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World War I Centennial News


Army-Navy 1915: The Game Before the Storm

1915 Army NavyBy Michael Williams
Staff Writer

When Army meets Navy on the gridiron this weekend, the two teams will be participating in one of the longest and most prestigious rivalries in American sports. The teams will face off before an American public worried about events in Europe; worried about committing forces into a long and costly war; worried about subversive agents, both domestic and international. The atmosphere in which Saturday’s game will be played echoes that of another Army-Navy Game, played exactly one hundred years ago.

By 1915, events in Europe had made clear that the Great War, far from adhering to the six week schedule that most European generals had calculated in the summer of 1914, was here to stay. Americans awoke every morning to headlines describing a front line that never seemed to move, unimaginable casualties, and devastating new weapons of war such as poison gas and submarines that killed thousands and refused to discriminate between soldier and civilian. Only months earlier, one of these submarines had sunk the passenger ship Lusitania, killing over 1,000 civilians, including 128 American citizens. Atrocities such as this seemed designed to draw America into the bloody fray.

In the midst of this carnage, America maintained a status quo of neutrality. Despite this detachment, the country had experienced divisive side-effects of the war, and the two teams at the Polo Grounds in New York played before a country that was markedly different than just a year prior. Opposing groups for peace and intervention had been popping up across the nation since the war’s start, fiercely debating American neutrality. Ex-President Teddy Roosevelt’s unrelenting jingoism in the press had been a thorn in the side of the government’s official policy, while the same week as the game, industrialist Henry Ford had set sail on a much-derided “Peace Ark”, believing he could bring about an end to the war in a few weeks. As if to highlight the national discord, just as the two teams took to the field, someone let loose a flock of doves. As the New York Times reported, however, “it seemed to have but small effect on the fighting spirit of the two teams and their supporters who apparently would have been willing to stay in the trenches until Christmas or longer.” Present at the game was the most important voice of neutrality, President Woodrow Wilson, accompanied by his then-fiance Wilson and Edith GaltEdith Galt. Watching these doves fly off, President Wilson must have understood, more than anyone else present, the import of these peaceful creatures, slowly fading out of sight only to be replaced by the roar of 40,000 battle cries.

The conflict over the war raged within President Wilson with more fury than anything on the gridiron. The President knew that sooner or later, the United States would be drawn into the the conflict; Wilson had threatened to sever diplomatic relations with Germany several times over the course of the year, a prelude to war, in response to submarine attacks. Wilson also knew, though, that the paltry United States Army, with just over 100,000 active soldiers, was not ready for the scale of European combat- the trenches seemed to be eating numbers like that on a weekly basis. Only a month before the game, the President authorized a four-fold increase in the standing strength of the Army, as well as a vast expansion of the nation’s naval power that included several new battleships, cruisers, and most tellingly, submarines. It was clear to Wilson that despite the competing cries of “Beat Navy” and “Beat Army”, these two expanded branches of the military would soon have to work in close concert on both the Atlantic and European battlegrounds.

Events abroad were not the only concern of President Wilson as he watched the game, however. For several months, German saboteurs had been responsible for routinely destroying factories and ammunition stockpiles in the US, including a massive explosion at a DuPont plant the week of the game that killed 31 workers. It seemed that, even before the United States could rally the necessary troops for combat, her capability to equip them would be destroyed by enemies within. In an address to Congress a few days after the game, President Wilson called for action against “disloyal citizens,” asking Congress for laws by which the country would be “purged of the corrupt distempers produced by those foreign born citizens of the United States, who had uttered the gravest threats against our national peace and safety.” However, his rhetoric was not reserved solely for saboteurs. Wilson also took aim at Americans who had “forgotten themselves and their honor as citizens as to put their passionate sympathy with one or the side in the European conflict above their regard for the peace and dignity of the United States,” a thinly veiled attack on jingos such as Teddy Roosevelt. To Wilson, these men also practiced disloyalty, and their words were as subversive to American peace as a saboteur’s bomb.

