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Dispatch Newletter

The WWI Centennial Dispatch is a weekly newsletter that touches the highlights of WWI centennial and the Commission's activities. It is a short and easy way to keep tabs on key happenings. We invite you to subscribe to future issues and to explore the archive of previous issues.

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the united states world war one centennial commission

February 14, 2017

"After April 6, 1917, everything about America changed"


The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is preparing for a major national event on April 6th, 2017, to mark the 100th anniversary of America's entry into the war. Commission Chair Robert Dalessandro talks this week about the significance of the date. As a career historian, Dalessandro puts some perspective on the events that took place 100 years ago to the United States on the path to war, and how those events changed the nation and the world entire world. Read the Dalessandro interview here

Graphic novel tells stories of Native American soldiers' experiences in WWI U.S. Army


Chag Lowry

Chag Lowry is a Native American graphic novelist who lives in Northern California, whose interest in telling the story of World War I were kindled by hearing the stories of his great-great-uncles who served in the Great War. Lowry is turning the things that he has learned about the Native American who served in the U.S. military in WWI into a new graphic novel, entitled SOLDIERS UNKNOWN. Lowry calls the experiences of Native American solders unique, and took some time to tell us about it. Read the interview, and check out some of the graphic art here.

"Stars and Stripes" forever? No, the military paper actually started in WWI

Stars and Stripes  

Most Americans are aware of the military-based newspaper “The Stars and Stripes.” But many don’t know that it came into existence as a morale-builder after Americans surged into France during World War I – and even fewer probably know of its links to another august publication, “The New Yorker.” The Library of Congress Blog takes a look at the origins of the paper that generations of American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines have looked to for news from home, and how on man's will made the concept come into being.  Read the blog post here

100 Cities / 100 Memorials Blog

110c/100m icon

Three great questions that have come up:

This blog post features three recent questions from the participants to the matching grant challenge about their participation.

  1. Can an in-kind donation count as part of the match for the program?
  2. Can I still submit a grant application?
  3.  Will our project qualify?

Read the actual questions and see the answer in our latest blog post.

From the WWrite Blog

Ida wells

"Black History Month gives the WWrite blog the opportunity to showcase African American writers and artists inspired by WWI.

This week, Major Jasmine Motupalli, Assistant Professor of Engineering at West Point, and Afghanistan War veteran, reflects upon the roles of African American women during WWI, especially the actions of journalist, activist, and suffragist, Ida B. Wells. Major Motupalli also shares part of her memoir in progress about her experience in Afghanistan as an intelligence officer."

“THE NAVY NEEDS YOU!” Poster: $12.50

Navt recruit poster

Vintage replica WWI 14” x 24” poster inspired by the U.S. Navy’s plea to report to the nearest recruiting station. A patriotic and distinctive way to accessorize your wall space, this commemorative poster is offered exclusively through the World War One Centennial Commission.

Take advantage of the
Matching Donation by the
Pritzker Military Museum and Library

Double Your Donation - Soldiers

A Story of Service from the  Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org




Clement Anthony Grobbel

Clement Anthony Grobbel

Submitted by: Michael V Grobbel

Clement Anthony Grobbel served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known May 26, 1818 to July 7, 1919.

Clement Anthony Grobbel of Center Line, Michigan, was a member of the US Army "Polar Bears" who were sent to North Russia in the closing weeks of World War One.


Clem was 22 years old when the U.S. entered World War One. He was soon drafted into the Army and on 27 JUN 1918, he arrived at Camp Custer, near Battle Creek, MI. There he began training with Rifle Company I of the 339th Infantry Regiment of the National Army.


The 339th became known as "Detroit's Own Regiment", since three-quarters of the enlisted men and officers were from the Detroit area (upon their return to the U.S. in 1919, the 339th and their attached units took to calling themselves the "Polar Bears"). On 14 JUL 1918, the 339th broke camp and boarded trains for New York City, from which they sailed for England on 22 JUL 1918.

Read the whole Story of Service here.

