Mule Rearing The pilots Riveters pilots in dress uniforms African American Soldiers 1 gas masks doughboys with mules African American Officers

World War I Centennial News


Teaching Teachers about WWI

Locations, dates announced for new Gilder Lehrman Education Program

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

tri logoLast month, we announced our participation in “Teaching Literacy Through History”, a great new professional education program presented by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the nation’s leading American history organization dedicated to K-12 education.

The American Legion and the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission have partnered with Gilder Lehman for a special “Teaching Literacy Through History” program focused on World War I.

The World War I program has been slated to take place in six cities across the country by the end of the current academic year.

This week, those six locations/date are officially announced. They are:

1. Louisville, KY: Saturday, October 21
Site: The McConnell Center, University of Louisville
Scholar: Michael S. Neiberg, U.S. Army War College
Master Teacher: Nathan McAlister
30 registered / 40 seats for the program (sending out a final reminder email to our contacts next week)
Click here for registration information for the Louisville session.

2. Anchorage, AK: Saturday, November 4
Site: Anchorage School District Education Center
Scholar: Kimberly Jensen, Western Oregon University
Master Teacher: Lois MacMillan
Invitation to teachers to go out next week

3. Albuquerque, NM: Monday, December 4
Site: Albuquerque Public Schools City Center
Scholar: Jennifer Keene, Chapman University
Master Teacher: Angelia Moore
40 registered / 40 seats (plus 26 on waitlist -- all APS teachers)

4. San Diego, CA: January/February 2018 (date TBD)
Site, Scholar, Master Teacher TBD

5. Detroit, MI: Saturday, March 17, 2018
Site: Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency, Wayne, MI
Scholar: Christopher Capozzola, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Master Teacher TBD

6. Providence, RI: Spring 2018 (date TBD)
Site: likely the Rhode Island Historical Society
Scholar, Master Teacher TBD

The intent of the program is to help educators better teach the Great War to their students, especially by using primary sources – direct or firsthand pieces or accounts, such as letters, diaries, printed books, newspapers, photographs and more – to bring the era to life, rather than relying strictly on secondary sources like textbooks or other articles written after the fact.

Literacy skills and tools for using these primary sources will be provided; the educators will leave with lesson plans and other resources, and the hope is that this new focus will benefit student understanding and performance.

Read more: Locations, dates announced for new WW1CC/Gilder Lehrman Education Program

United States Mint announces designs for WWI Centennial Silver Medals

ww1 medal release 290x290WASHINGTON – The World War I Centennial Silver Medals are being issued in conjunction with the congressionally authorized World War I Centennial Silver Dollar. This five-medal program features obverse (heads) and reverse (tails) designs that pay homage to each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces active during World War I.

The United States Mint has revealed the obverse (heads) and reverse (tails) designs for five silver medals that will be issued in conjunction with the 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar. Each medal, composed of 90 percent silver, pays homage to branches of the U.S. Armed Forces that were active in World War I. Design descriptions and the respective minting facilities are below.

World War I Centennial Army Medal - West Point Mint

The Army medal design depicts a soldier cutting through German barbed wire, while a second soldier aims a rifle amid a shattered landscape of broken trees and cratered earth. A shell explodes in the distance. The medal’s reverse design features the United States Army emblem, which was also in use during World War I, with the inscriptions “OVER THERE!,” “CENTENNIAL OF WORLD WAR I,” “2018,” and “UNITED STATES ARMY.”

The obverse was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Designer Emily Damstra and sculpted by now retired United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart, who also designed and sculpted the reverse.

Read more: United States Mint announces designs for World War I Centennial Silver Medals

Marie Curie and her X-ray vehicles’ contribution to World War I battlefield medicine

By Timothy J. Jorgensen
via web site

Ask people to name the most famous historical woman of science and their answer will likely be: Madame Marie Curie. Push further and ask what she did, and they might say it was something related to radioactivity. (She actually discovered the radioisotopes radium and polonium.) Some might also know that she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. (She actually won two.)

