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World War I Centennial News


United States Mint Begins Sales of 2018 WWI Commemorative Silver Dollar and Companion Medal Sets on January 17

via the United States Mint web site

obverse 400WASHINGTON – The United States Mint (Mint) will open sales for the 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar and the World War I Centennial Silver Dollar and Medal Sets on January 17 at noon Eastern Time. Product information is below.

The introductory sales period ends on February 20, 2018, at 3 p.m. ET, when regular pricing takes effect. Product descriptions are below.

World War I Centennial Silver Dollar

The obverse (heads), titled “Soldier’s Charge,” depicts an almost stone-like soldier gripping a rifle. Barbed wire twines are featured in the lower right-hand side of the design. Inscriptions are “LIBERTY,” “1918,” “2018,” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.”

The wire design element continues onto the reverse (tails), titled “Poppies in the Wire,” which features abstract poppies mixed in with barbed wire. Inscriptions include “ONE DOLLAR,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.”

Public Law 113-212 authorizes the bureau to mint and issue up to 350,000 silver dollar coins. Customer demand will determine the ratio of proof to uncirculated coins minted within the authorized mintage limits.

The price of each coin includes a $10 surcharge, which the law authorizes to be paid to the United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars, to assist the World War I Centennial Commission in commemorating the centenary of World War I.

In support of the coin program, the Mint has created special companion medals honoring each of the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces that were active during the War. Each World War I Centennial Silver Dollar and Medal Set includes a proof silver dollar and a proof 90 percent silver World War I Centennial Medal. The medals are available only in these sets. Medal descriptions are as follows:

Read more: United States Mint Begins Sales of 2018 WWI Commemorative Silver Dollar and Companion Medal Sets...

Unsung heroes of World War I: the carrier pigeons 

By Garet Anderson-Lind
via the National Archives Pieces of History blog

Pigeon MilneCarrier Pigeons (Signal Corps). 2nd Lt. Milne, S.R.C. and the pigeons he is raising for the Army, 1918. (National Archives Identifier 55166221)World War I was one of the first great wars during the industrial revolution. From the introduction of airplanes to the use of tanks and railway guns on the battlefield, soldiers had to contend not only with each other but with the productions of the factory floor. Even the recent invention of the telephone made its way into battlefield units, where soldiers used it to convey orders or direct artillery fire.

In a conflict of the size and duration of World War I, communication was key. Unfortunately, technology—like the telephone or the telegraph—was not as reliable as the commanders of Europe would have liked. In an attempt to improve combat communications, the leaders of World War I turned to a much older form of communication: the carrier pigeon.

Unsung heroes of World War I, the carrier pigeons of both the Allied and Central Powers helped assist their respective commanders with an accuracy and clarity unmatched by technology.

The National Archives has a vast collection of messages that these feathered fighters delivered for American soldiers. Using these messages and the history of the carrier pigeon in battle, we can look at what hardship these fearless fowls endured and how their actions saved American lives.

One of the most impressive things about the war records of the carrier pigeons was how widely the birds were used. Their service as battlefield messengers is their most known use, and the pigeons found homes in every branch of service.

The rudimentary airplanes of the embattled countries used pigeons to provide updates midair. Launched mid-mission, the birds would fly back to their coops and update ground commanders on what the pilots had observed.

Read more: Unsung heroes of World War I: the carrier pigeons

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World War I commemorative silver dollars go on sale January 17

By Ken Chamberlain
via the Military Times web site

Would you spend about $50 for a $1 coin?

For pocket change, probably not. But an official U.S. Mint, World War I commemorative silver dollar, just maybe.

The coins, which go on sale Jan. 17 at noon ET, depict a closeup of a soldier’s face on the front with barbed wire. The back also has barbed wire, but with poppies mixed in with it. Congress authorized them in 2014, and the coin’s design was revealed at the AUSA annual meeting last October.

“It’s an opportunity to remember 4.7 million men and women who served 100 years ago,” then-Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said at AUSA. “Those soldiers performed their difficult mission and left a legacy that touches us all every day.” 

In addition, the Mint is making available service-specific WWI medals that can be purchased with the silver dollars, though at very limited quantities and for just a short time after the silver dollars go on sale.