Army coach leavesJust as he had to balance the conflicting desires of pacifists and jingoists, so too did President Wilson balance his support for the teams on the field. At half-time, the president and his party rose from their box in the Navy stands and ceremoniously crossed the field to take a seat on the Army side, a move of presidential impartiality started by his predecessor and current headache, Teddy Roosevelt. As Wilson entered the stands, he was surrounded by young men who only 18 months later would be sent, at his order, into the trenches of Europe. Indeed, the 1915 class of West Point later became famous as the “class the stars fell on”; 59 graduates went on to become generals, including a young running back on the 1912 football team named Dwight D. Eisenhower. Ultimately, the President’s presence on the Army side had a positive effect on the team, “nerv[ing] the Army up to to harder fighting... and it was soon clear that West Point was going to [win] again,” as the Times wrote. This would be the last time that President Wilson would have an effect on the game. The next year, he would be absent because of a cold. The year after and the next, the game would be cancelled, as the same men who so ebulliently cheered the Army win in the grandstands of New York courageously fought for their country in the trenches of Europe, transported across the dangerous waters of the Atlantic Ocean by their rivals across the field.

When the Army-Navy Game did return, in the fall of 1919, it represented an eager return to normalcy for a nation still reeling from war: 45,000 spectators, including an honorary contingent of wounded soldiers, braved the pouring rain to see Navy beat Army 6-0. Conspicuously absent was President Wilson; the weight of war and peace had finally taken their toll on the man. While campaigning for ratification of the Treaty of Versailles in September of 1919, President Wilson suffered a series of debilitating strokes, and he would spend the rest of his presidency an invalid in the White House, with access to him tightly controlled by his new wife, Edith. By that point, though, it was not necessary for the President to balance out the competing shouts, both in the stadium and in the country. The game had come to mean so much more than it had in 1915. As one editorial that day put it, “This annual clash of America’s two great service schools, interrupted by the last two years by America’s participation in the war, is much more than a mere football game. It is a spectacle of national significance, unique in the annals of sport. For this event, the flower of America’s military and naval forces assemble...the blaze of color that comes with any great gathering of uniforms flashes forth more emphatically today than on any other peaceful occasion.”

U.S. World War One Centennial Commission enters formal partnership with France’s Mission Du Centenaire 14-18

Dayto Zimet sign agreementBy Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

WASHINGTON, DC: On Thursday, 19 November in a ceremony at its Washington offices, the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission signed a partnership of mutual support with France’s Mission Du Centenaire 14-18. Mission Du Centenaire is the official government agency in France set up to provide public education and commemoration for the war, and is the counterpart to the U.S commission.

The agreement calls for the two organizations to share their experience, knowledge, and technical means as they prepare for the commemoration of the American intervention in World War One. Specifically, it identifies four areas for particular cooperation: 1) the identification and planning of the main events, 2) communication, digital and cultural cooperation, 3) education, and 4) remembrance tourism.

Daniel Dayton, Executive Director of the Centennial Commission, and Joseph Zimet, Directeur General for the Mission Du Centenaire, signed the document in the presence of the Chair and Vice Chair of the Commission, Robert J. Dalessandro and Edwin Fountain, respectively, as well as the Mission Du Centenaire's Diplomatic Counselor, Christian Thimonier, and their External Affairs Counselor, Sophie De Villiers. Also present to witness was Centennial Commissioner Monique Seefried. Read More

#Countdown to Veterans Day 2015 raises awareness of veterans' issues, reminds us of the 5 million Americans who served in WWI

04 018 500pxBy Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

This message is a thank you for everyone who helped with the #CountdownToVeteransDay effort.

We at the World War One Centennial Commission believe that one day a year is not enough to talk about veterans issues & veterans needs. So, we decided to do something about it.

Seven weeks ago, our office started the #CountdownToVeteransDay hashtag, to tell the veterans story.

We asked you, and other members of the veteran/military community to join us - to post/repost veteran facts, links, and thank you's. With your collective help, this simple effort grew and grew. In two weeks, we created a countdowntoveteransday.org website, to collect veteran-themed volunteer opportunities. The effort continued to grow.

As of November 13, the #CountdownToVeteransDay hashtag had registered over 36 million impressions, and the website has listed over 60 veterans organizations with volunteer opportunities. The collective help that you provided made a direct impact on the awareness of veterans issues.

