DISPATCH: October 31, 2017

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October 31, 2017

Ceremonial Memorial groundbreaking Nov. 9 to live-stream on Commission Facebook page 


The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission will host a ceremonial groundbreaking for America's World War I Memorial on Thursday, November 9, 2017, 11:00 am EST, at Pershing Park in Washington, DC. It will be available for viewing via a live-stream on the Centennial Commission's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ww1centennial/.

The Honorable David J. Shulkin, 9th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Guests of Honor will include The Honorable David J. Shulkin, 9th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs (right), senior military & veteran leaders, as well as Centennial Commission members, members of the historical/cultural community, U.S. and city officials, and major donors. U.S. Military Academy Cadets, the Pershing Rifles Group, and the US Army Band's "Pershing's Own" Brass Quintet are also expected to participate. Read more about the ceremony here.

Veterans History Project schedules WWI special programs for Veterans Day 2017


The Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project (VHP) will celebrate Veterans Day, between Nov. 7 to Nov. 11, with live book talks and a variety of performances, guided tours, workshops and other activities. The series of events, titled “Coming Home: Veterans Day at the Library of Congress,” will take place in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library. From a letter-writing event for active-duty service personnel to examining objects a World War I soldier needed, these activities intend to honor and recognize veterans and their families and explore the ways military men and women have connected to home and family during and after service from World War I, Vietnam and the current conflicts. Read more about the program here.

"He was just a boy who marched away to serve and die for our country, in the war that is often forgotten."

Carl's Story

On November 10, 2008, the eve of the 90th Armistice Day, Noretta Willig's phone rang. A genealogist from Oregon working for the US Army identified her as the next of kin of her uncle, Carl Willig, who had been killed, but his body lost, in 1918 during the battle of St. Mihiel. Now, thanks to a fortuitious discovery in an isolated wood in France, Carl had been found. "From that second," says Noretta, "I was compelled -- I would even say driven – to write Carl’s Story." This thoughtful book, written as a Commemorative Partner of the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, tells the compelling story of how "Through a long and extraordinary series of coincidences, described in the book, Carl was found and identified. Then, after almost a century, Carl came home. Home at last." Read more here about the making of the book, the people and organization who helped bring Carl home again, and the powerful effect this journey had on the author herself.

War Horses 103 years on: Horse Heroes WWI memorial fund nears $1 million

Brooke USA

Some 103 years ago this month, the first of America’s horses and mules exported to join the World War One war effort in Europe left their homes. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the US entering WW1, and Brooke USA’s Horse Heroes campaign has raised nearly $900,000 of its million-dollar goal to honor the memory of those horses by raising funds to improve the welfare of working equines around the world. Brooke USA, an official Commemorative Partner of the United States World War I Centennial Commission, is raising one dollar in memory of each of America’s horses and mules who served in World War I. Read more about Brooke USA and the Horse Heroes campaign here.

North Carolina scholar decoded German World War I secret correspondence

Charles Jastrow Mendelsohn

Not every North Carolinian who served in the armed forces during the First World War carried a gun on the battlefields of France. Some were administrators. Others served as nurses, artists, naval officers, and chaplains. At least one NC person served as a cryptographer—someone who specializes in encrypting and decrypting sensitive information—during the war period: Wilmington native Charles Jastrow Mendelsohn. The entirety of his year-long military term was spent stateside at posts in Washington D.C. and New York City where Mendelsohn led at team tasked with decrypting intercepted German diplomatic correspondence. Read more here about how a professor of ancient languages at the City College of New York helped the U.S. read the enemy's mail during WWI.

National WWI Museum event looks at Great War's resistance and impact

Dora Maendal of Fairholme (Man.) Hutterite Colony

While many events have honored heroism and sacrifice during World War I, a different kind of conference gathered in an unlikely place to pay tribute to those who opposed the Great War a century ago. “Remembering Muted Voices: Conscience, Dissent, Resistance and Civil Liberties in World War I Through Today” took place Oct. 19-22 at the National World War I Museum and Memorial. Museum president and CEO Matthew Naylor said the work of interpreting the First World War and its impact isn’t just to glorify heroism and sacrifice but to reveal the catastrophe of spilled blood. Historic peace churches were well-represented at the conference, which included 70 academic paper presentations and was attended by about 250 participants. Read more about the proceedings of this important event here.