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the united states world war one centennial commission

February 7, 2017

Commission announces April 6 Centennial Commemoration of U.S. entry into World War l

Proclamation of War

The United States World War I Centennial Commission has officially announced the national ceremony commemorating the centennial of the United States entry into World War I, a war that changed the nation and the world forever. The national ceremony, “In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace:  Centennial Commemoration of the U.S. Entry in World War I,” will be held on April 6, 2017 at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mo. Invited attendees include the President of the United States; Congressional leadership; Cabinet members; State governors; U.S. military leaders; veteran organizations; representatives from U.S. military legacy units that trace their history back to World War I; descendants of significant American WWI figures; and other organizations, dignitaries, and VIPs. International invitees include the Heads of State of nations whose people were involved in the Great War. Read more about the ceremony here.


American Experience offers screening opportunities for “The Great War” series



The Great War


AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is offering state and local World War I centennial commissions the opportunity to host community screenings of "The Great War." Starting March 1, organizations can hold a screening event to give their community a sneak peek at “The Great War.” The series covers many themes, so AMERICAN EXPERIENCE has created a selection of clips to choose from. Your event can be a general overview of “The Great War” or focus on thematic issues raised by the documentary. Each clip includes an introductory prologue, and comes with suggested talking points and sample discussion topics to help shape your event. This is a great opportunity to partner with your local PBS station, a local history scholar, or university and host a panel discussion or lecture series. “The Great War” will premiere on PBS on Monday, April 10 at 9/8c. For more information, visit pbs.org/americanexperience, and visit bit.ly/greatwarevents to request a screening event.


Rich history of the 82nd Airborne spans the century since its WWI formation

All American Legacy Podcast logo

The U.S. Army's famed 82nd Airborne Division got its start as the 82nd All-American Division in World War I. The Division is celebrating 100 years of service to the nation in 2017 with an innovative series of videos and podcasts in a yearlong retrospective on the 82nd's legacy. The Division's Public Affairs Officer, LtCol Joe Buccino, talks about the unit was  the 82nd was formed for entry into WWI in August, 1917, as a Division that represented the full breadth of the American culture, thus earning the nickname "All American." Read more about this storied fighting force, and how WWI set the pattern for its proud history.

Warren, PA couple raises awareness for WWI national memorial in DC


Mark and Sarah Nickerson were pictured in the January 24 issue of DISPATCH as two of the team of Commission volunteers on Inauguration Day handing out free poppy seed-packets, telling people about the Centennial Commission's education programs, commemorative events, and memorial preservation projects. Now Mark and his wife are featured in a very nice article in their home town Warren, PA Times-Observer newspaper. A long-time reenactor, and owner of a collectibles store, Mark turned a planned trip to be a spectator at the Inauguration into an opportunity to raise awareness for the National WWI Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC, as well as the debt the nation still owes to the Doughboys. Read more about the Nickersons' great day in DC here.

WWrite Blog: Benjamin Busch Returns to Iraq in "Today is Better than Tomorrow:" A British WWI Cemetery Revisited Ten Years After Serving in the Iraq War

bush part 2

Actor, writer, filmmaker, and photographer Benjamin Busch follows up on last week's post about discovering a WWI Cemetery in Iraq. Here, Busch speaks about his return to Iraq in 2013 as a journalist. He discovers the British WWI cemetery he visited and cared for ten years earlier has been destroyed.

U.S. Victory lapel pin: $4.95

victory pin

THEY ARE BACK. We ran out of these but they are back in stock.

This popular WW1 commemorative item is the Victory buttons soldiers received upon their discharge from service in “the Great War”.

Hand cast in jeweler’s alloy and hand finished in a satin bronze patina, the design features the star, symbolizing victory, honor and glory; a wreath of evergreen laurel leaves symbolizing triumph over death; and the U.S. insignia, clearly identifying the country served.

Take advantage of the
Matching Donation by the
Pritzker Military Museum and Library

Double Your Donation - Soldiers


A Story of Service from the  Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org


Mary Coan Reilly Ravener


Submitted by: Bob Ravener (grandson)

Mary Coan Reilly Ravener served in World War 1 with the United States Marine Corps. The dates of service are: Known 1918-1922.

The United States Marine Corps has a long and proud tradition fighting America’s battles and after the U.S. declared war on Germany, were using virtually every active duty service member to fight in the Great War or training those preparing to fight. On 08 August 1918 that all changed when they took on another cause, women in uniform. That’s when Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels wrote a letter authorizing the Commandant of the Marine Corps to enlist women in the Marine Corps Reserve for clerical duty.