Read more: World War I commemorative silver dollars to go on sale

1918 Rose Bowl 003 game action1918 Rose Bowl game action: Camp Lewis on offense during the 1918 Rose Bowl with left end #10 LeRoy ‘Roy’ Sharp (U of California) on the ground while Mare Island’s #5 Ed Bailey (U of Oregon) and #8 Darrell Gardner (U of Utah) play defense. (Image originally published by the Pasadena Star-News.)

Four Questions for Timothy P. Brown

"Learn more about this war and its continued impact on us today" 

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission

Author/historian Timothy P. Brown has an interest in World War I, and his interest led him to a unique aspect of the war -- football. The game was in early stages of development at the time of the war, but it was already a nationally-popular pastime to play, and to watch. It was also a growing symbol that brought context and high-relief to the actions taking place in the war, and to the people who were fighting in it. His new book, Fields of Friendly Strife, follows the players of the 1918 Rose Bowl, on the field, and on the battlefields. Timothy Brown gave us some moments to discuss the book, the war, and football.

Tell us about your book. What is it about? Who are the characters that you follow?

Brown mugTimothy P. BrownFields of Friendly Strife was released in November 2017 and tells the story of the men and teams of the military training camps that played in the 1918 and 1919 Rose Bowls. The story is set in the context of the evolution of football to that time, its place on college campuses, and why football became a highly visible part of life in the training camps. It follows the Mare Island and Camp Lewis football teams during the 1917 season, through their appearance in the 1918 Rose Bowl, and tracks the sixty percent of those men that shipped to France and variously saw action at Belleau Wood, Soissons, Meuse-Argonne, and in Flanders.

As those men were shipping to Europe, another set of men enter the training camps in 1918 where they train for war while playing in a football season upended by the federalization of American universities by the Students’ Army Training Corps and the demonic march of the Spanish Flu. By season’s end, the Mare Island Marines, which had an entirely new roster, return to Pasadena and the 1919 Rose Bowl to face the Great Lakes Naval Training Station. That game, and the broader Tournament of Roses, celebrated the recent Armistice and honored the sacrifices of those who served overseas.

The book closes with a summary of what happens to the men who return to civilian life, those who remain in the armed forces, as well as those who return to active duty during WWII.

Many off-the-battlefield story elements are told in a lighthearted fashion, particularly the coverage of the social norms and emerging technologies of the day.

Read more: Four Questions for Timothy P. Brown

1200px Sargent John Singer RA Gassed Google Art Project 1“Gassed,” by John Singer Sargent, depicts soldiers blinded by a mustard gas attack in World War I.

‘Astounding’ WWI painting on loan from UK coming to KC 

By Matt Campbell
via the Kansas City Star web site

The painting is so large the museum had to build a special exhibit space for it.

The 9-foot-by-21-foot painting on loan from the United Kingdom will be the first exhibit in the new Wylie Gallery at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City from Feb. 23 to June 3.

“Gassed,” by American artist John Singer Sargent, depicts British soldiers blinded by a gas attack on the Western Front, hands on the shoulder of the man in front as they are guided to a medical station.

“This is a pretty astounding thing for us to be able to have it here on loan and on exhibition,” said Doran Cart, senior curator at the museum at Liberty Memorial. “We’re highly regarded by the Imperial War Museums” in England. “Their director general is on our international advisory board, and she’s been here.”

Sargent witnessed this scene in the aftermath of a mustard gas attack near Arras, France, in August 1918, just weeks before the Armistice ended the war. Scenes like this had become routine, which explains why other soldiers can be seen playing soccer in the background.

“‘Gassed’ is a national treasure in the United Kingdom, and bringing this magnificent painting to the National World War I Museum and Memorial stands as one of the most important achievements in our history,” museum President Matthew Naylor said.

Read more: ‘Astounding’ WWI painting on loan from UK coming to KC


New commemorative silver dollar recognizes World War I centennial 

By Joe Curtin
via the Department of Veterans Affairs VAntage Point blog

The World War I centennial year has arrived. There are a number of events planned in Europe to commemorate military campaigns and battles in the months ahead. In the meantime, VA and many federal agencies will continue to participate in planning for Nov. 11, 2018 — the 100th anniversary of the armistice bringing World War I to an end.

