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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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April 4, 2016


National World War I memorial designer welcomed by Arkansas governor in homecoming visit
World War I Memorial designer Joe Weishaar, a graduate of the University of Arkansas, was greeted by Governor Asa Hutchinson and other dignitaries during a whirlwind visit to the state last week. The governor also announced the creation of the official Arkansas state centennial committee. Click here to read more about the events in Arkansas. Click here to help build the national World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Moving on down the road...
The World War I Centennial Commission moves this week into new offices at 1800 G Street, NW in Washington, one block away from our old offices. The new location offers considerably more space for interns and includes hoteling for official visitors and volunteers. Our official mailing address and phone number remain the same. We'll schedule a 'trench-warming after work' event sometime in the next few weeks. Plan to stop by!

Story of American volunteers highlighted in new National WWI Museum exhibition opening April 5
The United States’ declaration of war against Germany in April of 1917 is often cited as a turning point in World War I. However, the involvement of American citizens in the war effort actually transpired immediately at the onset of the war through volunteer contributions that assisted in sustaining the Allied Powers in the early years of conflict. The Volunteers: Americans Join World War I, 1914-1919, a new special exhibition at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, highlights these contributions from every day Americans who risked their lives in support of others. Click here to read more about the new exhibit opening this week.

Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Re-dedication scheduled for April 20, 2016
Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Arch
Among the most famous American volunteers early in WWI were the aviators of the Lafayette Escadrille. The memorial in France to the unit and its members will be re-dedicated on
April 20. Signature Event logoA new special section on the World War 1 Centennial Commission web site tells the story of the Lafayette Escadrille, the squadron, the heritage, the memorial , the re-dedication event, and an expanding series of articles about those pioneering and brave young Americans who went to France to fly before America entered the war. We invite you to explore and use our Contact to contribute.

“They flew on a wing and a prayer, because they flew without parachutes." Metal Sign
Metal sign - They Flew on a wing and a prayerLooking back at images of The Great War and recognizing the sacrifices made by a generation one century ago, inspired the designs of our metal signs collection.We hope you appreciate the combination of history and humor in each design.
This 8” x 12” embossed sign depicts historical images of fighter planes, limited in safety equipment, during World War One. This sentiment is also expressed in this great video showing the Kansas City Dawn Patrol who fly these aircraft today!
This and many other commemorative items are available in the Official Merchandise Shop.



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Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas announces state WWI committee creation
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March 28, 2016


This Marine wrote the book on Americans in WWI
Col. John W. Thomason, Jr., USMC, is all but forgotten now, but from 1925 through the Second World War he produced a stream of stunning stories, novels, and nonfiction, all enlivened with his inimitable sketches. Millions read him avidly. And nearly ninety years after its publication, his first book, Fix Bayonets!, remains the single finest account of Americans in battle in World War I. Read about this writer, artist, and Marine on the United States Marine Corps page of the World War I Centennial Commission site.

Memorial design team featured on C-SPAN3
Architect Joe Weishaar and sculptor Sabin Howard, the design team for the national World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C., were interviewed by C-Span | American History TV recently. The two talked about the ideas and symbolism behind the winning entry. Click here to watch this insightful program. Click here to help build the national memorial to the nearly five million men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces during WWI.

Honoring WWI soldiers through classical song
Baritone John Brancy and pianist Peter Dugan have been collaborative musical partners and friends since they met as students at the Juilliard School in 2007. Together they created A Silent Night: A WWI Centenary Tribute in Song which premiered on their first professional tour together as recitalists this past season. A Silent Night is a collection of classical and popular art songs written mostly by composers who lived through, fought, and died in the Great War. The musical project has been endorsed by the World War One Centennial Commission. Find out more about the program, and how you can help the singing continue.

Marine Devil Dog Statue - Limited Edition 12" Bronze Collector Statue.
Marine Devil Dog 12Marine Devil Dog Statue Inspired by the WWI Marine Chauchat gunner, somewhere in France late 1918.
The term “Devil Dog” has its origins at Belleau Wood where a dispatch from the German front lines to headquarters described the fighting abilities of the Americans as fighting like “Teufel Hunden”- “Hounds from Hell.”
The Marine gunner wears the AEF M1917 khaki drab uniform typically worn without collar insignia. His primary weapon is the French Chauchat (CSRG) machine gun, while a Colt .45 pistol serves as his sidearm.
His backpack is lightly loaded for the assault and he carries extra 20 round magazines for the Chauchat in a French-made haversack. His gas mask, worn in the “ready” position, helmet and gear are all U.S. issue.
A Certificate of Authenticity as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial is included.
This an many other commemorative items are available in the Official Merchandise Shop.


