A Veteran's race against time to return WWI Purple Hearts
In this May 27, 2016 photo, Zachariah Fike, founder of the organization Purple Hearts Reunited, holds in St. Albans, Vt., a certificate issued to a World War I service member wounded in battle. Fike's Vermont-based non-profit group Purple Hearts Reunited is working to return 100 medals and certificates by next April, the 100th anniversary of the United States' entry into World War I. Over the years the organization has returned hundreds of lost Purple Hearts and other medals to the people who won them or their descendants. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)By Wilson Ring
ST. ALBANS, Vt. (AP) -- A group that seeks to reunite lost Purple Hearts with service members or their descendants is embarking on an ambitious project: to return 100 such medals or certificates earned in World War I before the 100th anniversary next April of the United States' entry into the conflict.
Zachariah Fike, of the Vermont-based Purple Hearts Reunited, began the project after noticing he had in his collection of memorabilia a total of exactly 100 Purple Hearts or equivalent lithographs awarded for injuries or deaths from the Great War.
"You're honoring fallen heroes," said Fike, a Vermont National Guard captain wounded in Afghanistan in 2010. "These are our forefathers; these are the guys that have shed their blood or sacrificed their lives for us. Any opportunity to bring light to that is always a good thing."
The lithographs, known as a Lady Columbia Wound Certificate and showing a toga-wearing woman knighting an infantry soldier on bended knee, were what World War I military members wounded or killed while serving were awarded before the Purple Heart came into being in 1932. World War I service members who already had a lithograph became eligible for a Purple Heart at that time.
The Purple Hearts and the certificates include the name of the service member to whom they were awarded. Fike is working with researchers to try to find the descendants of the service members.
Read more: A Veteran's race against time to return WWI Purple Hearts
Fort Hayes' white poppies honor Franklin County's WWI dead, but relatives not yet found
Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center students who created an art installation of 1,300 red ceramic poppies.By Mark Ferenchik
The Columbus Dispatch
Finding white poppies on the campus of the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center isn’t difficult.
Finding the families of the World War I troops whom the 260-plus poppies represent, however, has proved to be quite a challenge.
Students and teachers at Fort Hayes have had no luck finding relatives of the troops, all of whom were from Franklin County and died during the "Great War" a century ago.
The students and teachers want to present the poppies they made to honor the sacrifices of those who died during what was supposed to be the war to end all wars — a bloody, brutal struggle of trench warfare, disease and misery that engulfed Europe and killed nearly 8.5 million troops on both sides, including 116,000 Americans.
Despite attempts at searching records and other avenues, “we have not been able to locate the families,” said Megan Evans, a visual-arts teacher at Fort Hayes.
Army soldiers trained at Fort Hayes during World War I; the site was home to soldiers from the Civil War through the Vietnam War.
The genesis of the poppy project came two years ago, during the 150th anniversary of Fort Hayes and the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I.
Read more: Fort Hayes' white poppies honor Franklin County's WWI dead, but relatives not yet found
World War I centennial inspires a national memorial
By Patti L. Cowger
from the Napa Valley Register
Next April will mark the 100th anniversary of the United States entering World War I. It is known as the Great War for both the enormous scale of its conflict and for the moral belief that it would be the war to end all wars.
But this war does not seem as documented in our memories as the wars that followed. Unlike the Vietnam era, we did not see nightly television reports around our dinner tables. The aftermath of World War 1 hardly had time to root itself in the country’s consciousness when, soon after, the Great Depression and World War II superseded it.
Although communities have erected memorials to recognize these wars, national memorials have taken a while to follow. The Vietnam Memorial was the first to be built in our capital followed by the Korean War and World War II memorials. While there is a local monument in Washington, D.C., to commemorate World War I, there is no national one. But that is about to change.
Read the whole article in the Nappy Valley Register
Green legacy of WWI carnage: the riches of Verdun forest
Verdun (France) (AFP) - Sisyrinchium montanum, best known simply as American blue-eyed grass, is part of a rich legacy left by the carnage of World War I in France's Forest of Verdun (AFP Photo/Jean-Christophe Verhaegen)The little blue flowers that have grown for a century now in France near the graves of the war dead at Douaumont can easily be mistaken for local forget-me-nots.
In fact they are a foreign import, an American flower brought as seeds on the hooves of the US army horses used at Verdun during World War I.
"They call it the blue-eyed grass from Montana," says Patrice Hirbec of the National Forests Office (ONF).
Sisyrinchium montanum, best known simply as American blue-eyed grass, is part of a rich legacy left by the carnage of World War I in France's Forest of Verdun: a unique mix of flora and fauna.
The Battle of Verdun was one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the war.
Launched in February 1916, it lasted 300 days, killing in this region alone more than 300,000 soldiers and making Verdun synonymous with the wanton slaughter that characterised that war.