The world forgot a 402-foot-long painting. Here's what happened when it was found.

Pantheon de la Guerre

Shortly after World War I broke out in 1914, two French artists could already predict that the conflict would take place on a scale unlike anything ever seen, so would demand a tribute on an equally unprecedented scale. More than 100 French artists — mostly older men who were not able to fight themselves — worked on Panthéon de la Guerre, the painting measuring a whopping 402 feet around and 45 feet tall. Depicting some 6,000 heroes of the Allied war effort, it was billed as the world's largest painting, and toured the world. But it wound up by 1940 sitting in a crate outside a Baltimore warehouse, wet, forgotten, and forlorn. Read more here about how the monumental work was rescued, refurbished, and found a permanent, dry home at the National World War I Museum.

Website Features -- the Official Bulletin

Official Bulletin

From 1917 to 1919, the Official Bulletin released daily reports on the war from the Committee on Public Information. The Committee on Public Information -- also known as the CPI -- was established by President Woodrow Wilson in order to engender positive national support for the war. The CPI was responsible for movies, posters, the Official Bulletin, cards, buttons, cartoons and more. Legendary Public Relations man George Creel was the Chairman of the CPI. Creel ensured that only the best news was broadcast and transferred across every medium. The goal of the CPI was to make sure that every American was absorbing the propaganda and pushing national favor towards the war effort.  Every day except Sunday, the World War One Centennial Commission web site re-publishes the Official Bulletin on the centennial of that issue's original publication date. Check out the Official Bulletin here.

WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast

Podcast Logo

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.

1st. Division begin the move to the front - still fresh faced and innocent

Episode 43

US troops quietly begin deployment to the western front | @01:15

British troops near mutiny - Mike Shuster | @06:55

Zeppelin L-49 captured intact - War in The Sky | @10:50

Announcing Ceremonial groundbreaking for America’s WWI Memorial in Washington DC -Facebook Live stream coming | @15:30

All about America’s WWI Memorial in DC - Edwin Fountain | @16:15

Junior Master Gardener Poppy Program update - Lisa Whittlesey | @24:10

Speaking WWI - the word is Nark! | @29:35

100C/100M project profile - Borough of Danville, PA - Jamie Shrawder | @31:00

International Caparetto, Kobarid and Karfreit - Commemoration | @36:10

First three American combat casualties - from 16th infantry | @37:35

The Franco-American links - US Centennial Commissioner Seifried | @39 :00 

About Aline Kilmer’s poetry - Peter Molin on WWRITE blog | @39:35

Buzz on Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome and selection of the Unknown Soldier | @40:45 

Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

fleece vest

Black Full Zip Fleece Vest - $39.95

It's fall! There is a chill in the air. The leaves are turning. The days are getting shorter. The smell of wood fires is wafting around. Yup... It's time to cozy up with this warm fleece vest.

The vest features a Black with white doughboy embroidery. 100% spun polyester, 12.5 Oz. Premium anti-piling fleece. 

It has full zip front with two side seam pockets. Mens’ sizes available S – 2XL.

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

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

Double Your Donation - Soldiers

Henry Zeller

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

Henry Zeller


Submitted by: Wanda Zeller Peterson {granddaughter}



Henry Zeller served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known August 28, 1918 to January 27, 1919..

My Grandfather Henry Zeller was in the United States Army, his service number (SN) was: 4 706 169. 

His dates of service: He was inducted at Carson, ND on August 28, 1918 and sent to Camp Lewis, WA. He served in the 166th Depot Brigade to September 6, 1918; Company H, 76th Infantry to discharge on January 27, 1919 at Camp Lewis, WA. He was only in for 5 months. He was a Private First Class.

He was born in the United States of parents who were Germans from Russia. He was very proud of his German Heritage and very proud to have served in the US Army. Decorations and Awards per the National Archives and Records Administration: WWI Victory Medal and WWI Victory Button (Bronze).

Read Henry Zeller's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.