"On a warm, breezy day this past April, a World War I nurse named Camille O’Brien came to life as dozens of people gathered in Atlanta’s Greenwood Cemetery to commemorate the 100th anniversary of her death." Click here to see feature on honoring Camille
The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners dedicated the county’s new “Veterans Plaza” on the grounds of the historic county courthouse in Louisville. The reconfigured plaza grew from work by the Georgia WWI Centennial Commission. Louisville native Dr. Lamar Veatch, an associate for the Centennial Commission, spent the centennial years building databases both of soldiers from Georgia who died in WW1 and local monuments that honored them. Veatch discovered that his home county did not have a WWI memorial. He also learned that only a dozen soldiers from Jefferson County who died in that conflict were publicly recognized in the 1921 Georgia Memorial Book, all of them white. His research revealed an additional 14 deaths of Jefferson County citizens, eleven of whom were African - American.
Bringing this information to the attention of several County Commissioners, Veatch was invited to join with the Jefferson County Historical Society in presenting a proposal to the full Board of Commissioners. This proposal was to install a WWI monument, listing all 26 names, on the courthouse grounds. This new monument would join the existing memorials at this location that were for every other modern war and conflict. Not only was this proposal enthusiastically approved, the Commission subsequently decided to re-landscape the entire front entrance of the courthouse, clean and refurbish the older monuments, to create the “Jefferson County Veterans’ Memorial Plaza”.
The ceremony on May 23rd was attended by scores of community residents, including three generations of relatives of one of the African-American soldiers whose name is now inscribed on the new Jefferson County WW1 memorial.
Scenes from the ceremony April 18, 2019 to dedicate a grave marker for Camille O'Brien, a member of the Emory nursing unit who died of illness while treating soldiers in France in World War I. She had lain in an unmarked grave in Atlanta's Greenwood Cemetery for 98 years. Our appreciation to the many who made this ceremony possible, including the organizer historian Michael Hitt. In addition to the Georgia WWI Centennial Commission, these include H.M. Patterson & Sons Funeral Directors Oglethorpe Hill Chapel, Emory University, the Patriot Guard Riders of Georgia, the Daughters of the American Revolution, American Legion Posts 143 and 160, American Red Cross, and numerous others.
Among the hundreds of casualties of the wreck of the troop ship Otranto on October 6, 1918, was William Eugene Warth of Savannah. In 1919 his father, F. A. Warth, penned both the words and music of “Consolation” and dedicated it to the memory of his son and those lost with him.
In 2019, at the request of the Georgia World War I Centennial Commission, Dr. Brent Runnels, director of Music at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, brought the music back to life with this linked recording. Soprano Dr. Wanda Yang Temko is accompanied by Dr. Runnels on the piano. Our sincere appreciation to Dr. Runnels and Dr. Temko for this moving contribution to the commemoration of the centennial of World War I with their performance of “Consolation,” a bereaved father’s tribute.
Soprano - Dr. Wanda Yang Temko and Pianist Dr. Brent Runnels.
We highly recommend this film. It brings World War I to life, humanizing the participants in ways you previously will not have seen. Old film is modernized through technology. We suggest you stay at the end of the film for director Peter Jackson's on-screen explanation of how the film was made. The work is both a moving tribute to those who sacrificed in World War I and a technological marvel in its own right.
U.S. WWI Centennial Commissioner Monique Seefried of Atlanta attended the regular meeting of the Georgia WWI Centennial Commission held January 10, 2019 at Atlanta History Center. On behalf of the national commission, Dr. Seefried presented a certificate of appreciation to the Georgia Commission for outstanding efforts over the past three years “to honor the legacy and sacrifice of the men and women who served in World War I and for telling the story of The War That Changed The World.” Accepting the certificate is Col. Billy Wells, chair of the Georgia Commission. Dr. Seefried also presented an individual certificate of recognition to Georgia Commission associate Dr. Lamar Veatch for his tireless efforts to document the deaths of all Georgians who died in uniform in the war, beyond only those white soldiers listed in the original 1921 State Memorial Book.