This momentum can continue. The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission was created by Congress to remember a special group of veterans -- the 5 million Americans who served during World War One.

We invite you to visit to our website, http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/ , follow our social media efforts, https://www.facebook.com/ww1centennial and @WW1CC on Twitter. Get involved with the World War I centennial commemoration community. Learn about these special Americans. Help us to tell their stories.

Your simple reposts and retweets can help preserve the legacy of those veterans of World War One -- just as your efforts helped our veterans today.

Memorial Park in Houston honors those who trained at Camp Logan
and served their nation in World War One

Camp Logan sceneBy Michael Williams
Staff Writer

One hundred years after the outbreak of World War One, it is often hard to see the remnants of the conflict that so affected communities across the nation. Unlike other wars of the twentieth century, there are no veterans of World War One left to tell their story; film and photography, still in their infancy at the time, provide only an incomplete and dated record. Instead, World War One is remembered silently, through monuments and parks that dot the country.

In the heart of Houston lies Memorial Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country. Thousands of Texans take advantage of the park’s running trails, softball fields, swimming pools, tennis courts, and golf course everyday, often without realizing the history below their feet.

Read more: Camp Logan in Houston

Scholar details social complexities of occupied Belgium

Sophie De Schaepdrijver speaking at Georgetown UniversityBy Jean Gossman
Staff Writer

Although contemporary observers tend to view World War I Europe as either the battle front or the home front, “vast swaths” of Europe were occupied during World War I, as Professor Sophie De Schaepdrijver pointed out during a recent Georgetown University forum on her Great War occupation scholarship. Germany’s occupation of Belgium “generated specific war efforts” from both the occupiers and the occupied. “These efforts tried to establish some kind of stability,” De Schaepdrijver said. She noted that after the war American efforts helped stabilize Belgium.

Civilians’ role in occupied Belgium, “as underground patriotic culture defined it, was precisely to push back the remit of armed violence and to claim the unassailability of civilian life,” De Schaepdrijver wrote in “No Country for Young Men: Patriotism and its Paradoxes in German-Occupied Belgium during the First World War.” Ultimately, “the credo that justice would prevail in the long run was a cornerstone of patriotic belief.”

While protesting German authority, De Schaepdrijver wrote that Belgium “did not define itself as rebellious; rather, it strove for the return to a (presumably) natural order of things, and its moral reasoning hinged on the notion of immanent justice – the belief that iniquities would be punished and that usurped authority was by definition temporary.”

German troops march through Brussels in 1915Belgium’s view that the “scandal” of the invasion should not and would not last drove the “vision of order” that fueled citizens’ efforts “to deny legitimacy of the occupying regime,” De Schaepdrijver said during the forum.

“They were strictly civilian efforts and used civilian tools” such as “discourse, symbolic acts such as celebrating the forbidden national [Belgian] holiday or wearing the national colors,” sabotage, and intelligence work, along with “a sizeable clandestine press.”

But this “culture of patriotic endurance” proved “inhospitable” for educated young civilian men not at the front, De Schaepdrijver said.

Belgians fleeing to HollandIn general, few Belgian men served at the front during World War I due to lack of early mobilization by the “not particularly martial country” and the swiftness of Germany’s invasion, according to De Schaepdrijver.

Yet educated young civilian men “marooned” in occupied Belgium were “publicly shamed” and looked down upon for not taking up arms against Germany. University students “were a minority everywhere including in Belgium. You’re looking at one out of 1,000 young men, ages 18-25, in college. A handful of young men, really.”

Post-invasion enlistment – an “extraordinarily dangerous thing to do” -- entailed a risky escape to an unoccupied area in Belgium or to an Allied nation, De Schaepdrijver pointed out. Some young men ended up feeling forced to accept German offers to serve as confidence men.

After the war, cut off from societal respect and social relief made available to those who had worked and served Belgium’s cause, many of these young men enlisted support from American pacifist and social reformer Jane Addams, said De Schaepdrijver. Addams, founder of Chicago’s Hull House, worked with the Commission for Relief in Belgium, headed by future U.S. president Herbert Hoover.

