Announcing the First 50 Official 'WWI Centennial Memorials'
Via the Veterans of Foreign Wars web site
On September 27th, the United States World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library announced the first 50 official “WWI Centennial Memorials” from 100 Cites/100 Memorials program.
Although the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program submission period lasted a full year, from July 2016 to July 2017, since the April 6 centennial of the U.S. declaration of war and the subsequent national awakening about World War I, the interest and focus on local WWI memorials around the country has had a large resurgence.
Rather than simply extending the submission period, the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program Executive Committee has resolved to select and to name the first 50 awardees now, and then to re-open a new submission period starting today, September 14, 2017, through January 15, 2018. In this way, we are opening the National Matching Grant challenge to the many additional WWI memorial projects manifesting around the country. Aside from the dates and deadlines, the competition rules and regulations will remain essentially unchanged and can see found at ww1cc.org/100Memorials.
The extension is called: 100 Cities / 100 Memorials Round #2. All entries that were submitted in Round #1, but were not awarded a grant, are automatically entered into Round #2. Additionally, those participants’ entries will be opened for editing allowing them to add to, edit and update their submissions until the closing of Round #2.
Through this program, we found that every project submitted is amazing in its own right. Though we are announcing 50 awardees today, literally every submission received deserves recognition and congratulations. The program sponsors, supporting organizations and project staff wish to thank everyone who has and everyone who will be participating in the program. The dedication and honor you have shown to your community, your history and our national heritage is genuinely humbling. Thank you.
Furthermore, during the World War One Centennial Commission meeting in Washington DC on September 13, 2017, the Commission resolved to designate the awarded memorials as “WWI Centennial Memorials” and as the congressionally designated U.S. government body for the national Commemoration of World War One, to make such a designation an official national designation.
Read more: Announcing the First 50 Official 'WWI Centennial Memorials'
WWI: Immigrants make a difference on the front lines and at home
By Ryan Reft
via the Library of Congress Blog
By 1910, nearly a third of the United States’ 92 million residents were either born abroad or the progeny of parents who immigrated to America. The idea of “hyphenated Americans”—citizens who identified as Polish-American or Italian-American, for example—discomforted many native-born citizens. Former President Teddy Roosevelt insisted all citizens, no matter their birthright or ethnic heritage, embrace “the simple and loyal motto, America for Americans.” Future president Woodrow Wilson, too, expressed doubts about foreign-born citizens, worrying they might harbor “alien sympathies.”
In the years immediately surrounding World War I, organizations like the New York National Americanization Day Committee hoped to use patriotic holidays such as the Fourth of July as a means to unify the country’s diverse populations.Although Americans did not know it at the time, immigrants would soon prove critical to the country’s effort in World War I, both in military service and in industry. Despite their importance, America closed its borders in the years after the armistice, ending what had been the largest immigration flow in the country’s history.
The complicated experience of immigrants on the American home front during the WWI era is conveyed in the Library’s current exhibit “Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I,” which features artifacts from divisions across the Library. In addition, case files from the Manuscript Division’s Woodrow Wilson Papers shed further light on the wartime lives of American newcomers.
Whatever nativist doubts the native-born harbored, immigrants in 1917 poured themselves into the war effort. Nearly 500,000 servicemen in the newly conscripted army consisted of individuals born abroad in 46 different nations. Like their African-American counterparts, however, immigrants were over drafted: nearly 18 percent of enlisted men were foreign born despite making up less than 15 percent of the nation’s total population.
Initially, the military subscribed to the 100-percent Americanism promoted by Roosevelt. U.S. Army Captain Ralston Flemming, for example, wrote of successful efforts at Camp Jackson in South Carolina to inculcate immigrants with “enthusiastic militant Americanism.” But the military soon adopted the gentler Americanization program of progressive reformers, which allowed for retention of cultural traditions. Congress also helped by passing legislation that enabled foreign-born soldiers to obtain expedited naturalization. Eventually, about 300,000 immigrant soldiers would attain citizenship through military service in the war.
On the home front, with immigrant labor concentrated in wartime industries—coal, steel, textiles, oil, lumber and many others—newcomers to the U.S. contributed mightily to mobilization and war work. At Bethlehem Steel, one of the largest wartime steel producers, nearly 10,000 of the plant’s 30,000 workers were immigrants.
Unions, too, saw an opportunity to expand through immigration. Historically, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) had expressed ambivalence and even reticence toward immigrant labor. But during the war, it incorporated the foreign born into the labor movement. AFL membership boomed, as did that of other unions, like the International Association of Machinists.
Read more: Immigrants Make a Difference on the Front Lines and at Home