Six weeks later, on 24 September, a five foot tall, grey eyed, and auburn-haired Mary Coan Reilly, became one of those first women Marines.

During this period of global crisis and tumultuous change, a little more than 300 women donned the forest green uniform of the Corps, but selection was anything but easy for these aspiring Marines. In fact, it was extremely competitive. According to the book written by Captain Linda Hewitt in 1974, “In New York City alone, 2,000 hopeful applicants lined up...in reply to a newspaper article that the Marine Corps was looking for ‘intelligent young women’.” Mary was one of those many applicants and became one of only five or so to be selected to serve in New York at the Marine Corps Publicity Bureau in lower Manhattan.

Read the rest of  Story of Service of Mary Coan Reilly Ravener here.



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the united states world war one centennial commission

January 31, 2017

Wisconsin National Guard commemorates WW1 heroics of "Red Arrow" Division 

Captain Brian Faltinson, USA, Wisconsin National Guard

Captain Brian Faltinson of the Wisconsin National Guard is part of an innovative centennial project to commemorate the World War One history of the 'Red Arrow' Division in France. The commemoration effort has drawn together the Wisconsin Guard, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, the Wisconsin National Guard Museum, and the Wisconsin Historical Society. The team has gathered photos, letters, memoirs, artifacts and stories left behind by the soldiers of the 32nd 'Red Arrow' Division to paint a portrait of the Wisconsin Guard's contribution to the American effort in the Great War. Captain Faltinson shared some insights with us regarding the project, and why it's important.

LoC announces broad range of WW1 programs, publications, activities


Library of Congress

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War One, the Library of Congress is offering an array of exhibitions, lectures, symposia, blogs, publications, digitized collections, Victory Gardens, veterans’ stories, educational tools, film programs and research guides. On Feb. 15, the Library will launch a World War One web portal, providing comprehensive access to the Library’s World War One resources and programming. Read more about the cornucopia of WW1 resources being provided by LoC in 2017

"Stories of Service" preserves memories of family histories and WW1 service

Stories of Service

Almost five million American families sent their fathers or mothers or sons or daughters to serve in the Armed Forces during World War One. Countless other families had members who supported the war effort in industry, farming, shipping, and many other fields. All those who served then are gone now, but “Stories of Service” allows anyone who grew up hearing about their grandparent or great-grandparent’s service to preserve this precious record of family history in the permanent record of the World War One Centennial Commission. Click here to find out more about how your can record your family's Story of Service. 

The Recipe For Baking Up a 100 Cities / 100 Memorials Project


There are only 135 days left to submit matching grant proposals for the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program. Get $2,000 for your local WW1 Memorial - even if you are a municipality or city office.


135 days (a little over 4 months) is still plenty of time, but there is no time left to waste to apply for the grants.

The new post on the 100C/100M blog offers a short and easy recipe for cooking up a submission!

WWrite BLOG: Benjamin Bush, a U.S. Marine, Discovers British WWI Cemetery During Iraq War.

Benjamin Bush

Actor, writer, filmmaker, and photographer Benjamin Busch was a Marine who led a Light Armored Reconnaissance unit during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and operated around the city of Kut.

This week the WWrite BLOG features this excerpt from his memoir Dust to Dust, noting the last surviving evidence of WWI in the region, a British war cemetery.

Take advantage of the
Matching Donation by the
Pritzker Military Museum and Library

Double Your Donation - Soldiers

A Story of Service from the  Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org



Paul Emerson Riege

Paul Emerson Riege


Submitted by: Kenneth Riege, grandson


Paul Emerson Riege served in World War One with the United States Marine Corps. The dates of service are: Known 17 Apr 1917 - 31 Mar 1919.

My grandfather Pvt. Paul Emerson Riege was a very proud Marine. He was one 16 years old when he volunteered for the Marines. He served in the 1st Battalion/5th Marines and fought at the Battle of Belleau Wood, the 2nd Battle of the Marne and was Wounded In Action on 4 Oct 1918 during the Meuse Argonne Offensive.

I have shared his story with many (especially other Marines) and have been told that it was the guys from the 1/5 that gave the Marines their reputation that they have today and this is where they earned the title of "Devil Dogs."