Marie CurieMarie Curie in one of her mobile X-ray units in October 1917.But few will know she was also a major hero of World War I. In fact, a visitor to her Paris laboratory in October of 1917 – 100 years ago this month – would not have found either her or her radium on the premises. Her radium was in hiding and she was at war.

For Curie, the war started in early 1914, as German troops headed toward her hometown of Paris. She knew her scientific research needed to be put on hold. So she gathered her entire stock of radium, put it in a lead-lined container, transported it by train to Bordeaux – 375 miles away from Paris – and left it in a safety deposit box at a local bank. She then returned to Paris, confident that she would reclaim her radium after France had won the war.

With the subject of her life’s work hidden far away, she now needed something else to do. Rather than flee the turmoil, she decided to join in the fight. But just how could a middle-aged woman do that? She decided to redirect her scientific skills toward the war effort; not to make weapons, but to save lives.

X-rays enlisted in the war effort

X-rays, a type of electromagnetic radiation, had been discovered in 1895 by Curie’s fellow Nobel laureate, Wilhelm Roentgen. As I describe in my book “Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation,” almost immediately after their discovery, physicians began using X-rays to image patients’ bones and find foreign objects – like bullets.

But at the start of the war, X-ray machines were still found only in city hospitals, far from the battlefields where wounded troops were being treated. Curie’s solution was to invent the first “radiological car” – a vehicle containing an X-ray machine and photographic darkroom equipment – which could be driven right up to the battlefield where army surgeons could use X-rays to guide their surgeries.

Read more: Marie Curie and her X-ray vehicles’ contribution to World War I battlefield medicine

US Mint unveils design for new Congressionally-authorized coin honoring America's WWI Veterans

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

WASHINGTON, DC — On October 9, 2017, the U.S. Mint officially unveiled their new collectible commemorative coin that marks the 100th anniversary of American participation in World War I.

The unveiling was hosted by the Acting Secretary of the U.S. Army, Ryan McCarthy, and took place at the National Meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA), in Washington DC.

DSC 2362Acting Secretary if the Army Ryan McCarthy (left) and Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley unveil the US Mint WWI Commemorative Coin design.At his side, representing the U.S. Mint, was Mr. T.V. Johnson, the Mint's Director of Corporate Communication, along with Mr. Terry Hamby, the Chair of the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission.

Coin only"This is a great day for the Army, and for the services," McCarthy said. "This coin honors all of the 4.7 million American men and women from the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, the Air Services, and from the Army, who stepped forward to serve 100 years ago".

The obverse design of the new coin is titled “Soldier’s Charge,” and depicts an almost stone-like soldier gripping a rifle. Barbed wire twines are featured in the lower right hand side of the design.

The wire design element continues onto the reverse of the WWI Centennial Silver Dollar in a design titled “Poppies in the Wire,” which features abstract poppies mixed in with barbed wire.

Barbed wire was part of the trench warfare of World War I, and poppies are the symbolic flower of veteran remembrance, a tradition that began during the war.

This new collectible coin was authorized by statute in 2014, via bipartisan legislation sponsored by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) in the House, and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) in the Senate.

Rep. Cleaver expressed support for the design. "No war should be forgotten, and no veteran should be forgotten. This new coin will help us to remember the stories, and the lessons, from the people who served in that war. It will help to preserve their legacy".

Read more: US Mint unveils design for new Congressionally-authorized coin honoring America's WWI Veterans

World War I exhibit on display at KYGMC

By Christy Howell-Hoots
via the Ledger Independent web site

Walking into the World War I exhibit at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center in Maysville transports viewers to what it may have been like to serve in the military during the war.

59d7dfd55c956.imageA World War I nurse uniform is one of the many uniforms on display at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center in Maysville.As the door opens to the gallery, the first thing one may notice is the large trench sitting to the left. There are soldiers boots and weapons sitting in front of the bags. On the inside of the trench are small pieces of paper that gives information about what it was like to serve in the trenches during the war.