In our partnership with the World War I Centennial program, U.S. Mint is issuing a World War I Centennial silver dollar. The coin, and its companion silver medals, will be available to purchase at noon Eastern Time, on Wednesday, Jan. 17.

The U.S. Mint coin and medals are a tangible way to be part of the centennial. They honor the 4.7 million American men and women who served during the war, and they help to support WWI education and commemorative programs.

VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin served as a keynote speaker at the groundbreaking ceremony for the National World War I Memorial on Nov. 9, 2017. The memorial will be built in Pershing Park, Washington D.C., near the White House. Funds for the memorial are being privately raised.

Read more: New commemorative silver dollar recognizes World War I centennial

Doughboy statue sparks NJ historian's mission to photograph WWI monuments

By Carol Comegno
via the Cherry Hill, NJ Courier Post web site

Westampton, NJ — A reverence for Colonial history led Erik Burro to write about it, reenact it and give presentations in 12 states and abroad

Erik BurroErik Burro stands by an exhibit containing his photographs of Doughboy soldier World War I monuments displayed at the Burlington County Library in Westampton, NJ. Upon moving from the Colonial city of Philadelphia across the Delaware River to another Colonial area in Willingboro and then to Burlington City, he would pass the statue of a U.S. soldier every day. The World War I memorial on High Street was just a few blocks from Burro's city home and office but he paid it little attention.

After realizing in 2016 that the centennial of U.S. entry into World War in 1917 was approaching the following year, he stopped for a closer look at the Burlington statue depicting a Doughboy — the nickname for Army soldiers of that war — and the memorial hall behind it.

The statue triggered his curiosity and eventually led him to become a man on a mission to find and photograph other World War I monuments, first in South Jersey and then statewide, a quest that has resulted in traveling photography exhibits of major World War I monuments in the state.

"I became smitten with finding more of these tributes," said Burro, a historian and photographer who began writing history papers and reenacting even before the American Bicentennial in 1976.

"And when I give talks today about the World War I photos, people are just as amazed as I was at how many memorials are out there, their size and their diversity."

His exhibit of the 33 Doughboy statues he found in the state is hanging in the Burlington County Library in Westampton until Jan. 15. It will then move to the Trenton Free Library. A more wide-ranging exhibit of major World War I monuments in the state is in the Hoboken Historical Museum until Feb. 18.

He has entitled both photo collections a "Legacy of Remembrance."

Now semi-retired at 73, Burro is continuing his search for other monuments he may have missed in the absence of a comprehensive database.

Read more: Doughboy statue sparks NJ historian's mission to photograph WWI monuments

U.S. Mint video about the new WWI Centennial Silver Dollar 

On Wednesday, January 17th, 2018, the U.S. Mint will begin selling the new 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar that honors the 4.7 million American men and women who served. The video above, provided by the Mint, explores the evolution of the coin's design. More information on the 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar, and its companion silver medals, representing each uniformed service who fought in the war, is available on the World War One Centennial Commission web site coin page here.


President Woodrow Wilson debuts Fourteen Points, January 1918

By Caitlin Hamon
Staff Writer

On January 8, 1918 -- long before the 1919 Treaty of Versailles -- President Woodrow Wilson addressed the U.S. Congress with what would later become known as his "Fourteen Points" that were "Fundamental to America's War Aims."

image009Two months earlier, Lenin had issued his 'Decree on Peace', prompting Wilson to respond with oration of his own, addressing the secret treaties amongst allies that the Bolsheviks had disclosed, as well as outline the principles for a future peace. The theme that dominated his speech was "the principle of justice to all peoples and nationalities, and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety with one another, whether they be strong or weak."

Up until then, there had been no explicit statement of war aims by any of the nation’s fighting during World War I. Wilson sought out his longtime advisor and friend, Colonel Edward House, to create an inquiry which would explore the issues a peace conference would identify and set achievable goals for them. After extensive research by a team, Walter Lippmann presented Colonel House with a memorandum: “The War Aims and the Peace Terms it Suggests.” On January 4, Colonel House presented the statement to Wilson, who subsequently spent the weekend reworking the memo into a numbered short statement, ending with the creation of an organization for peace.