Matching Grant
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John W. Thomason, Jr.
Author, Artist, Marine
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March 7, 2016


Memorial design team at National Press Club
Architect Joseph Weishaar and sculptor Sabin Howard recently appeared at a National Press Club Newsmaker event in Washington DC to talk about their design for the national World War 1 Memorial, and the challenges of making their concept a reality. Look for a video publishing on the website this coming week of the presentation. Weishaar was profiled by ABC News, and other media coverage is anticipated. Good work by the team! Click here to help build the memorial.

Centennial of Pancho Villa raid on March 9
Pancho Villa’s raid on Columbus, New Mexico, and the Punitive Expedition into Northern Mexico commanded by General John J. Pershing, played a key role in spurring modernization of the U.S. Army, initiating changes that would pay huge dividends when America entered World War One a year later. At Pershing's side throughout these events was his aide, a young Second Lieutenant named George S. Patton, Jr. The commemoration of the centennial of the raid and response in Columbus this week will spotlight how this relatively small event in history would tie together two of the greatest military careers in American History.

Mike Shuster to join weekly Commission Sync Call
The World War 1 Centennial Commission holds a weekly informal Sync Call at noon on Wednesdays for WW1 Centennial Commissioners, volunteers, partners and enthusiasts who want to hear about the latest centennial news from the Commission and from around the country. The call usually runs about 30 minutes. If you aren't on the call already, click here to sign up for the notifications.

Starting on March 9, the Sync Call will have a new feature: Mike Shuster of The Great War Project will provide weekly contributions from his blog, highlighting the poignant voices of the war, and the war's legacy. A legend for his work on National Public Radio, Mike will make the content of the Sync Call even richer. Click here to get on the call!

Doughboy MIA project needs help at Archives
March 29 through April 1 the Doughboy MIA team will be working at the National Archives facility in College Park, MD to look for the Burial Cards for the Meuse-Argonne cemetery (and others). If you are free in the DC area on one of those days and would like to lend a hand, every available set of fingers is needed to go through over 300 boxes of cards on the initial list. Interested? Send an email to doughboy-mia@worldwar1centennial.org to join the hunt.

Featured on the Website This Week

In 1917 It was proven that angels DO exist!
Angels Do Exist SignThis 8” x 12” embossed metal sign depicts historical images of Red Cross nurses, who truly were angels to those they cared for, during World War One. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this item goes to fund the building of the national World War One Memorial in Washington, D.C.
You'll find this and many other commemorative items in the Official Merchandise Store.


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Joseph Weishaar photographed by ABC News
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February 22, 2016


A community in Mississippi comes together to honor all of its World War 1 veterans
When the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) renovated a historic WWI memorial building in Natchez, MS as new Federal Courthouse, the memorial plaques on the walls were incomplete: African American soldiers, as well as many white soldiers and women, had been left out when the plaques were initially dedicated in 1924. GSA partnered with the community in Natchez and local veterans groups to compile a complete and accurate accounting of all the Adams County World War I Veterans. Watch what happened.

Mint announces WWI Coin Design Competition
The United States Mint is calling on American artists to design a coin, to be issued in 2018, that will honor the accomplishments of heroes on the front line and the home front. The 2018 World War I American Veterans Centennial Silver Dollar will serve as a tribute to the bravery, actions and sacrifices of Americans a century ago, while providing a tangible touch point for generations to come. Read all about it.


American volunteers in the Battle of Verdun
This week marks the centenary of the Battle of Verdun, which began February 21st, 1916, and ran for 303 days. Verdun became one of the longest and costly battles in human history. The United States did not enter the war until 1917, however some unofficial assistance from was already being provided for the Allies by the start of Verdun. American volunteers played a significant role in the front line of the battle, performing as an ambulance drivers, fighter pilots, soldiers, and other duties. Read about the American volunteers who led the way.

What you may not know about the Battle of Verdun
100 years ago this week the Battle of Verdun,one of the most ferocious battles of World War I, began with a hail of German artillery fire on French positions surrounding the fortified city of Verdun. Our Commemorative Partner History marks the week with a look at 10 Things You May Not Know About the Battle of Verdun.