One sheet talks about trench foot, which is caused by feet being in a damp, cold area for too long. According to, it is estimated that 2,000 Americans died from trench foot during the war.

Before reaching the trench, however, guests will noticed markings along the wall that start with 1914 and end with 1920. The markings are a timeline of the war from beginning to end.

The United States did not enter the war until 1917.

"We're excited about the timeline exhibit. We decided to put this together because this marks the 100th anniversary of the United State's entry into World War I," KYGMC Executive Director CJ Hunter said.

"As you look around, you see items from museum sources and several other sources," he said. "Tandy Nash is the one who put this exhibit together for us. Most of the uniforms in here are ours, but we do have uniforms from other sources."

According to Hunter, the exhibit features no replicas.

"This was produced through the efforts of several people who loaned items for us," he said. "Everything is real. We wanted to give everyone an idea of what it looked like to have lived and served during that time."

Read more: World War I exhibit on display at KYGMC

Symposia on American entry into WWI, and on the Conscience Objector Movement during the War, & program examining the future of American political parties highlight Upcoming Events at National World War I Museum and Memorial

By Mike Vietti,
National World War I Museum and Memorial

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Coming to the National WWI Museum and Memorial will be a pair of symposia, featuring world-renowned speakers, including historian, Sir Hew Strachan. The programs will examine the entry of the U.S. into World War I and the conscience objector movement. There will also be a bi-partisan panel discussion on the future of American political parties featuring former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

eight col Sir Hew StrachanSir Hew StrachanFrom Oct. 19-22, the Museum hosts the symposium “Remembering Muted Voices: Conscience, Dissent, Resistance and Civil Liberties in World War I Through Today.” The event features acclaimed authors and presenters, including New York Times author Michael Kazin and Ingrid Sharp from Leeds University in the United Kingdom. Additionally, author Duane Stoltzfus and Dora Maendel of the Fairholme Hutterite Colony in Manitoba, Canada, will examine what happened to more than 500 Hutterites who protested American involvement in WWI and were later jailed in Washington, Alcatraz and eventually Ft. Leavenworth, where two young men died under suspicious circumstances. Nearly 50 Hutterites from Canada, many of whom are descendants from the 500 people imprisoned at Ft. Leavenworth, will be in attendance at the event. Single day registration ($55) and complete event registration ($125) are available at

The Museum welcomes one of the world’s leading experts on World War I, Sir Hew Strachan, for a special free program in advance of its second symposium at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2. Strachan, former Chichele Professor of the History of War at the University of Oxford, will be joined by scholars Jennifer Keene (Chapman University) and Jay Sexton (University of Missouri) for “The Long Road to Peace: Enter the Peace Broker,” which examines President Woodrow Wilson’s attempt to arbitrate the war in December 1916.

On Nov. 3-4, the Museum hosts its second international symposium “1917: America Joins the Fight” featuring renowned scholars from across the world. The event features author David Stevenson, making his only U.S. appearance in 2017 following the release of his new book “1917: War, Peace and Revolution” as well as acclaimed authors Michael Neiberg, Robert Cozzolino, Olga Porshneva, Richard S. Faulkner and more. Early bird registration ($195) is available through Oct. 6 at

Read more: Upcoming Events at National World War I Museum and Memorial

War & Art - American protection of Italian Cultural Heritage during WWI

When World War I erupted in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson pledged neutrality for the United States, a position that the vast majority of Americans favored. On April 6, 1917, America entered World War I. When the war concluded in November 1918, with a victory for the Allies, more than 2 million U.S. troops had served at the Western Front in Europe, and more than 50,000 of them died. War & Art: WWI - USA in Italy was created to honor them.

War and Art WWI USA in ItalyOn October 12, the Embassy of Italy in Washington, DC will present the catalogue of War & Art: WWI - USA in Italy, followed by a preview of a previously unreleased documentary about the First World War provided by the Museo Centrale del Risorgimento.

Commissioner Tod Sedgwick of the United States World War One Centennial Commission will participate in the panel discussion at the event.

