Design for WWI Memorial at Pershing Park evolves
By Dana Davidsen
via ASLA's The Dirt web site
Plans for the proposed World War I memorial at Pershing Park, located just two blocks from the White House, continues to evolve. This month, the team designing the capital city’s first national memorial commemorating WWI took comments from the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), which pushed for keeping more of the nearly two-acre park created by landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg, FASLA, in 1981.
Restored pool concept / Image courtesy of National World War I Commission, designers UU+Studio, Forge Landscape Architecture, and GWWO, via NCPCSince first presenting their design to the planning commission last year, the team — led by architect Joe Weishaar, landscape architect Phoebe McCormick Lickwar, ASLA, and sculptor Sabin Howard — has continued to adapt their proposal in response to feedback. The original plan, The Weight of Sacrifice, which won a competition last year held by the WWI Centennial Commission, sought to replace the sunken pool basin with a lawn to improve access and visibility and install a bas-relief commemorative wall depicting images of the war.
At this month’s meeting, the planning commission reviewed an iteration of the plan that got rid of the lawn, expanded the existing pool, and combined the site’s signature water feature with a 65-foot-long commemorative wall.
NCPC requested the proposed wall be reduced in size in order to maintain views across the park. And they pushed the design team to consider what the plaza would look like with the water feature turned off.
Considering the many changes to the original proposal, council member Evan Cash questioned whether the entire scope of the project had changed. He noted that people liked the new design because it preserved open space, but with on-going edits “…the project has changed to rehabilitation.”
“What started out as a project to look for a new WWI memorial has actually turned into a preservation project of the existing park, with some additional elements,” he said. “I just think all the problems we’ve been talking about are linked to the fact this has been a design that has been so overworked.”
Despite concerns, the planning commission approved the conceptual design and the team will move forward to refine the proposal and incorporate requested elements. Changes to the design will also need to be approved by the Commission on Fine Arts (CFA) and the National Park Service (NPS).
Read more: Design for WWI Memorial at Pershing Park Evolves
"Eight on the 7th" event to reunite Purple Heart medals with families of Fallen Heroes
By Zachariah Fike
Founder, Purple Hearts Reunited
At 5:00 p.m. on 07 August 2017, National Purple Heart Day, the non-profit foundation Purple Hearts Reunited will reunite eight families with their lost Purple Heart Medals, including the family of one soldier from World War I.
Themed as “Eight on the Seventh” (a tie into 8-7-17), this day will honor families who represent our nation’s heroes from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the War on Terror.
PVT Frank L. Dunnell, Jr., USAThe event will take place at Federal Hall, located at 26 Wall Street, New York City, New York. This is the same historical location that the founding father of the Purple Heart, President George Washington, swore in as our first President on April 30, 1789.
This ceremony is open to the public.
When servicemen and woman are wounded or sacrifice their life at times of War, our country awards them or their family with a prestigious award in the form of the Purple Heart. As times pass, certain circumstances can lead to these medals being misplaced, lost, or even stolen. Below is a short description of the eight medals being returned in August.
1. WWI, Private Frank Lyman Dunnell, Jr:
Frank was born 21 December 1892 in Buffalo, New York and later enlisted for service in World War I on 27 July 1917. Assigned as an Infantryman with Fox Company, 107th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division, Frank was wounded on 02 October 1918 as his unit encountered fierce resistance and heavy fighting during the Somme Offensive, which was the allied forces attempt to pierce the German’s Hindenburg defensive line. His medal was discovered at the Bank of New York many years ago and will be returned to his Great-Niece, Mrs. Carlson of Burlington, Vermont.