“The more the war is retrospectively defined as having been about nothing, the more [the young men’s] stance becomes avant-garde and rebellious. The fact that they suffered some kind of troubled fate [with] the Belgian state is only going to strengthen that identity” within a decade after the war.

De Schaepdrijver is an associate professor of modern European history at the Pennsylvania State University. The forum was sponsored by the Georgetown University Institute for Global History and the University’s Mortara Center.

Interview with Professor Sophie De Schaepdrijver

"...the Americans cared about us, and that was very important."

Sophie De Schaepdrijver 500By Jean Gossman
Staff Writer

In your paper, you noted that the culture of Belgium’s World War I occupation by Germany does not loom large in national memory. Other than the passing of those who experienced the occupation within living memory, why is this the case?

“For a long time, the whole experience of occupation was not seen as central” to Belgian’s World War I experience, according to De Schaepdrijver. Instead, the German occupation “was a marginalized memory.” But, “with the centenary, things have changed a lot.”

Do you think that World War II subsumed memory of the Great War?

“Yes, [World War II] was a war that was supposedly about something,” and Belgians’ experience of occupation “was something that [they] would link to World War II.”

How would you characterize the Belgian experience and memory of American World War I aid to Belgium through the mid-century postwar period and beyond?

“It was not something that loomed particularly large. [Growing up during the 1960s] I don’t think anybody knew why we have [a boulevard named for U.S. ambassador to Belgium] Brand Whitlock in Brussels, for instance.

Has awareness changed in recent years?

During the present centennial commemorative period, “there is a general revival of [interest in] World War I across Europe.” Moreover, after Belgium suspended the draft in the 1990s, the country looked back to “a time of deep military mobilization and realized an era has come to an end.

What lessons can be taken from your scholarship on the occupation?

“War always has unintended consequences. The state matters. What I mean by that, what I’ve explored in my paper, is a firm belief in the endurance of the Belgian state. This belief was expressed in the absence of the Belgian state [during the occupation] because there was no government. Yet civil society carried on in the firm belief that [the government] would be reconstituted, as indeed it was.

Leuven library“I think the framework matters in which people [express] solidarity, feel themselves to be citizens. There was a belief that the framework [worked] for us. Which is not the same as flag-waving patriotism, necessarily. It’s a belief that as a citizen there is a framework that works for you. That is something that I saw very clearly in Belgians’ experience in this war. The vast majority of citizens were not ready to accept that that framework [of the state] would be taken away.

flour sack A 62 4 202“My general point is that you can have a lot of heroism and good will, but you need a firm framework for it, and the majority of Belgian citizens felt that the framework did exist” during the occupation – “the concrete presence of the Belgian state, with the constitution and [national] institutions.” De Schaepdrijver noted that after the war and restoration of the state, Belgium established universal manhood suffrage and set taxes on war profiteering.

What was the Belgian view of America and its involvement in World War I during and immediately after that conflict?

“What you see in occupied Belgium is the sense ... that the Americans cared about us, and that was very important.” Belgians began to celebrate Valentine’s Day, “which was unknown” earlier and considered an American holiday.

“Many Belgians” expressed their gratitude for American food aid by “beautifully” embroidering the flour bags, which were returned to the American Commission for Relief in Belgium. The commission then sold the bags for fundraising. Today, “you see them here [in U.S. historical] collections. For example, the Hoover Library has several beautiful specimens.”

After the war, “America was cool – the coolest country.” Belgians “were proud that this great country had taken an interest in them and come to their aid.”

Jean Gossman is a volunteer at the United States World War One Centennial Commission.

“The Family in the Arena”

TR Family 1000By Michael Williams
Staff Writer

“Only those are fit to live who do not fear to die and none are fit to die who have shrunk from the joy of life and the duty of life.”

This was just some of the advice that Teddy Roosevelt gave to his children, five of whom served bravely in World War One. On October 27, 2015, President Roosevelt’s 157th birthday, we honor the service of a family that gave so much to the nation.

No stranger to battle, Teddy Roosevelt repeatedly pleaded for American entrance into World War One, despite the government's official stance of neutrality. Roosevelt, already a decorated veteran of the Spanish-American War, was willing to put his money where his mouth was: he wanted to personally raise two divisions of soldiers, and command them in battle, with his four sons as privates. While President Wilson denied this request of the elder Roosevelt, all four sons saw combat in Europe during the Great War, and his daughter Ethel served as a nurse in France.