During the First World War even Italy’s historical and artistic heritage became a powerful propaganda tool for the country affected by the war. The art and beauty destroyed during air raids or land battles were further proof of the “enemy’s barbarity.” The planned or accidental destruction of artistic monuments had already been condemned by France on Sept. 19, 1914, following the irreparable damages to Reims Cathedral, and even earlier, on Aug. 25, 1914, by Belgium when the historical library of Louvain was destroyed by fire.

Centuries-old art became an innocent victim of the war’s destruction. Stone sculptures could not survive steel shells.

In Italy, the destruction of culture was considered a cowardly and uncivilized act, a sort of blasphemous sacrilege, much like the violence perpetrated by invading armies against unarmed civilians. The idea that Italy’s national heritage could be used as a successful propaganda tool against the enemy was immediately put into action with photographs that documented the damages of war to paintings, frescoes and churches. Photography was also used to sensitize the population in remote areas far from the front lines since this visual means proved the most effective instrument of persuasion—it could be easily understood even by the less educated members of the population and the illiterate. Newspapers and magazines thus detailed the beautiful artworks in the more famous Italian cities protected and defended against the “enemy’s barbarity.” Thanks to the vital support of the U.S., Italy was able to preserve most of its artistic treasures – and thus its identity – from ruthless annihilation.

Art from World War I on display at the Frist in Nashville

By Terry Bulger
via the web site

NASHVILLE, TN — In 1917, the United States fought and ended World War I in a little more than a year. A new exhibit at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts takes visitors back to that time.

Gassed from New York Times 600John Singer Sargent’s monumental tableau "Gassed" (from the Imperial War Museums, London) is one of many high-profile loans from both private and public collections that are part of the "World War I and American Art" exhibition at the Frist.Four-thousand Tennesseans died in what was once known as the “war to end all wars.” The images, words and mood of that time are now on display at the Frist Center.

When Uncle Sam made the call, 100,000 Tennesseans joined the effort to fight overseas.

New York, Philadelphia and now Nashville are the only three cities to see this touring exhibit, World War I and American Art. It includes the sometimes gruesome reminders of a war historians say we should never forget.

“Without World War I, there’s no World War II. Without World War I, there’s no Cold War. Without World War I, there’s no mess in the Middle East. And all of these things come directly from the conflict that took place between 1914 and 1918,” said Michale Birdwell, a history professor at Tennessee Tech University.


Read more: Art from World War I on display at the Frist in Nashville

Eight questions for Arizona filmmaker Thomas Perry

"These are the stories of true American heroes and we felt their stories needed to be told." 

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

We recently caught up with documentary filmmaker Thomas Perry, to talk about his latest work. Thomas has many year experience making military documentary films, and he has a particular interest in World War I. He found rich sources of untold World War I stories in his own home state of Arizona, and decided to showcase them. The stories were so plentiful, that Thomas also created a companion blog to help tell them all!

You have a special project that focuses on Arizona's contribution to the effort in World War I. Tell us about your documentary.

Filmmaker Thomas PerryFilmmaker Thomas PerryThe ARIZONA HEROES OF WORLD WAR 1 is one hour documentary film highlighting the dramatic and inspiring story of Arizona’s brave men and women who lived, fought, suffered and died serving their country during World War 1.

The ARIZONA HEROES OF WW1 Project was designed as an educational and promotional tool to advance important American Legion veteran messages while also celebrating and commemorating the 100th Anniversary of The American Legion and the 100th Anniversary of America’s victory in World War 1.

ARIZONA HEROES OF WW1 is sponsored by The American Legion Department of Arizona and officially endorsed by The United States World War 1 Centennial Commission.

How did the idea come about?

We are military documentarians, having created a variety of military programs throughout our professional careers with World War 2 being a consistent theme. Many of these programs, including HOLLYWOOD GOES TO WAR and HITLER TO HIROSHIMA were broadcast on national cable networks and also nationally televised. Hundreds of thousands units have also been distributed internationally on VHS, DVD and Streaming.