Jean-Paul Amat, geography professor at the Sorbonne University in Paris, says the fighting caused so much upheaval that the soil went through the equivalent of 10,000 years of natural erosion.
Read more: Green legacy of WWI carnage: the riches of Verdun Forest
Exhibition remembers Jewish soldiers fighting for Austria in WWI
“Forgive Us, Forgive Us, Oh You, the Dead” an exhibition remembering Jewish Soldiers fallen on the Isonzo Front during the World War 1, will be open to the public through June 17 at the Embassy of Slovenia 1in Washington, DC.
The exhibition is dedicated to Jewish soldiers in the Austro-Hungarian army who fell on the Isonzo Front (Soska fronta) of WW1 in the territory of present-day Slovenia. The exhibition is based on historical research of the documents, photos and existing literature and also interviews with people who knew about Jews who fought on the side of the Austrian army in WW1.
The Slovenian Chief of the General Staff, Major-General Alojz Steiner, said the exhibition "helps understand the present and contributes to developing respect for differences". According to the exhibition, estimates put the number of Jewish soldiers who lost their lives during WWI at around 40,000. A total of around 300,000 Jewish soldiers participated in the war.
It is not clear how many fell on the Isonzo (Soca) Front, a major battle line during WWI along which hundreds of thousands of soldiers from both sides, the Austro-Hungarian and Italian, were killed.
Read more: Exhibition remembers Jewish soldiers fighting for Austria in WWI
U.S. World War 1 Centennial Commission participates in Navy League's Sea/Air/Space Exposition
By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War 1 Centennial Commission
WASHINGTON, DC -- DC's National Harbor Convention Center played host in May to a huge gathering of naval, military, veteran, contractor, and support people, at the annual Sea/Air/Space Exposition.
Jim Boyle (left) and "General Pershing" manning the World War 1 Centennial Commission booth at SAS 2016.The Navy-centric conference is hosted by the Navy League of the United States, and includes speeches, breakout sessions, and of course, the huge exhibit floor -- where every new naval warfare tech gadget is on display, side-by-side with examples of new military food products, 21st century uniform upgrades, and 3-D simulator demonstrations.
Nestled in with them all this year was the U.S World War I Centennial Commission exhibit booth, which told exposition attendees the story of what our Congressional Commission is doing in terms of education programs, public outreach partnerships, and the new World War I Memorial in Washington DC.
Manned by Centennial Commission volunteers and staff members, the booth was a hub for military history buffs, supporters, and people who were curious about America's involvement in the war, one hundred years ago. Visitors to the booth saw World War I artifacts on display, and picked up brochures and other literature.
This is the first year that the Centennial Commission participated in Sea/Air/Space, however the booth crew has long experience working similar national events, such as the annual conferences hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army, the Air Force Association, the American Legion, and Rolling Thunder.
Read more: Commission participates in Sea/Air/Space Exposition
Four additions announced to Board of Special Advisors for WWI Commission
Leon PanettaVint CerfRay KellyHelen Patton
WASHINGTON, DC -- In a media event at the National Press Club this week, four new members of the U.S. World War 1 Centennial Commission's Board of Special Advisors were announced. They include:
- Secretary Leon Panetta, who previously served as Secretary of Defense, White House Chief of Staff, Director the the CIA, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, and U.S. Representative from the State of California.
- Dr. Vint Cerf, technology pioneer, and one of the four recognized inventors of the Internet.
- Commissioner Ray Kelly, longest-serving Police Commissioner for the New York City Police Department.
- Helen Patton, the granddaughter of U.S. Army General George S. Patton.
The Board of Special Advisors consists of distinguished leaders who are dedicated to helping the Commission perform its missions. Special Advisors provide expert advice to the Commission, and serve without compensation.
Carol Mosley BraunOther national-level leaders who currently serve on the Board of Special Advisors include former U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Gordon Sullivan, General Barry McCaffrey, actor/producer Gary Sinise, and a host of senior members of the business community, the entertainment industry, and the arts.
Also speaking at the event was Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, a member of the Commission's Diplomatic Advisory Board. The Diplomatic Advisory Board provides expert advice to the Commission to enhance outreach as the Commission brings together new sponsors and partners for commemorative activities. The Board Members provide counsel, strategy and contacts in the countries where they served. The Board Members serve without compensation. Twelve other former U.S. Ambassadors serve on the Board along with Braun.
Read more: Additions to Commission Board of Special Advisors announced in DC
Is World War 1 Too Hot to Touch for Gaming?
By William Hicks
HEATSTREET.com, May 12, 2016
The new trailer for Battlefield 1 (the counterintuitive sequel to Battlefield 4) was released this week to overwhelmingly positive reviews. It was so well liked, in fact, that it garnered the distinction of being the most popular trailer in YouTube history.
But while players were stoked for a game set in World War 1, a setting rarely touched by the genre, culture critics in the media and on Twitter found it in poor taste. After decades of ultra-violent video games depicting all sorts of travesties, apparently WW1 is the line in the sand for some critics.