Quentin Roosevelt 1918

Read more: “The Family in the Arena” 2015

World War I accelerated China's internationalization

By Yanran Xu
Research and Teaching Assistant, International Relations and Latin American Studies
Department of International Studies, University of Miami

World War I has always been primarily associated with Europe. That’s where the conflict began, where the major battles took place, and where the war had its most visible effect–the map of the continent was redrawn in its aftermath. But with more and more historical archives being revealed, more attention is being paid to how non-European countries figured into “the war to end all wars.” China, as one of the biggest countries in the world, became entangled in the war in many different ways. China's attempts to join the war marked its "internationalization," and it was engaged by the international system, ideas, forces and trends. This article attempts to bring details of China’s involvement in WWI to American readers.

I. China enters WWI

At the beginning of the 20th century, China was divided into spheres of influence, with each powerful Western nation trying to exert as much control over it as possible. Sun Yat Sen textThe Qing Dynasty began to fail in the early years of the century. The Chinese people, being resentful of foreigners and dissatisfied with inability of the present government to throw them out, initiated the Revolution of 1911 and replacing China's 2000 year-old imperial system with the Republic of China, headed by Sun Yat-Sen. Though the new government created the Republic of China, it failed to unify the country under its control. The Qing withdrawal led to a power vacuum in certain regions, resulting in the rise of warlords. These warlords often controlled their territories without acknowledging the nationalist government.
In the meantime, European powers’ preoccupation with the war at home also gave Japan an opportunity to obtain a position of supremacy in China. In 1915 Japan presented China with the ‘Twenty-one’ Demands, the terms of which would have reduced China to a virtual Japanese protectorate. Finally, In 1917 China entered World War I on the side of the Allies (which included Britain, France, and the United States) in order to gain a seat at the peace table, hoping for a new chance to halt Japanese ambitions. China expected that the United States, with its Open Door Policy and commitment to the self-determination of all peoples, would offer its support. However, as part of the negotiation process at the peace conference in Versailles, U.S. president Woodrow Wilson withdrew U.S. support for China on the Shandong issue with Germany and the Shandong territory was turned to the hands of Japanese. The indignant Chinese delegation refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles.

Read more: World War I accelerated China's internationalization

Model Soldier Society honors WW1 history through miniature art

By Michael Williams
Staff Writer

World War One commemoration comes in all shapes and sizes. While the United States World War One Centennial Commission is busy trying to develop two acres of downtown Washington into a fitting national memorial, some in the commemoration community are working with less than 2 square inches.

Over the Top 1916 500Every month, members of the National Capital Model Soldier Society, whose motto is “To Honor History Through Art,” meet to swap ideas and tips on creating model soldiers, and, of course, to show off their latest creations to their friends. Many of these models stand at less than 2¼ inches tall, and are painstakingly painted to appear as detailed as a full sized man standing only 15 feet from the observer. A scene (or vignette in modeling parlance) of several figures can take as many as 60 hours to complete.

“It’s very relaxing, I put on some classical music or a book on tape, and time just goes away,” says Joe Bles, the Vice President of NCMSS.

While NCMSS is open to models of all stripes, from Lord of the Rings to Lord Kitchener, the main focus is on historical modeling. “I just get fascinated by the history of it, which is not well known today,” says Mr. Bles, “modeling is a way to bring that history back alive; once the artifact is actually gone, the only thing left is the model.” To that end, the NCMSS has gone into schools around the capital area to display their work, and hope to ignite a passion for both history and modeling among younger generations. Pilot detailAt one school, Mr. Bles says, they received some pushback for the grim nature of their displays, but the aim was not to show the brutality, but rather “the humanity of it- these guys were living in the mud and the trenches, getting shot at and bombed everyday, but they kept their humanity. Kids need to know that.”