With the 100th anniversary of World War 1 approaching, we wanted to create something that would honor and remember the great contributions and sacrifices made by my home state of Arizona. ARIZONA HEROES OF WW1 was it.

What is your attraction to this subject?

The era during which World War 1 took place is virtually unknown by most Americans and Arizonans. We wanted to explore that. When we began the research we really had no idea what we would find since Arizona had only been a state for a short time and had such a small population. In a short period of time we were very happy to find that the people of Arizona had contributed a great deal to support the U.S. victory.

Read more: Eight questions for Arizona filmmaker Thomas Perry

How a WWI-era boxcar — a gift from France — moved from Columbia to Bishopville in SC 

By Jeff Wilkinson
via web site

The historic and ornate World War I-era boxcar donated full of gifts to the state of South Carolina after World War II will be moved Saturday from Columbia to Bishopville’s South Carolina Cotton Museum and Lee County Veterans Museum.

IMG boxcar tg00097 6 1 SABE3R3O L315770998 This World War I-era boxcar will be moved Saturday from an American Legion post near the University of South Carolina to the S.C. Cotton Museum and Lee County Veterans Museum. (Tracy Glantz, )During both World Wars I and II, the narrow gauge boxcars were a main mode of transportation in France and much of the rest of Europe. They were called Forty and Eights because they were big enough to carry 40 men or eight horses. The boxcars moved troops, hauled supplies, evacuated wounded and, in their darkest use, transported Jews and other victims of the Holocaust in World War II to concentration camps.

The boxcar was part of a 49-car “gratitude train” from France that sent one boxcar to each of the 48 states and the District of Columbia as thanks for the United States’ participation in World War II and America’s aid afterward. The boxcar has been displayed in a parking lot behind Columbia’s American Legion Post 6 at Pickens and Whaley streets for decades, largely unseen by the public.

“This was a piece of history sitting in the middle of South Carolina and no one had ever seen it or heard of it,” said Ronnie Williams, commander of VFW Post 3096 of Bishopville and a director of the Lee County Veterans Museum. “By putting this on Main Street in Bishopville, especially with next year being the 100th anniversary of the armistice of World War I, this gives us a great opportunity to show the history of the boxcar and the history of the wars.”

On Saturday, the boxcar will be placed on a “lowboy” trailer most often used to transport heavy equipment by a crane leased for a discount price from White’s Crane Service of West Columbia. It will then be transported free of charge on the lowboy from Columbia to Bishopville by a crew from Diamond W. Trucking of Heath Springs.

Read more: How a WWI-era boxcar — a gift from France — moved from Columbia to Bishopville in SC

Hudson, Ohio World War I Memorial restoration is one step closer

By Laura Freeman
via the web site

HUDSON – The Hudson World War I Memorial Restoration and Centennial project has been selected as one of 50 grant awardees, bringing rehabilitation of the memorial on the Clocktower Green one step closer to fruition.

Hudson Ohi0 MemorialThe United States World War I Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum, in partnership with the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, announced Sept. 27 the first 50 memorials officially designated as “WWI Centennial Memorials.”

“We are pleased to learn that the Hudson WWI Memorial Restoration and Centennial project was selected for a matching grant,” said Christopher Bach, an architect with Peninsula Architects who is leading the restoration effort. “In addition to the national press and visibility that the city of Hudson and the WWI Memorial will receive, we are also excited to learn that the Hudson WWI Memorial will officially be designated as a national “WWI Centennial Memorial” and will be presented with an official certificate and a bronze medallion of the designation.”

The matching grant of $2,000 matches the $2,200 raised so far for the project, Bach said. Another fundraiser is planned in November.

The project includes restoring the 30-inch-by-60-inch WWI bronze memorial plaque that carries 81 names of veterans from the Great War, located on the corner of Route 91 and Route 303.

The plaque will be removed and restored, Bach said. The deteriorating stone base will be replaced and the plaque will be remounted.