2. WWII, Sergeant George W. Roles:
George was born 10 April 1921 to George G. and Vera A. Meade Roles in Edna, Kansas. He later enlisted for service in the U.S. Army on 08 September 1942 and was assigned to the 134th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division. On 14 July 1944, his unit received orders to attack the town of St. Lo, France. The Germans showed stubborn resistance and a thorough knowledge of defensive tactics, and repeated enemy counter-attacks throughout the battle. It was during this intense fighting that SGT Roles lost his life the next day on 15 July. George was survived by his wife Pauline Freeman and a 2-month-old son, George Nicholas, whom he had never seen. His medal was recently discovered in a home in California and will be returned to his son, Mr. Nick Geasland of San Diego, CA
Read more: "Eight on the 7th" Event to Reunite Purple Heart Medals with Families of Fallen Heroes
Treasure trove of WWI film coming to video at National Archives
By Sonia Kahn
U.S. National Archives History Office
It is almost eerie to watch the silent black-and-white footage, panning over the rubble remaining from small villages of France and Belgium, seeing cannons fire, and watching a zeppelin drop bombs on London rooftops, all without a sound. These are just some of the haunting images captured on the reels of recently digitized footage of World War I.
Scaling a wall at Camp Wadsworth, South Carolina, 1918. Scenes of U.S. Army troops in training are in films such as Training of the 83rd Division, Camp Sherman, Ohio. (165-WW-151B(8))The National Archives houses the largest repository of World War I documents in the United States, and it encompasses not just paper records but also still pictures, microfilm, and motion pictures related to the conflict.
Many of us undoubtedly associate the harrowing feats of the World War II with footage of the action we’ve seen in 1940s-era films and documentaries, but most people do not associate World War I with moving pictures.
One may be surprised to learn, however, that we hold more than 1,600 reels of documentary film regarding World War I. The film is spread out over a number of record groups, but there are four larger collections.
Two of the record groups, the U.S. Army Signal Corps Historical Collection and the CBS World War I Collection, focused on documenting the activities of the Great War, including soldier training, daily camp life, and combat.
The Ford Film Collection documents similar aspects of the war, as well as some home front activities such as raw materials rationing, Liberty Loan drives to help fund the war, and footage of the eventual Armistice celebrations.
The final record group, the Durborough War Pictures, contains original footage taken by American press photographer Wilbur H. Durborough, who documented what he saw as he traveled Europe in the midst of the fighting.
To take just one example of how so much footage wound up at the National Archives, consider the case of the U.S. Army Signal Corps Historical Collection.
From 1917 until 1939, when the footage would eventually be transferred to the National Archives, the War Department invested heavily in creating and later editing and storing the footage.
The total cost amassed to make and maintain the footage was between $2 million and $3 million (that’s $36.5 million to $54.8 million today!). It was only in 1939, with the world on the brink of yet another international crisis, that the footage produced by the Signal Corps made its way to the National Archives.
Read more: Treasure trove of WWI film coming to video at National Archives
Roses of No Man’s Land online exhibit honors Wisconsin nurses who served in Great War
By Nathalie Nguyen
World War I meant mobilization.
No one learned that more than the Wisconsin nurses, like Helen Bulvosky and Aimee O’Keefe Kinney, who kept injuries at bay while treating soldiers in France and Belgium. They gave first aid and anti-tetanus shots in cycles, providing medical treatment and keeping the patients warm.
There’s no homage more telling than an exhibit dedicated to these women whose service was vital to the war effort. The Wisconsin Veterans Museum opened an online exhibit called The Roses of No Man’s Land, honoring and commemorating these nurses that served during the Great War.
Using photos, letters, and personal writing logs, the exhibit features the stories of World War I nurses from Wisconsin, coinciding with the centennial entry of the U.S into the war. In just a click of a mouse, the website takes you through the daily life of nurses in France and Belgium, illnesses and casualties, fraternization and holidays, and the end of the war through the eyes of these Wisconsinites.
“Madison certainly must be a blue place now that they are notified of the mortalities. We all sympathize with them but the Lord knows we are doing all there is. …The most pathetic thing I hurry against is when the boys wake up from ether and find that an arm or leg has been amputated but like soldiers they bear it bravely,” said Helen Bulvosky in a letter to her parents.
Read more: Roses of No Man’s Land online exhibit honors Wisconsin nurses who served in Great War
George Creel's WWI Official Bulletin is posting daily on ww1cc.org web site
By Paul Burgholzer
Note: This story is part of our series on the remarkable World War I resources and features that can be found on the Centennial Commission website, ww1cc.org
During World War I, Public Relations legend George Creel headed the U.S.’s Committee on Public Information (CPI).