Wilson was famous for his eloquent speeches; with his resonant voice and precise diction, oratory was his greatest asset, and this speech was no different.
“We entered this war because violations of right had occurred which touched us to the quick and made the life of our own people impossible unless they were corrected and the world secure once for all against their recurrence. What we demand in this war, therefore…is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression.”

Read more: President Woodrow Wilson debuts his Fourteen Points in January 1918

Online exhibit explores "American Women Physicians in World War I"

By Dr. Eliza Chin
American Medical Women’s Association

American Women Physicians in World War I exhibitionThe American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) has created a remarkable new online exhibit, "American Women Physicians in World War I". The online exhibit can be viewed at

The AWMA is an organization which functions at the local, national, and international level to advance women in medicine and improve women’s health. The organization was founded by Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen in 1915 in Chicago, at a time when women physicians were an under-represented minority.

When the United States entered the war in 1917, women physicians numbered less than 5% of all physicians. Many were eager for the chance to serve their country. But when the Army Surgeon General sent out a call for physicians to serve in the Medical Corps, the women who applied were rejected.

Women physician leaders across the country protested this decision and petitioned the government, but the War Department stood firm. Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy would later write, “Our Government provided for the enlistment of nurses, but not for women physicians. This was a mistake. It is utterly impossible to leave a large number of well-trained women out of a service in which they belong, for the reason that they won’t stay out.”

And stay out, they did not. Women physicians found other ways to participate. Some became civilian contract surgeons in the U.S. Army or served with the French Army. Others volunteered with humanitarian relief organizations – the American Red Cross, the American Women’s Hospitals, the Women’s Oversea Hospitals, and the American Fund for the French Wounded to provide medical care both near the front or within civilian communities.

A prevailing sense of patriotism and desire to be of service fueled their commitment. Perhaps Dr. Olga Stastny summed it up best, “I want to get to France, even if I have to scrub floors.”

Read more: New online exhibit explores "American Women Physicians in World War I"

World War I Christmas Truce honored by soccer event

By Rimsie McConiga
via the web site

Veterans of the Great War were honored on Christmas Day as soccer lovers from the local area paid homage to one of the most unique and inspirational events in human history.

Trophy photoNational World War I Museum and Memorial President and CEO Dr. Matthew Naylor (third from right) helps hold the trophy from the soccer event honoring the WWI Christmas Truce.As World War I raged in Europe, German and British soldiers hunkered down in cold, wet trenches after the First Battle of Ypres awaiting word from their leaders on what their next move would be. Christmas was fast approaching.

When German troops began decorating by placing candles and Christmas trees in their trenches, they began singing German carols and soon the British responded by singing carols of their own. They began shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon the roar of artillery fire fell silent. For these 100,000 British and German troops the unofficial cessation of battle was a welcome relief for the war-weary soldiers.

During the week before Christmas the unimaginable happened and the German and British soldiers began laying down their arms and crossing over the trenches to speak to their enemies, exchanging Christmas greetings and sharing stories, food, tobacco, alcohol and even souvenirs such as hats and buttons. They even sang Christmas carols together.

Soldiers from both sides even cautiously made their way into ‘no man’s land’ on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day where they participated in joint burial ceremonies for their fallen comrades and prisoner swaps.

For all the camaraderie and joyful exchanges, the one thing that has been the most memorable part of the truce seen in books, films and photos over the last century was the image of these adversaries in this horrific global conflict playing football (soccer).

The Christmas Truce, the unofficial ceasefires along the Eastern and Western Fronts, was commemorated Monday by soccer enthusiasts from around the region in the fifth annual Truce Tournament hosted by Sporting Club, the National World War I Museum and Memorial and The Soccer Lot.

Approximately 200 participants from 33 teams in the area competed in a 3v3 soccer tournament, while hundreds of additional soccer fans attended the English Premier League Boxing Day Watch Party on large screens inside the National World War I Museum and Memorial. The Millennium Pilots claimed the Truce Tournament title in the Competitive Division. In the Recreational Division, Stepdads claimed the title. #CatsBy90 won the Beer Division.