Read more: Hudson, Ohio World War I Memorial restoration is one step closer

American sculptor built facial prosthetics for disfigured WWI soldiers

By Gareth Davies
via the web site

Anna Coleman Ladd at workAnna Coleman Ladd works on the mask of one of the soldiers. The incredible set of photos from nearly 100 years ago show the impact one American sculptor had on the lives of numerous soldiers who were horrifically disfigured during World War One.Incredible before and after photographs show how British soldiers had to have their faces rebuilt having been maimed during World War One.

Images taken shortly after the conclusion of the First World War, between the end of 1918 and the beginning of 1919, show the horrible facial injuries suffered by several soldiers.

The pictures show how a pioneering sculptor and a leading surgeon used their expertise to transform the men who had become victims on the frontline.

Anna Coleman Ladd created custom-made masks for soldiers to wear over their wounds.

Ladd was an American-born sculptor who studied in Paris and Rome, and soldiers would come to her studio to have a cast made of their faces, which would then be used to help construct the prosthetic from very thin copper.

This would then be painted to try and resemble the soldiers' skin colour, and each piece would be adorned with some form of string or eyeglasses in order to keep it in place.

Before she got to work on the masks, many soldiers required surgery to rebuild their faces.

Young surgeon Harold Gillies transformed the faces of many of those who were injured and shipped back to Britain.

Read more: American-born sculptor built facial prosthetics for WWI soldiers

Five Questions for Jerry Michaud, Roll of Honor Foundation

"Make sure that those U.S. service men and women who served in this war are not forgotten by this and future generations."

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

One of our great partners in our effort to create the new National World War I Memorial is the Roll Of Honor Foundation. The Roll of Honor Foundation is a nonprofit charity with the mission of honoring the military service of the men and women of America’s Armed Forces, educating the public about their legacy and encouraging public service among the next generation. The Foundation provides the Roll of Honor -- an online registry of U.S. service persons -- which allows former military members and their families to display their military experience, records of achievement and photos in a digital visual biography. In partnership with the United States World War One Centennial Commission, the World War I Roll of Honor features profiles of many of the more than 4 million American service persons who responded to the call of “Over There” in support of the war-weary Allies and helped achieve victory in "The War That Changed the World." We spoke to Jerry Michaud, who created the profile platform for the Roll of Honor Foundation, to hear about their efforts regarding World War I veterans.

Tell us about the Roll of Honor Foundation and what you do to honor our nation’s veterans.

The Roll of Honor Foundation’s mission is to honor the military service of the men and women of America’s Armed Forces, educating the public about their legacy and encouraging public service among future generations.

Jerry Michaud 300Jerry MichaudThe Foundation provides a free online registry of U.S. service men and women ( which allows current and former military members and their families to display their military experience, records of achievement and photos in a digital visual biography. Our ambition is to document the entire U.S. military service history – from Lexington and Concord to today’s deployments – through the individual histories of America’s military. Almost 3 million service members are currently in the Roll of Honor and new profiles are being added daily.

You recently partnered with the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission for a special edition of the Roll of Honor. What will people see when they go to the Roll of Honor?

The World War One National Memorial Roll of Honor ( was designed to give individual visibility to the millions of Doughboys, pilots, sailors and nurses of “the war that changed the world,” detailing their ranks, units, battles, awards, citations and other elements of their service. Through a vivid digital display, each profile page will focus on that individual’s World War One experience, making sure that everyone who took a stand for freedom – serving their country in the military, surviving extremely tough circumstances and possibly facing death – will not be unnoticed or forgotten.

On the WWI Commission’s website, visitors can use the “Find Your World War One veteran” search tool to discover their ancestor’s individual profile on the WWI Roll of Honor. If there is no profile created yet or you have additional details, photographs, letters or “Stories of Service” you want to add to an existing profile, the Roll of Honor Foundation staff will help you build or enhance the profile.

Read more: Five Questions for Jerry Michaud

Founding Sponsor

PritzkerMML Logo