Guardian writer Alex Hern asks if it’s wrong to set a war game in the trenches of WW1, before answering it with an implied yes. “Asking whether the first world war is an appropriate topic for a first-person shooter may reveal a more pressing question: why do we think any war is?” Hern says.
“A game set in the Great War will necessarily whitewash the horrors of trench warfare. Even when games do tenderly address these subjects, they rarely do so through the medium of 64v64 class-based combat.”
Hern seems to let on that he does not actually like war games, a genre people usually play not to learn the nuances of war but for entertainment. Yes, it will be impossible to realistically portray trench warfare in a multiplayer game. There’s not the player density to pin each side down in their trench, with certain death for those stuck in no man’s land. The players will not be able to organize coordinated charges without a leadership structure. Twenty-minute match times aren’t enough to develop trench foot.
But that doesn’t mean some version of the war should not be translated into a game.
Read more: Is World War 1 too hot to touch for gaming?
‘American Art in the Shadow of World War I’ showcases artists’ perceptions of war
By Mario Marroquin
For the Centre Daily Times James Montgomery Flagg's iconic 1917 poster.
PENN STATE, PA -- The Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State will showcase 18 different artworks as part of the “American Art in the Shadow of World War I” exhibit from Tuesday, May 17 to Aug. 7.
The exhibit is designed to showcase how American artists stationed around the world during World War I — particularly in Europe — perceived its development from the first open conflict of the war in 1914 until its end in 1918.
The exhibit, which was organized by curator of American art for the Palmer Museum, Adam Thomas, also includes the work of American artists involved in foreign government-commissioned pieces.
The exhibition also showcases the work of American artists prior to, during and after World War I, as well as how these artists adapted their styles in response to the war.
“I hope visitors get a sense of some of the various ways in which artists engaged with, and were affected by, the war,” Thomas said.
“American Art in the Shadow of World War I” also showcases a change in attitude among Americans from the beginning of the war to 1917 when the U.S. became involved through martial action.
Read more: American Art in the Shadow of World War I -- Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State
Batter Up: World War I Amputees Play Ball
One-armed baseball game at Walter Reed Hospital during World War 1Long before Pete Gray or Jim Abbott stepped up to the plate, veterans of World War I recovering at military hospitals throughout the United States formed amputee baseball teams.
Elbert K. Fretwell, Director of Recreation in Hospitals in the Department of Military Relief with the American Red Cross, insisted that the best recreation for recovering soldiers was their traditional activities modified for everyone to be able to enjoy, and the soldiers seemed to agree. One player at Fort Des Moines exclaimed, “Gee, I’m glad I can still swat the old pill!”
The Department of Military Relief organized field days, where veterans from different hospitals competed. Fretwell wrote, “At Fort McHenry and Walter Reed, the one-armed baseball teams defeated their opponents — two-armed teams that played with one arm tied behind their backs. At Fort Des Moines Field Day, June 17, there was a hot game between the one-armed and the one-legged team.”
Read more: Batter Up: World War I Amputees Play Ball
CA Police recover stolen World War I-era cannon
RICHMOND, CA (FOX News) -- California police on May 12 recovered a 1-ton, World War I-era cannon swiped from a Veteran's Hall earlier this month.
Richmond police said the cannon was stolen May 1 when nearby vendors were setting up the city's Cinco de Mayo festival. Surveillance video captured two men using bolt cutter to cut a chain securing the cannon and towing it away it on the back of a pickup.
A man who purchased the cannon called police Thursday after seeing a report of its theft. Lt. Felix Tan says it appears the buyer didn't know the cannon had been stolen.
Read more: CA Police recover stolen World War I-era cannon
The Riveters: Ep. 14 - Seriously Historic: Dr. Libby O'Connell
For the May 4th episode of "The Riveters" hosts, Sally Smith and Buffy Wicks were joined by US World War One Centennial Commissioner Dr. Libby O'Connell, talking about how pivotal WWI was for women and in our country.
Play the podcast:
The Riveters is a weekly podcast that describes itself as an unfiltered ode to the modern woman. "On one hand, we're kicking ass, changing the world, and running things like a boss. On the other hand, we're struggling with some seriously vexing challenges. We think it's time to get real - together - about the good, bad and hilarious that is #ladylife in 2016."
Link to "The Riveters" on iTunes
How the machine gun revolutionized World War 1 combat
By Jeremy Bender
from Business Insider
WWI was one of the first truly modern conflicts. Fought mainly along trenches, the war saw the introduction of chemical weapons, tanks, and aerial combat.
Thought of as the war to end war, over 9 million soldiers were killed in the conflict and 21 million were injured. These casualties were largely helped along by the war being the first to feature widespread use of machine guns.
The following graphic shows the destructive impact and history of the machine gun on the war.
Read more: How the machine gun revolutionized World War 1 combat