest design concept of Pershing Park to the Commission of Fine Arts. This design concept makes three enhancements to the existing park: first, it enlarges the current fountain at the western edge of the existing pool, which would be restored in its same size. The east-facing side of that expanded fountain would contain the bronze bas relief sculpture depicting a soldier's journey to, through, and from war. Second, it would create a walkway over the restored pool for visitors to access and be able to touch the bronze sculpture; and third, the kiosk would be replaced with a flag pole and other commemorative elements. All other areas of the park would be considered for preservation and restoration.  CFA has reviewed the WWI Memorial twice previously, in fall of 2016 and again in early 2017. Each time, the Design Team has received and incorporated CFA's comments and inputs to further develop the WWI Memorial design. CFA's review this week is just one aspect of broader regulatory reviews. The WWI Memorial design also will be reviewed by the National Capital Planning Commission as well as the National Park Service, which owns Pershing Park as part of the U.S. Interior Department.

Butler to lead 369th Experience band

Dr. Isrea Butler

Dr. Isrea Butler has been announced as band director for the re-creation of the famed 369th Regimental Band for The 369th Experience, part of a series of events endorsed by the World War I Centennial Commission and sponsored in part by The Coca Cola Foundation to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I. A key component of this celebration is the re-creation of the 369th Regimental Band, which in its original form consisted of 65 African American and Puerto Rican gentlemen who charmed the hearts and minds of Americans and Europeans. Dr. Butler will lead the band as they retrace the steps of the original band with performances at centennial celebrations in New York City; Brest and Paris, France; and a host of other historic locales. Read more about the 369th Experience and Dr. Butler here.

Centennial of American Naval forces arriving in Ireland in 1917 marked

Elizabeth Helmer

In May 1917, U.S. Navy Destroyer Division 8, the first group of American destroyers sent abroad during World War I, arrived in Queenstown, Ireland, after a 9-day Atlantic crossing, most of the transit in a severe southeast gale, with orders to cooperate with the British Royal Navy. At a dinner in the Americans' honor the night of their arrival, the RN Commander in Chief of the Coasts of Ireland asked Lieutenant Commander Joseph Taussig, the Division commander "When will you be ready to go to sea?" Taussig famously replied: "We are ready now.”  100 years later, Taussig’s great grand-daughter was among the descendants of those who served with the US Navy in the First World War who gathered in Cobh, Ireland to commemorate the centenary of the American ships arriving there. Read the story of the Navy’s entry into the critical anti-submarine war in 1917, and then check out the centennial ceremony 

"When the call went out for war"

Tanveer Kalo

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission (WW1CC) is blessed to have a number of remarkable people. One of them is intern Tanveer Kalo, who comes to us from St. Lawrence University. Tanveer is a history buff, and also a talented researcher. During his internship period this spring, he decided to use his talents to create something that really didn't exist -- a collection of information on Asian Indian people who served in the U.S. military during World War I. These stories are being published on the WW1CC web site's Vande Mataram in the USA section, as well as in the Stories of Service section.  We spoke to Tanveer about his project, and his motivations for creating this great new resource.

100 Cities / 100 Memorials

100 cities 100 memorials

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

1. From California, in Santa Monica

2. From Tennessee's Madison County

3. From Pennsylvania's Montour County

Read about them in the 100C/100M blog.

Important Reminder

If you are planning a project, you need to submit your grant application before June 15, 2017. The submission instructions are here.

Memorial Day peer-to-peer fundraising for our doughboy veterans

Promotion Toolkit - Panetta video

If you would like to help out with a little peer-to-peer fundraising for us and our programs, we have some Memorial Day donation appeal videos that you can post on your Facebook page, website or other social media asking for help in raising the money to build the national WW1 memorial in Washington DC to honor our doughboy veterans.

Features from our State web sites

Alabama Nurses


Alabama nurses in WWI

For Alabama’s first generation of professional nurses, World War I provided not only an opportunity to serve their country, but also to define the future of their profession. For nurses who served at home and abroad, WWI served as a proving ground, giving them a chance to test their skills in a challenging environment. Alabama women served with distinction at base hospitals in France and Italy, serving capably as hospital administrators and developing new methods of treatment. Read more about Alabama nurses in WWI here.




Memorial Day ceremony to mark WWI centennial

Hawaii residents and visitors are invited to a Memorial Day Observance on Sunday, May 28 at the War Memorial Natatorium in Waikiki. Music starts at 9:30 a.m.and the ceremony will commence at 10:00 a.m. A paddle-out from the San Souci beach will conclude the event, which honors the 10,000 men and women from Hawaii who served in WWI. Find out more about the ceremony here.




When Emory doctors went to war

Only a small fraction of Americans now choose to serve in the military, many coming from the lower rungs of the nation’s economic ladder, and a declining number of political and business leaders are veterans. Circumstances were very different a century ago, when nearly all Americans, from laborers to professionals, put their lives and careers on hold and answered the call to serve in World War I. Atlanta and Georgia provided an excellent illustration of this patriotism and dedication. In April 1917, shortly after America’s entry into the Great War, a call went out from the U.S. Army and the Red Cross to medical schools across the country. Doctors and nurses would be urgently needed to staff hospitals in support of the hundreds of thousands of newly enlisted “doughboys” who would soon head overseas to join British and French allies fighting Germans in the trenches snaking across Europe. Emory School of Medicine answered the call. Read the entire story here.


Wwrite Blog Logo

This week's post features another installment in the series about WWI censored written works. Jennifer Orth-Veillon, the WWrite blog curator, will discuss two censored yet extraordinary works by Army nurses: Ellen N. Lamotte's The Backwash of War and Mary Borden's The Forbidden Zone.

AND If YOU have a news item regarding WWI and writing, please contact the blog's currator: jennifer.orth-veillon@worldwar1centennial.org.

WW1 Era Tent

Authentic U.S. WWI Era Tent,

These tents are proudly made in the USA using the same techniques, hardware and fabrics that were used during The Great War. This Limited Edition tent is enhanced with  a “U.S.” emblem on the top and a fabric garment label commemorating the U.S. Centennial of World War One. 

Natural 13 oz. cotton army duck in khaki color, natural fiber rope, cotton stitching, period slides, cotton fabric tape and brass grommets are all used in the construction of each tent. The end wall is fabricated with a stove pipe opening and decorated with stencils from the original plates.

A portion of the proceeds from thesale of this item goes towards the building of the national World War One Memorial in Washington, D.C.

A Certificate of Authenticity as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial is included. 

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

Double Your Donation - Soldiers

Louis Carlton Webster


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

Louis Carlton Webster

Submitted by: Peggy Durack (granddaughter)

Louis Carlton Webster served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known April 3, 1918 - June 7, 1919.


My grandfather was born and grew up on the farm that had been in his family for 200 years, the legacy of a Revolutionary War veteran who moved from Massachusetts to settle in Ontario County, NY. Grandpa graduated from Cornell University in 1915 with the degree Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and had begun his own veterinary practice when World War I began. When I learned that he served during the war, I believed that he was in the Army Veterinary Corps, but his service record tells a different story.

Known as "Carlton" (his middle name) to his sister, "L. C." (his initials) to some, most called my grandfather "Doc" Webster. He was 'Grandpa Doc' to me and 'Uncle Doc' to his nieces and nephews. Doc enlisted on April 3rd, 1918 and wrote two letters to the Clyde, NY Times which were published that April and explained his experiences getting to, and the induction process at, Camp Dix, NJ (now Fort Dix). They are lighthearted and express his readiness for "new adventures."

Read Louis Carlton Webster 's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.

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