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DISPATCH: September 19, 2017

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September 19, 2017 

Hamby elected as new U.S. World War I Centennial Commission Chair



The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission has elected Commissioner Terry Hamby as the new Chair of the organization. The election took place during the Commission's quarterly meeting on September 13th, in Washington, DC.  Hamby was selected to follow Chair Robert J. Dalessandro, who has led the group since 2014. "This is a huge honor for me," Chair Hamby said in his acceptance. "Both my father and my great uncle served in World War I. My great uncle was lost in the Battle of the Meuse Argonne. I will put my whole heart into this job." Hamby is a Viet Nam-era veteran, serving in the Navy during the war, and later in the Army Reserve, retiring with 26 years of service in 1993. Read more about the new Chair of the Centennial Commission  here.

Wentworth alumni fight to save WWI Doughboy statue from auction block


The Doughboy statue that has stood in front of Wentworth Military Academy in Missouri since 1923, commemorating the sacrifice of Wentworth cadets in WWI, stands now in the center of a legal battle pitting alumni against the school they once called home. Financial troubles forced Wentworth to close its doors in 2017. The school and all its property, including memorabilia like old uniforms, badges, photographs — and the Doughboy statue, by the American sculptor Ernest Moore Viquesney, one of only 139 ever made — are destined for auction on Oct. 7 to pay the school's debts. But the Wentworth Alumni Association is fighting to stop the sale of the Doughboy, claiming that the alumni, not the school, are its rightful owners. Read more about this legal battle whose roots reach all the way back back to the Great War.

United Tribes Technical College powwow in North Dakota honors tribal WWI vets


The United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) honored World War I veterans at its powwow in Bismarck, North Dakota, on 9-10 September. The Powwow is one of the largest Native American powwows in the nation, featuring hundreds of drummers and dancers from tribes all around the world. During a special honor song, the names of more than 350 tribal citizens who served in the World War I era were announced. Their families and descendants took part in the ceremony, along with other veterans, and representative of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission. Read more about the big powwow.

Met exhibit highlights how artists reacted to and represented World War I horrors

Met exhibit

Organized to commemorate the centennial of World War I, the World War I and the Visual Arts exhibition at the The Met Fifth Avenue in New York City will focus on the impact of the war on the visual arts. Moving chronologically from its outbreak to the decade after the armistice, World War I and the Visual Arts will highlight the diverse ways in which artists both reacted to and represented the horrors of modern warfare. The works on view will reflect a variety of responses, ranging from nationalist enthusiasm to more somber reflections on the carnage and mass devastation that resulted from the war. Read more here about this review of art's responses to the inconceivable carnage and destruction of WWI.

Naval War College hosts WWI period-accurate Army-Navy baseball game

Baseball and Uncle Sam

The Naval War College has announced that they will host a period-accurate baseball game between Army and Navy teams on Friday, September 29th at Cardines Field in downtown Newport, RI. The Army-Navy baseball game will be played in authentic uniforms of the World War I-era, and is a precursor to the opening of a new World War I exhibit at the Naval War College Museum this December. Baseball wasn't just for fun in 1917--it played a vital role in the arrival of U.S. forces into the WWI theater. Check out the fascinating historical background of this upcoming baseball contest, and Play Ball!.

WWI Centennial News Podcast

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The WW1 Centennial News Podcast is about WW1 THEN: 100 years ago this week, and it's about WW1 NOW: News and updates about the centennial and the commemoration. 

Available on our web site, iTunes, Google Play, and TuneIn.

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WWI Centennial News SPECIAL

"Part 1: The Great Debate"

This week and next week, we are going to break format as we present a two-part special podcast version of  “In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace”.

This two-part special is an adaptation from the live staged commemorative event the Commission produced on the April 6, 2017 centennial of America’s entry into  The War that Changed the World.

Edward Bilous as the artistic director, and Chris Christopher as the US WW1 Centennial Commission’s executive producer pulled together an amazing group of artists, historians musician, actors, and others for a live performance staged outdoors at the National WWI Museum and Memorial  in Kansas City to an audience of over 3,000 attendees.

For this two-part special we have excerpted key moments from the story that unfolds, the music that was performed and the readings from a cast of amazing actors, orators, musicians and other luminaries.

Part One examines the great debate in America about getting into the war.

WWrite Blog - A Common Language for Suffering and Healing: Greek Tragedy, Contemporary Veterans, and WWI: An Interview with Bryan Doerries

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As counterintuitive as it sounds, Theater of War Productions works to help heal contemporary combat veterans— with Greek tragedy. With over 600 performances and still counting, Theater of War represents one of the largest and most ambitious projects ever brokered between artists and the Department of Defense. The WWrite Blog was lucky enough to spend some time talking to artistic director, Bryan Doerries, about the ways in which Theater of War might enlighten us about the experience of WWI soldiers and military personnel throughout the Centennial year. Don't miss this week's post with one of America's most influential public artists!

Official WWI Centennial Marker Flag

Small official centennial flags

Get ready to honor our WW1 Doughboys for Veterans Day by ordering these small official WW1 Centennial Marker Flags.

They are perfect as remembrance grave site markers for our veterans on this special day - and by purchasing them you will also help to build America's National WWI Memorial in Washington DC honoring our Doughboys every day of the year. 

Get a dozen now as you #countdowntoveteransday. Ideal for the next few years during the centennial period!

The flags are made of durable nylon, and measure 8 inches x 12 inches, and feature the iconic Doughboy silhouette digitally screened onto the fabric. The flag is secured on a 15.75" wooden dowel with a decorative ball on top . 

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial.

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Gilbert Nelson Jerome

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of 

Gilbert Nelson Jerome


Submitted by: Laura A. Macaluso



Gilbert Nelson Jerome's Military Service Record, State of Connecticut is mostly blank. His mother neatly typed up answers as she could, but page three, in which the state asks questions like, "what was your attitude toward military service?" and "what were the effects upon yourself of your overseas experience?' would not be answered, since her son was killed in his bi-plane on July 11, 1918 in France. 

Although twenty-nine year old Gilbert wasn't able to answer those questions, he wrote often to his mother while serving, and it's safe to say that his experiences in WWI were similar to many others, infantry and airmen alike. During training and later, in between sorties, Gilbert and his cohort experienced long periods of down-time, when they would try to keep themselves busy reading, writing letters home or playing games. These quiet periods were often shattered with bad news--such as the day when Gilbert learned his bunkmate Ernest Leach, a minster's son from Cape Cod, was shot down in the same plane Gilbert had flown earlier in the day. 

Certainly no one was safe in the Great War years, civilians or those in service were all under siege from the Spanish flu and other diseases, as well attacks from the enemy. But, those who flew--in paper thin airplanes with mounted machine guns--had high rates of casualties. It didn't matter if you were the son of a president (Quentin Roosevelt was killed in action) or the son of a minister. Many of them died, and as was the custom during war, each was buried where they fell--overseas and far away from their homes and families.

Read Gilbert Nelson Jerome's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.

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