His committee published a daily bulletin to keep the public up-to-date on the war effort.
Today -- The World War I Centennial Commission is republishing these daily bulletins exactly 100 years later.
These bulletins were made to keep Americans informed about the war's progress, and to keep the public emotionally engaged in the overall war effort. Creel did not want to make the bulletin a source of propaganda, so he tried to make it as informative as possible.
This is daily news bulletin serves as a tremendous resource for any one doing research on America in the war, or someone who just wants to know what life was like in 1917.
These bulletins let us relive the times of our ancestors, day by day. The articles you will read on the link above are the same articles your ancestors read and discussed, 100 years ago.
For instance -- In the bulletin from July 27th an article titled “RAILROADS INCREASE NATION'S FOOD SUPPLY BY LEASING SURPLUS LANDS WHICH THEY OWN” discusses how the Homefront is mobilizing it production means for the war effort. Other articles discuss actions taken by the Red Cross and American doctors entering medical corps.
Take a look, and experience this amazing resources for yourself!
"It’s telling a story through a visual narrative."
Howard advances memorial sculpture in Weta Workshop sessions
By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission
With the unanimous design-concept approval by the U.S. Commission of Fine Art and by the National Capital Planning Commission, in recent weeks, our development of the new National World War I Memorial is in high-gear. Our sculptor, Sabin Howard has taken the design artwork to New Zealand, to work with the incredibly talented artists at the high-tech sculpting studio, Weta Workshop. He took some time to talk to us, and to show us what he has created, and how the sculptural development process will work.
You are in New Zealand right now, working on the WWI memorial bas relief. Why New Zealand, and what are you doing?
Sculptor Sabin Howard (right) poses a model at the Weta Workshop Studios in New Zealand.We are working at Weta Workshop in Wellington NZ which is normally the go to place for all the top feature movies like Lord of the Rings, Avatar, Planet of the Apes in the creation of sculpture props. The latest technology is available to speed things up so that we can move things through quickly and efficiently. Using technology we get things blocked out and then take over manually or traditionally using the same techniques that sculptors have used to make art for the last 200 years.
We are taking out the grunt work so that the creative process can shine through. This work has to be delivered at a very high level. I like to call it museum quality art. I have till the end of the year to create something that will blow the roof off the art world and create a visceral response from Washington.
New Zealand has great cultural appreciation for their World War I veterans. Have you seen this since you have been there? How has it manifested itself in your team's work?
New Zealand is a relatively young country. You could say that it’s 200 years old. WW1 defines the people of NZ and is similar in importance to our War of Independence.There is tremendous excitement among the crew to participate in the creation of this initial sculptural maquette. I used one of the workers yesterday as a model of the central charging figure. We are doing what film does in sculptural form so everyone at the shop gets it. It’s telling a story through a visual narrative.
Read more: Sabin Howard update on National WWI Memorial sculpture
Stories of Service: The Commission's web page dedicated to commemorating individual service
By Paul Burgholzer
Note: This story is part of our series on the remarkable World War I resources and features that can be found on the Centennial Commission website, ww1cc.org
Did you have someone in your family tree serve in the Great War? You can share their story with us at our Stories of Service page.
This link will take you to the form where you can add someone’s story. Fill out the service member’s name and dates of service (if known). Then select the service member’s branch or type of service. This could be military branches like the Navy or Marine Corps, or it other service groups like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, shipbuilding efforts, foreign air service, etc. Then write a short summary of their story, and how they contributed to the war effort. The process is simple and quick. It is worth doing to see your family member’s name photo and story on the web page. Add someone to this wall of honor!
A recent story about an Air Corps Observer named Lt. David Ker is truly honorable. He was a charismatic young man who spent his free time dancing, fishing, and spending time with his cousin. Ker loved life but left behind his fiancé, his family, and his fun to serve in the war effort. Being an observer was a dangerous but essential job. His Samson II airplane was shot down in 1918 and Ker was killed. He sacrificed everything for his country and this is why commemorating these individuals is honorable.