Bullets, bombs, and poison gas are not the only challenge facing the miniature soldiers of the American Expeditionary Force. Just like the Allies at the beginning of America’s involvement, there is currently a desperate lack of American WWI soldier models available relative to British and French miniatures. The cause of this is most likely because European countries have been observing the centennial of fighting for over a year now, while the USA still has 18 months to go before public interest piques. “Not too many American figures from World War One yet,” says Mr. Bles, “but 2017, 2018, it’s all going to open up.”

Read more: Model Soldier Society honors WW1 history through art

Countdown to Veterans Day 2015: An Initiative to expand awareness and support of Veterans Day

An ad-hoc group of public and private organizations have gotten together to raise awareness for Veterans Day 2015. The Veterans Day national holiday takes place on November 11th.

By using the simple hashtag #CountdownToVeteransDay, and by linking their social media efforts, the organizations hope to inform people about veterans issues, veterans needs, veterans contributions, and veterans support programs. There are a number of participating organizations, including the Veterans Administration, Arlington National Cemetery, the American Battle Monuments Commission, and the World War One Centennial Commission.Veterans Day 026

The "Countdown To Veterans Day" symbolically started on Tuesday, 22 September, 50 days from Veterans Day. The Countdown will culminate in the National Veterans Day event at Arlington National Cemetery.

"We feel that one day is not enough to talk about veterans" said Dan Dayton, executive director of the WWI Centennial Commission. "With the countdown, we want to make people aware. When people are aware of Veterans Day, they can discuss what people do to serve our country, they can see who helps veterans in need, and if they are inclined, they can help these veterans out".

As a holiday, Veterans Day invites people to participate -- to volunteer for veterans-themed projects, to donate to organizations that support military veterans, to share pictures and stories of military service on social media.  For a list of volunteer service opportunities, visit the Countdown to Veterans Day page.

Veterans Day grew out of the original Armistice Day national holiday that commemorated the end of combat in World War I on November 11, 1918.

All living former Presidents join Centennial Commission as Honorary Chairs

jimmy carter george hw bushbill clintongeorge w bush


The United States World War One Centennial Commission has announced that all four living former Presidents of the United States will serve as Honorary Chairs of the Commission.

Former Presidents James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, George Herbert Walker Bush, William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton, and George Walker Bush each will lend their name to the centennial commemoration, which will run through July 2019, honoring the participation of the United States and its citizens in the war effort.

While there are no living veterans of World War One, President George H.W. Bush offered the use of his name in honor of his father Prescott Bush who served as a field artillery captain with the American Expeditionary Forces (1917–1919) during World War One, where he came under fire in the Meuse-Argonne offensive.

Remembrance ceremony marks centennial of Pershing Family tragedy at the Presidio

Wreath at Pershing Family EventBy Erin Bradley Macri
Special Report

The U.S World War One Centennial Commission joined the World War One Historical Association to sponsor a wreath-laying event on Thursday, August 27 at the former Army post on the Presidio in San Francisco to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the deaths in a fire there of World War I hero General John Pershing’s family.

Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing’s wife, Helen Frances Warren, and their four children remained at the family’s two-story Victorian house on the Presidio while Pershing made arrangements for them to join him at Fort Bliss, Texas. Plans were almost complete when, after entertaining guests from the World’s Fair late one summer night, hot coals spilled from the family hearth onto the lacquered floor. The house was soon engulfed in flames and Pershing’s wife and three young daughters died of smoke inhalation. The only survivor was their five-year-old son, Warren, who was saved by Pershing’s longtime orderly.

Read more: Remembrance ceremony marks centennial of Pershing Family tragedy at the Presidio

National World War One Memorial Design Competition

Stage II design concept selections announced

0013 Plaza to the Forgotten War0037 World War One Memorial Concept0077 The Weight of Sacrifice0263 An American Family Portrait0329 Heroes Green



WASHINGTON, DC (August 19, 2015) -- Five design concepts for the National World War One Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC  have been selected to proceed to Stage II of the design competition. Robert Dalessandro, Chair of the World War One Centennial Commission, announced the selections today.