Classic Green Woolen U.S. Army Blanket
US Army BlanketStill proudly Made in the USA by Woolrich, Inc., the oldest continuously operating woolen mill in the United States since 1830, the blankets were originally purchased by the U.S. military to supply our troops. Designed to be used by soldiers in the barracks, this Limited Edition blanket features a heat-marked “U.S.” emblem on the center and an exclusive fabric garment label commemorating the U.S. centennial of World War One.
This and many more WWI commemorative items are available in the Official WWI Centennial Merchandise Store.



Double Your Donation
The rest of the WW1 Story of Service is told in Adams County, MS
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WWI Memorial Final Designer Selection This Month

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January 4, 2016

General Gordon Sullivan, USA (Ret.) Joins Commission Efforts

Arlington, VA - General Gordon R. Sullivan has agreed to join the commemoration as a Special Advisor to the Commission.

Sullivan retired from the United States Army on 31 July 1995 after more than 36 years of active service. He culminated his service in uniform as the 32nd Chief of Staff—the senior general officer in the Army—and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As the Chief of Staff of the Army, he created the vision and led the team that transitioned the Army from its Cold War posture. In August 1993, President Bill Clinton assigned the duties and responsibility of Acting Secretary of the Army to General Sullivan, who continued to serve as Chief of Staff.

He is the co-author, with Michael V. Harper, of Hope Is Not a Method (Random House, 1996), which chronicles the enormous challenges encountered in transforming the post-Cold War Army through the lens of proven leadership principles and a commitment to shared values. He serves on the boards of several major corporations, including Newell Rubbermaid. He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Norwich University; a director of the Institute of Defense Analyses, and the Chairman Emeritus of the Marshall Legacy Institute. Sullivan is also the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Association of the United States Army, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. He assumed his current position at the Association in February 1998. For his work with AUSA, he was awarded the prestigious Sylvanus Thayer Award by the United States Military Academy in 2003. (Wikipedia)



Happy New Year - 2016 will be a busy year!

Washington, DC - It will be a busy year for us indeed. First a Commission vote is scheduled for January 25th on a design concept for the National World War I Memorial at Pershing Park. You can Check out the the five final design concepts for the Memorial on the Stage II Design Development page of the Commission web site. The Commission will vote on the morning of the 25th, and a press conference follows at 2 p.m. EST at the National Press Club.

Also coming on the 20th of April near Paris, the French Ministry of Defense with the American Battle Monuments Commission will re-dedicate the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial. The Memorial is the final resting place of Americans who flew under the French flag prior to the U.S. entry into the Great War.

The Lafayette Escadrille was the brainchild of three individuals: Mr. Norman Prince of Boston, Massachusetts, Mr. William Thaw of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Dr. Edmond Gros, an American expatriate living in France. Seeking to aid the Allied cause, they lobbied officials in Paris to create an all-American squadron within the French Air Service. In need of more combat forces and ever-aware of the positive propaganda value Americans flying under the French flag could afford in garnering United States support for the Allied cause, French officials approved the concept on August 21st, 1915. Read more.



Thank You

Washington, DC - 2015 saw organizing committees spring up in every state and territory in the U.S. That activity is the result of the importance Americans place on the Great War and on our collective will to honor those who served then and now. Over 400 volunteers across the nation are working on education, planning, conferences, books, movies and social media to tell their story. To them we express our heartfelt thanks.

And to those of you who opened your wallets until it hurt, know that you have made a difference in how our great nation will be reminded of the sacrifices of those 4.7 million Americans who served a century ago.

Get a smile for only $14.95
WWI Pilot Metal Sign“They flew on a wing and a prayer, because they flew without parachutes."

During a summer outing through the country, our Official Merchandise partner discovered an estate sale at a farm full of overlooked history. After digging deep into a bin of dusty artifacts, they found a rusty old metal sign. There was a story behind that sign and it spoke about our country’s history! The idea intrigued them enough to design a series of 8" X 12" WWI metal signs that would convey the same feelings today - feelings of pride and gratitude, but of reminiscent humor as well. Check out the whole series in the Official Merchandise Shop.


Gordon R. Sullivan, President, AUSA
Gordon R. Sullivan, President, AUSA
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