On the Stories of Service page you can find stories like Ker’s and many more detailed biographies that make up our great American heritage. Some recently added stories to look out for are Delta Lockhart who left his job as a high school principle in Texas to become an officer in the US Army, LiberAntonio Bonsanto who served with the 127th engineers, and Gilbert W. Zeits who fought in the Argonne Forest and at St. Miheil.
Dive into their stories and more at the WWI Centennial Commission’s Stories of Service page.
WWI Memorial design concept gaining ground for Pershing Park
By Alyssa Carter
Since Congress designated Pershing Park a World War I Memorial in 2014, the Centennial Commission has been collaborating with Federal regulatory agencies to design an integrated park and memorial honoring the more than four million people who served in WWI. The international design competition in 2015 generated a design concept by Joe Weishaar, Phoebe Lickwar, and Sabin Howard that sought to align the current Pershing Park memorial elements with the rest of the park with additional memorial features, specifically a monumental bronze bas relief sculpture that displays the story of a Soldier’s Journey.
However, in 2016, government agencies found Pershing Park eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, which layered on even more challenges to the project. This required the Project and Design Teams to seek a more fine-tuned balance between the Memorial design and construction with park rehabilitation, restoration, and preservation.
On July 13, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) concurred with the direction of the Centennial Commission’s development of the WWI Memorial and voted unanimously to adopt the concept design, which makes three changes to Pershing Park. First, this design 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 will become the emotional center of the new WWI Memorial: an approximately 65-foot-long bronze bas relief sculpture with larger-than-life figures that will tell the story of the United States’ involvement during the war through the experience of a Soldier’s Journey. Second, this design will create a walkway over the restored pool for visitors and area residents to access and experience the sculpture and fountain through touch, sight, and sound. Third, the current kiosk will be replaced with a flagpole that will include other commemorative elements about the Great War.
Read more: WWI Memorial Concept Design Gaining Ground for Pershing Park
WWI: "How far we have come, that now we can remember together as friends."
Uploading History: Bismarck Military Aviation History
By Michael Stahler
First came engravings, then scrolls, then books, then documentaries. Now, the way history reaches new audiences is through the internet. In this segment previously, we interviewed Youtuber Extra Credits. Today, we spent some time with Christoph Bergs, otherwise known online as "Bismarck", who tackles history with a specific lens: aviation history. Bergs, like our previous interview Bernhard Kast, is not an American yet still has covered American military history as told by the military aircraft they employed. Through simulators, games, and visual representations, the way the world does combat in the realm of the sky is Bergs' key interests. He also has had experience working with the Great War, having worked with our French counterpart, the Mission du Centenaire, visiting the battlefields of the Somme and Verdun. We were fortunate enough to spend some time with him, and he additionally has agreed to produce a video on American aircraft during World War 1 for us. If you'd like to visit his channel, click here.
Making a name in the growing field of historical Youtubers is difficult, yet you have managed to garner a combined 4.3 million views on your channel by focusing on a key element. How did you get started in this field, and started out on Youtube as a whole? What is your overall background?
Christoph BergsI started out on YouTube a few years ago after I had rediscovered my passion for aviation, specifically military aviation. Right now, I am creating regular content on the history of military aviation with a focus World War 1 and World War 2. All of it is based on research I do myself using primary or secondary sources. My interest in it started out when I was really young however, back when I was around 10 years old and saw the first warbirds in museums and books. Obviously, that was somewhat on the backburner as I went into my late teens. Where I went to school, warbirds weren’t exactly how you would start a conversation with your fellow classmates. It all came back to me after university where I had studied history.
Though a majority of the combat coverage on your channel spans the World Wars, you've been able to produce over a hundred videos, many in-depth and some over an hour long. What sort of narrative emerges by studying the usage of aircraft in war? Why aircraft?
Why aircraft? Pure and simple, I love them. There is just something about aircraft that I like and I have yet to find an exception. There is so much to talk about when it comes to military aviation, it is sometimes a challenge to just decide on a topic. The development of airpower from WW1 to WW2 has spawned so many different designs, concepts and technological advances. In a way, it reinvented military strategy and by doing so it had a profound impact on politics too. Military aviation wasn’t something nations could ignore, they had to invest and develop competitive planes and weapon systems out of nothing. That gives us such a wealth of material to go through, any way you turn something new pops up.