"This week I am pleased to announce the five design concepts selected by our jury to go forward to the next stage of development for the new World War One Memorial in Pershing Park," Dalessandro said.  Those selected include: "Plaza to the Forgotten War" submitted by Brian Johnsen, AIA; Sebastian Schmaling, AIA, LEEP AP; and Andrew Cesarz, at Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee, WI; "World War One Memorial Concept" submitted by Devin Kimmel, Principal at Kimmel Studio, llc in Annapolis, MD"; "The Weight of Sacrifice" submitted by Joseph Weishaar of Chicago, IL; "An American Family Portrait Wall in the Park" submitted by STL Architects in Chicago, IL; and "Heroes' Green" submitted by Maria Counts, of Counts Studio in Brooklyn, NY.

Robert Dalessandro"Thank you to the each of the participants in Stage I of the design competition," said Dalessandro. "The participants provided us all 350+ works of art. Each design concept is an important tribute to the veterans of WW1. We want these artworks to be lasting tributes, as well, so all Stage I submissions will remain available for viewing on our website. They will also become a part of the permanent record of the Centennial Commission.

"Stage I of the design competition was the first step in a long development process," Dalessandro noted. "That process includes many different reviews, designed to bring forward the best possible plan for all parties. These include reviews for environmental, cultural, historical, engineering, budgetary, and livability concerns.

"We have partnered closely with stakeholder organizations to listen to as many voices as possible, and to bring forward the best possible plan. We will continue to do so. Those stakeholder partners include, but are not limited to, the National Park Service, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, and the National Capital Planning Commission," said Dalessandro.

"In Stage II, the Participants will evolve their design concepts for the memorial and present their designs, while fulfilling the requirements set out by our Commission, and by our stakeholder partners. Each design team will be provided with a stipend from the WW1 Centennial Commission, to help with the concept development, and the construction design process.

"We plan to make these developed design concepts public, and to invite the public to make comments on them, as well," said Dalessandro. "We hope to present the final design concept selection of this competition to the full Commission early next year."

The Stage I Report announcing the selections was issued by the Competition Managers in accordance with the Competition Manual. The Report is the official record of Stage I of the Competition describing the competition process to date, the Jury evaluation and analysis, and the Jury recommendation as to those selected to participate in Stage II. The Report also briefly describes how Stage II will be conducted.

Pershing Park overhead with caption2The selected memorial site is Pershing Park, located on Pennsylvania Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets NW.

The public is invited to view all of the Stage One submissions that conformed with the Competition Manual.  Go to the Memorial Design Competition page for more information on how to view the submissions.

The competition is a two-stage design competition. Stage I was an open, international competition -- open to any professionals, university-level students, or any other interested participants. In the first stage, participants submitted narrative and graphic descriptions of a design concept responding to the competition’s design goals. Five submissions from Stage I were selected by the competition jury as finalists, and those entries will be further refined and developed in Stage II.

The jury for both stages of the competition is composed of individuals representing the worlds of government, the military, the arts, and the citizens of Washington DC. The Commission selected the jurors and will have final decision on the selected design, based on the recommendation of the jury. For information on the Memorial and the competition, including the Competition Manual, and questions and answers from participants, visit the Memorial Design Competition page.

The Memorial will be built using funds raised from the American public. "Please remember that even if we get the perfect design we can’t build the memorial without support," said Chris Isleib, public affairs officer for the Commission. "We invite you to help us in our goal, to create the new WW1 Memorial using only private donations. The veterans of WW1 earned their own memorial, and we can build it for them." For information on fundraising for the Memorial, or to make a donation, visit the Memorial Fundraising page.

Rags: Dog Hero of World War I

By Kate Kelly
America Comes Alive

Rags and Hickman

Rags, who became a World War I dog hero, was originally just a stray pup picked up by a couple of American soldiers in July of 1918. James Donovan and George Hickman, part of the 1st Infantry Division, had been celebrating Bastille Day in a bar in the famous Montmartre section of Paris, when they stumbled on what they thought was a bundle of rags.

The accidental bump of one of their boots aroused the bundle and it barked, revealing that the men had come upon a dog, not rags.

The men must have stooped to quiet him, and the dog—now fully awake—had the good sense to follow them back to base. Rags cheerfully became the companion of Jimmy Donovan though everyone in the unit enjoyed him and slipped him scraps of whatever they were eating.

Read more: Rags: Dog Hero of World War I

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