I remember as a teenager asking my grandfather why he volunteered, he didn't have to go he was only 16, and he said his country needed him and that he would do it all over again. He also told me that if I ever serve in the military I will understand what he meant.

Well, I did serve in the military (8 years United States Air Force) and while my grandfather did tease me a bit about joining the "Boy Scouts" he was very proud of me. It was funny I had gone from calling him "grandpa" to calling him "Sir." That would always bring a smile to his face.




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the united states world war one centennial commission

January 24, 2017

Kentucky WW1 web site now in operation

KY web logo

Welcome Kentucky! The Bluegrass State's World War One Centennial Committee's website is now live at ww1cc.org/kentucky. At the  “Kentucky in World War 1” site the Kentucky WWI Centennial Committee's web team is providing articles, a map of significant WW1 sites in the state, and an event calendar. There is also a in-depth look at Camp Zachary Taylor, a huge (and hugely important) WW1 training center for the U.S. Army. KY Committee members will be joining us on the all new WW1 Centennial News Podcast show on Wednesday, January 25 to tell you more about their site and the state program. We invite you to register for the WW1 Centennial News live show. Kentucky joins a growing number of state sites hosted by the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission. To see the other states’ sites, click here.

Philadelphia priest became WW1 hero


Wolfe mug

When 35 year-old Joseph Wolfe joined the United States Army as a chaplain in 1917, he had no way of knowing that his division would see combat in nearly every major U.S. battle: Champagne, Marne, Marne-Aisne, Aisne-Oise, Meuse-Argonne, and Metz. Though all the bloody action, Wolfe's heroic and selfless work won him the praise of the 28th Division soldiers, and the admiration of the public back in Pennsylvania. Read more about the gallantry that won him decoration from General John Pershing himself.


Social Media Director seeks "increased sense of respect for those who served in this war"

Kathy Akey

Katherine Akey, Social Media Director for the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission, was working on her thesis about polar exploration at the turn of the 20th century, and discovered that there was a lot of overlap between the expeditions in the early 20th century and the First World War. That intersection led to a growing interest in WW1, and a decision to become a volunteer for the Commission, where she uses here photographic and social media skills to help get out the message about the Centennial Commemoration. She built Commission's Instagram account from the ground up, and has had a positive influence on the rest of the Commission's social media. In a recent interview, Kathy talks about what brought her to the Centennial Commission.

Edith Cavell: Reluctant martyr of WW1

Edith Cavell image

Nurse Edith Cavell became one of the most famous martyrs of World War One, and her heroic story was shared throughout the Allied countries as a shining example of patriotism. It even helped influence popular opinion in the United States against Germany, and promoted its eventual entering the war. Yet she also helped more than 200 Allied soldiers escape into neutral Holland, and smuggled intelligence back to the British. So her real life story is somewhat more ambiguous than the patriotic legacy that was created post-execution. Read more about Edith Cavell and how she served in WW1 before and after her death.

"General Pershing" delivers WW1 Centennial Commemoration message at "Roaring Twenties” Inaugural Ball

Shuey Gatsby

When the 1920's tribute group Dardanella scheduled its Great Gatsby Presidential Inaugural Ball, the organization, noting the restless spirit born of World War One that reverberates in the characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s epic novel, wanted someone to help make that point to party goers. To the rescue rode historian David Shuey, who appeared at the ball in the persona of General John Pershing. "General Pershing was a veritable rock star in the 1920s," Shuey noted. "He was one of the most honored and recognizable men in America.” Read more about how "General Pershing" hit on all sixes at the 1920's event.

100 Cities / 100 Memorials Blog: The Timothy Ahearn Memorial Backstory Part 3

Marching parade

This is the last installment of Laura Macaluso's three part series on the Timothy Ahearn Memorial. Laura generously provided the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials Blog with these very insightful and comprehensive articles.

Laura hopes that what these posts have shown is that the research and documentation around a single monument or memorial is a multi-layered affair.

Check out the article series on the 100C/100M blog.

Centennial Commemorative Cufflinks: $18.95


Looking sharp and doing good with these satin nickel cufflinks. They are a simple, yet meaningful, way to tell the world that YOU are commemorating the centennial of WW1.

This and many other items are available in the official merchandise shop.