Read more: Uploading History: Christoph Bergs a.k.a. "Bismark"
July 1917 - Building the US Air Service for action in WWI
By Patrick Gregory
via the Centenary News web site
When Woodrow Wilson signed legislation on 24 July 1917 earmarking $640 million for expenditure on US military aviation, it was the largest amount of money ever appropriated for a single purpose by Congress up to that time. But as Patrick Gregory explains the move marked a necessary effort to rebuild an air service, almost from scratch.
French Nieuport 15 plane at Bouy aerodrome, Bouy, Châlons-en-Champagne, June 1917 - later used in training by the US Air Service (Photo courtesy of Kimber Literary Estate)The extraordinarily large amount of money which Congress and President pledged to the Aviation Section in July 1917 – only one branch of the country’s armed forces, and a nascent one at that – marked an acknowledgment by the American authorities of the size and scale of the task faced by the service. It was time to catch up, they realised, and fast.
The air service had found itself chronically underprepared and under-resourced at the outbreak of war, with few pilots and fewer planes. It could boast only 131 officers, chiefly pilots and student pilots out of an enlisted staff of 1087 men. Of those 131 only 26 were deemed fully trained. Worse still, no one serving had had proper combat experience. The groundwork had not been laid, or preparation made, and the Air Service now faced a steep development curve. Having been pioneers of aviation only a decade previously, America now lagged a long way behind the rival, experienced Great War combatants fighting in the skies over Europe.
Part of the problem encountered by the air service stemmed from its curious origin within the military firmament. Still a junior member of the armed forces, and officially only an adjunct of the Signal Corps, it needed to carve out a place for itself in Washington as well as stake a real claim in Pershing’s plans for his American Expeditionary Force.
Even the name of the junior partner changed from one minute to the next, a clue to its uncertain status. It was known by a variety of titles by different parts of government and the armed forces: the 'Aviation Section', the' Aeronautical Division', the 'Airplane Division', the 'Air Division'. All were terms used to describe what was still officially the 'Aviation Section of the Signal Corps'. Only in time would it evolve into its longer lasting title of 'U.S. Air Service', yet even that soubriquet only really began to come into common usage in France in the autumn of 1917.
Read more: July 1917 - Building the US Air Service for action in WWI
99 years ago, World War I arrived on the shores of Cape Cod
By Nik DeCosta-Klipa
via the boston.com web site
On July 21, 1918, Dr. J. Danforth Taylor made a rather urgent call.
“Hello! Is this the Globe?” he asked.
Taylor was informed that, indeed, he had reached the offices of The Boston Globe.
“This is Dr. Taylor of East Boston,” he continued. “I am at Nauset [Beach] on Cape Cod. There is a submarine battle going on just offshore.”
Dr. Taylor wasn’t lying. Exactly 99 years ago Friday, a lone German U-boat attacked just off the coast of Orleans, raiding a tugboat and its four barges — and even incidentally shelling the beach where eyewitnesses gathered in awe.
The raid made the quiet Cape Cod town the only place in the United States to be hit by enemy fire during World War I.
“It brought the war that was over there, over here,” Jake Klim, the author of Attack on Orleans, told Boston.com.
As Klim writes in his book, the SM U-156 was one of the first German submarines over the course of the two World Wars to wreak havoc off the American coast, in an effort to terrorize and incite anti-war sentiment along the Eastern Seaboard. It had already sunk one 500-foot U.S. Navy ship off Long Island that summer, killing six sailors, before reaching Cape Cod.
Military officials had been aware at the time of the possibility that sharks weren’t the only thing lurking off Cape shores. Within a year of the United States entering the war, a short-lived Naval air station was built in Chatham to patrol the waters.
Read more: 99 years ago, World War I arrived on the shores of Cape Cod
Bastille Day 2017 honored Americans who fought alongside French in WWI
By Nathalie Nguyen
On July 14, hundreds of American service members led the Bastille Day military parade down the Champs-Elysées in Paris, commemorating the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into WWI. The formation included some 190 troops from the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division, which was formed to serve in WW1.