“The Christmas Truce was a remarkable event during the world’s first truly global conflict,” said National World War I Museum and Memorial President and CEO Dr. Matthew Naylor. “There are substantial lessons to be learned from those soldiers who displayed an unbelievable amount of humanity in the midst of horrific warfare and the Truce Tournament allows us to recognize and understand how the Great War continues to affect the global community to this day.”

Read more: World War I Christmas Truce honored by soccer event

Sabin Howard 15 Dec 2017 700x420Sculptor Sabin Howard sits with the maquette he created for "A Soldier's Journey," the sculptural component of the National World War I Memorial, at Weta Workshop in Wellington, New Zealand, in November 2017. (Courtesy of Sabin Howard)

Sculptor Sabin Howard’s World War I national monument

The Next Step in ‘A Soldier’s Journey’ 

By Milene Fernandez
via the Epoch Times web site

WASHINGTON—Wounds of history, however long ago inflicted, can begin to heal as soon as they are acknowledged. World War I ended 100 years ago. Many of the conflicts the United States is engaged in around the world can be traced back to the country’s most forgotten war. Its unlearned lessons, traumas, and repercussions continue to haunt us, more than we realize, perhaps because those who served have yet to be publicly honored to the extent warranted. To that end, the National World War I Memorial in Washington is finally in the making.

An act of Congress in 2013 created The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, which selected the competition-winning team—architect Joe Weishaar and sculptor Sabin Howard—who had proposed the concept for the memorial “The Weight of Sacrifice.”

“We want people to come face to face with the humanity we find in those who served in this war. … It may be long overdue, but today marks another point in the journey of making sure they are not forgotten,” said Weishaar, the architect and lead designer of the memorial, on Nov. 9, 2017, at the official groundbreaking ceremony in Pershing Park, with views to the White House.

Read more: The Next Step in ‘A Soldier’s Journey’

Last chance to experience World War I and American Art exhibit at the Frist Center in Nashville

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission

The landmark art exhibit World War I and American Art will close out its current run at Nashville's Frist Center on 21 January. This ambitious show was originally organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), Philadelphia, and it was timed to coincide with the centennial of the entry of the U.S. into the war, It was previously shown at the PAFA, in Philadelphia, and at the New York Historical Society Museum, and garnered acclaim from news outlets such as Forbes, The New York Times, and PBS NewsHour. The show was set up at the Frist in August of last year. The exhibit revisits a critical period in history through a wide variety of artistic responses, ranging from patriotic to dissenting. The artworks show an incredible range, and include painting work by Georgia O'Keefe, who lost a brother in the war; photography by Edward Steichen, who flew aerial reconnaissance missions with the Army Air Corps; and masterwork painting "Gassed", by John Singer Sargent, which is on loan from the Imperial War Museum in the UK. We reached out to the staff of the Frist Center, to discuss the exhibition. Frist Center Curator Trinita Kennedy, Director of Education and Community Engagement Anne Henderson, and Director of Communications Ellen Pryor, responded to our questions about the show, about the war, and about impact on the local region.

How was the setup process for you folks? The Frist is a world-class institution -- but this exhibit is a bit unique -- with artwork and artifacts, etc. i.e. What special handling was needed for the huge John Singer Sargeant Gassed painting?

Kennedy Henderson Pryor(l to r) Trinita Kennedy, Anne Henderson, and Ellen Pryor of the Frist Museum.The exhibition includes 140 works in many different media. The installation period was about 10 days.

Yes, the hardest work to install was Sargent’s Gassed. It was intended to be permanently installed in a Hall of Remembrance in London. It is only because that monument was never constructed that the picture is able to travel. The painting measures 90½ x 240 inches and therefore is challenging to move. It is too large for most freight elevators in art museums, including ours.

The picture traveled here in a crate with a special travel frame. It was then re-framed in its usual frame in our galleries. The travel frame was slightly smaller, and that difference made it possible for the picture to fit in our elevator.

Read more: Last Chance to experience World War I and American Art exhibit at the Frist Center in Nashville

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