Take advantage of the
Matching Donation by the
Pritzker Military Museum and Library

Double Your Donation - Soldiers



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the united states world war one centennial commission

January 17, 2017

Michigan WW1 Centennial web site now live




Welcome Michigan! The Michigan World War One Centennial website is now live at ww1cc.org/michigan. At the new “Michigan’s World War One Centennial” web site you will find articles, monthly video blogs, and an event calendar. There is also a very detailed map of the state’s World War One monuments, memorials, and historical sites. The MI development team will be joining us on the all new WW1 Centennial News Podcast show on Wednesday, January 18 to tell you more about their state program. We invite you to register for the WW1 Centennial News live show. Michigan joins a growing number of state sites hosted by the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission. To see the other states’ sites, click here.


Volunteers will use poppy seeds to grow WW1 Centennial awareness on Inauguration Day


Poppy Seed Packet 1

There will be non-stop swirling activity in the Nation's Capital for the upcoming Presidential Inauguration on 20 January. In the midst of it all will be teams of World War One Doughboy Reenactors & Volunteers with the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission. They will be handing out free poppy seed packets, telling people about the Centennial Commission's education programs, commemorative events, and memorial preservation projects. Read more about how the Commission is making a beachhead on Inauguration Day here.

369th Experience web site goes live

369th page logo

The 369th Experience section of the the World War One Centennial Commission we site is now live. A key component of the centennial  commemoration is the recreation of the 369th Regimental Band, the famous Harlem Hell Fighters regimental band, whose spirited arrangements of ragtime, jazz and blues first introduced European audiences to the novel sounds of this American music. Funded by a generous grant from The Coca Cola Foundation, the 369th Experience Student Band will be taught the history and repertoire of the original Harlem Hell Fighters Band and will retrace their steps of the, performing the band's repertoire at centennial celebrations in New York City; Brest and Paris, France; and a host of other historical locales. Find out more about the 369th Experience here.

WWrite blog explores influence of WW1 on contemporary writing and literature

WWrite page logo

The World War One Centennial Commission is excited to announce the launch of a new blog, WWrite that features military veteran authors and will survey and analyze the influence of WW1 on contemporary writing. Jennifer A. Orth-Veillon, who holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Emory University, curates the WWrite blog from the perspective of a writer, scholar, teacher, and French-English scholar specializing in the literature of war and the experience of the American veteran. Read more about this unprecedented project here.

National WW1 Memorial sculpture intended to "transport the viewer’s mind to a war that happened 100 years ago"

Sketxch Detail 300

The National World War One Memorial at Pershing Park in DC is moving along, progressing through the processes of review, design updates, and fundraising. Some of the noteworthy changes are beautiful new drawings for the design concept, created by the project's sculptor, Sabin Howard. One of the world's leading classicist sculptors, Howard's role in this project may be his most challenging master-work yet. He is developing the design for a 75 foot-long bronze bas-relief wall, which will figuratively depict the emotional story of American people who were affected by the war - soldiers, family members, children. Read more about Howard's innovative approach to the evolving art.

ABMC takes ownership of Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Cemetery


The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) officially assumed ownership and responsibility for the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Cemetery (LEMC) on January 9, 2017. LEMC commemorates the birthplace of American combat aviation, and serves as a symbol of the Franco-American comradeship during World War One. ABMC Chairman Merrill A. McPeak said “It’s fitting that ABMC, whose mission is to honor the service and sacrifice of U.S. armed forces, assume responsibility for preserving this historic site honoring America’s pioneering combat airmen.” Find out more about this new ABMC facility here.

Centennial Commemorative Lapel Pin: $4.95

lapel pin

Face it - the WW1 commemoration is NOT A SECRET SOCIETY... So put your connection to the WW1 Centennial right on you lapel with this satin nickel lapel pin. It is a simple, yet meaningful, way to display your pride and connection to the centennial. You have no idea of the thrill you'll get when some stranger wearing the same pin approaches you at some unexpected moment. Just order a few of these today. What are you waiting for? 2019?

Charm Pendant

Oh... and if lapels are not part of your couture - you may be interested in the more "charming" version... order this commemorative Charm Pendant: $9.95


Both are available in the official merchandise shop. Part of all proceeds go to build the memorial. Order up!

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