Americans lead Bastille Day Parade in Paris on July 14, 2017. (DIVIDS photo)The event was attended by President Donald Trump and other American officials at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron. The United States World War I Centennial Commission Chairman Robert Dalessandro and Commissioner Monique Seefried were present at the event along with the Commission's Vice Chair Edwin Fountain.
As well as commemorating the 100th year anniversary of American troops joining their French allies in the war, this event also celebrates the longstanding partnership and friendship between the two nations.
“France stood with us during the American Revolution and that strategic partnership endures today,” said General Curtis Scaparrotti, Commander, U.S. European Command. “On behalf of the 60,000 service members standing shoulder-to- shoulder with the French to ensure Europe is whole, free and at peace, we are honored to lead the Bastille Day.”
Known simply as “juillet 14” in France, Bastille Day is a national holiday that marks the storming of the Bastille Prison, which was used to imprison dissenting subjects by kings and monarchs. The taking of Bastille on July 14, 1789 provided momentum for the French Revolution.
Since the 1880, a military parade down the Champs-Elysées is traditionally held as part of the festivities and celebration. According to EUCOM, more than 3,765 people participated in this year’s parade.
Read more: Bastille Day 2017 honored Americans who fought alongside French in WWI
Volunteer Spotlight: Mike Masters
WWI "is truly the birthplace of the modern world"
By Betsy Anderson
Coordinator of Volunteers, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission
Every few weeks, we like to showcase the efforts of our remarkable Centennial Commission volunteers. Today, we bring you the story of Mike Masters, who is managing the WW1CC's exhibition booth activity. In his short time on board, Mike has told the Centennial Commission story to thousands of people at several convention events around the Washington DC area. Mike is a Foreign Service Retiree and WW1 history enthusiast. He is helping with events in the DC area, and staffed the Commission information booths at the Belgian Embassy Europe Day event, and the Daughters of the American Revolution Service to America night.Mike Masters
Welcome to the WW1CC Team! Where are you coming from, what was your earlier career?
I spent a career living overseas, both as poor English teacher living in Japan, and later in multiple countries in the Foreign Service before retiring in 2015. My wife's grandfather fought on the German side in World War One. My children are in college and wonder why their dad has this odd interest but liked the chocolate I got when we were at the Belgian Embassy.
What an amazing background & set of skills! How did you hear about the Centennial Commission, and how did come to decide to help us?
I attended a meeting of the World War One Historical Association and heard a presentation by Commissioner Monique Brouillet Seefried who also showed the 7 minute video narrated by Gary Sinise about efforts to build a World War One Memorial. I decided that I wanted to help these efforts, and as time goes on, I more and more feel how much we owe the people who served in World War One and how in previous decades they have become the "Forgotten Generation." There are no more World War One veterans who can speak for themselves, so it is the duty of all of us to speak on their behalf.
What do you hope to achieve through your volunteer efforts with the Centennial Commission? Why is this effort, this mission, important to you?
I hope to see that the importance of World War One to who we are as a nation is not forgotten. I hope to learn more about World War One and how it changed America and the World. I hope to share my passion for the amazing people and stories of the World War One era.
Can you tell us an interesting story or fact you have learned about WW1 or its causes or consequences?
There are so many. This truly was a dividing line, not just for America but for the world. The world of 1914 seems so very distant, but the world of 1918 seems so familiar. We think that we are living in a world of vast technological change, but the people of that world were dealing with changes so much greater, at a pace which must have been very hard to understand. So much of what we think of as making the modern world, including aircraft, electricity , electronic communications, and vast developments in chemistry, physics and medicine, came about in just a few years before the war, and for the people who fought and lived through those events it must have seemed to be an H.G. Wells novel come to life, with all its grandeur and horror. A 20 year old soldier in 1914 was born into a world not so different from that of past centuries, especially if he was raised outside of large cities, but by the time the war was over it must have seemed to the people of that era that they no longer lived on the same planet. The social changes that came with this were greater than anything we have had to deal with in past decades, as hard as that is for many of us to believe. It is truly the birthplace of the modern world.
Do you have an interest in America in World War I and some time available? Sign up here to be a volunteer for the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission. Going to college and looking for a great internship opportunity in Washington, DC? Look into the Commission Intern program.