previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
next arrow

World War I Centennial News



09d2e94f c504 49db 9eff eba3a64fd612 AP19189697649277In this 1919 photo provided by Chicago History Museum, a crowd of men and armed National Guard stand in front of the Ogden Cafe during race riots in Chicago. (Photo: AP) 

Hundreds of black Americans were killed during 'Red Summer.' A century later, still ignored 

By The Associated Press
via the USA Today newspaper web site

America in the summer of 1919 ran red with blood from racial violence, and yet today, 100 years later, not many people know it even happened.

It flowed in small towns like Elaine, Arkansas, in medium-size places such as Annapolis, Maryland, and Syracuse, New York, and in big cities like Washington and Chicago. Hundreds of African American men, women and children were burned alive, shot, lynched or beaten to death by white mobs. Thousands saw their homes and businesses burned to the ground and were driven out, many never to return.

It was branded "Red Summer" because of the bloodshed and amounted to some of the worst white-on-black violence in U.S. history.

Beyond the lives and family fortunes lost, it had far-reaching repercussions, contributing to generations of black distrust of white authority. But it also galvanized blacks to defend themselves and their neighborhoods with fists and guns; reinvigorated civil rights organizations like the NAACP and led to a new era of activism; gave rise to courageous reporting by black journalists; and influenced the generation of leaders who would take up the fight for racial equality decades later.

"The people who were the icons of the civil rights movement were raised by the people who survived Red Summer," said Saje Mathieu, a history professor at the University of Minnesota.

Read more: Hundreds of black Americans were killed during 'Red Summer.' A century later, still ignored

From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

WWI Now: An Interview with Commissioner and National WWI Museum President Dr. Matthew Naylor  

CN PodcastLogo Final gray lower

In July 29th's edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 133, host Theo Mayer spoke with Dr. Matthew Naylor. Dr. Naylor is an accomplished non-profit executive, a World War I Centennial Commissioner, and Chief Executive of the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, MO. Read on to learn more about Dr. Naylor, the National Memorial and Museum, and how it complements the future memorial in Washington, D.C. (and vice versa). The following is a transcript of the conversation, lightly edited for clarity: Naylor 200Matt Naylor

Theo Mayer: It's time to fast-forward into the present with World War I Centennial News now. During this part of the podcast, we explore how World War I is being remembered and commemorated today. Many of you may know about, and may even have visited the amazing, memorable, and thoroughly unique National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City. It's a stunning venue overlooking the historic Kansas City Union Rail Station, a central hub that 100 years ago was a nexus for young recruits, both leaving and returning home from World War I. So when you go there and walk around, it's as if the very ground of the whole area is infused with World War I history.

And so it's with great pleasure that I welcome our next guest, Dr. Matthew Naylor, the president and CEO of the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. Dr. Naylor is a native of Australia. He's also a commissioner on the World War I Centennial Commission. Commissioner Naylor, welcome to the podcast.

Matthew Naylor: Glad to join you.

Read more: Podcast Article - Dr. Matthew Naylor interview


Batavia History 1919 Soldier homecoming photo bw copy cropBatavia, Illinois in 1919 welcomed home its men and women 19who served in the armed forces in World War I. Among those welcomed was Wilton Folsom Hoag, whose name would unite cities in two nations decades later. 

Kane County, IL History: Batavia’s WWI French Connection 

via the Kane County Connects (IL) web site

In January, 1997, students of the Junior High School in Saint-Aignan-Sur-Cher, France, sent a letter to the “City Archives” of Batavia, in hopes of learning more about “W. F. Hoag.”

The eighth- and ninth-graders were studying World War I, and as part of a class project were attempting to track down American soldiers that had left their names scratched into the limestone caves and buildings in the nearby town of Noyers-sur-Cher.

“W. F. Hoag BA – – – IA ILL.” was found on the front façade of the home the students’ history and geography teacher, Christian Couty. It took a bit of puzzling, but the only town that fit that pattern of letters was Batavia, IL.

This letter was passed from the city to Batavia Historical Society Historian Bill Wood, who knew exactly who W. F. Hoag was. An educator himself, he knew what an amazing opportunity this was for the students and got straight to work gathering information about the man and Batavia for the class to enjoy.

Wilton Folsom Hoag was a well-known name in town. He was the last living WWI veteran in Batavia, and had just died the year prior, June 22, 1996, at the grand age of 102.

He was born Dec. 4, 1893, in Nebraska, but his father, an established windmill builder, came to Batavia to work at Challenge Company about 1911. Wilton had already followed in his father’s machinist footsteps when America entered World War I in 1917.

Wilton enlisted, and was sent to France, where his skills were put to good use.

From April 1 to Dec. 25, 1918, he was part of the 15th Company 2nd Regiment of Air Service Mechanics, where he helped rebuild “Spad” airplanes used by both the U.S. Army Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps.

It was this talented young man that engraved his name into the limestone building in France. 

Read more: Kane County, IL History: Batavia’s WWI French Connection


New Peer Program to Recognize Fund Raising Support for WWI Veterans Commemorations

The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission Announces the "A.E.F. Memorial Corps"

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission has announced the “A.E.F. Memorial Corps” (American Expeditionary Forces Memorial Corps) to recognize Veterans, Military, Patriotic, Historical, Service, and Community organizations that raise funds to help build and provide ongoing support for the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.

AEF Memorial Corps buttonThe A.E.F. Memorial Corps will induct national, state, or local organizations (or any local chapters such as American Legion or VFW posts) which hold fundraisers for the benefit of the national World War I Memorial. Those Legion and VFW Posts which have already made donations to help build the Memorial will be inducted at the organization’s respective national conventions this summer.

The A.E.F. Memorial Corps supports remembering those veterans who served in WWI, and the ongoing remembrance of their stories. It will be operated by the Doughboy Foundation, the fundraising organization for new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC which is being created by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission. The Memorial is located in Pershing Park, on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, near the White House, and is being built with private funds from corporate, organizational, and individual donations. More information about the Memorial is here: http://ww1cc.org/memorial.

“There have already been some wonderful and generous fundraising efforts for the new National WWI Memorial by local posts of the Legion and VFW, chapters of the DAR, and other groups around the nation,” said Dan Dayton, the Executive Director of the Commission. Dayton notes that many Legion and VFW Posts carry the name of a WWI veteran as their post’s namesake.

“The A.E.F. Memorial Corps has been created to give appropriate recognition to all organizations around the country, and internationally, who want to help ‘Keep Faith with the Doughboys’ by contributing to the building and ongoing support of the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.” he concludes.

Read more: The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission Announces the "A.E.F. Memorial Corps"



4th Annual Camp Doughboy World War I History Weekend in September

via the Governors Island.com (NY) web site

The fourth annual Camp Doughboy World War I History Weekend comes to Governors Island National Monument on September 14 and 15. Each day will bring living history, reenactors, authors, experts, vintage vehicles, and animals. This is the largest free public WWI exhibition in the United States.

Reenactors representing the Allies and Central Powers—as well as civilians in Edwardian-era attire—are invited living history participants. The centennial of the service members returning to Governors Island is in 2019 and this group of volunteer reenactors will share the story of WWI participants. See living history, weapons and equipment displays, and vintage vehicles.

All events are free, open to the public, and run 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday and 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Sunday on the Parade Ground. The events are sponsored by the U.S. WWI Centennial Commission, the WWI Centennial Committee for NYC, and the National Park Service.

Read more: 4th Annual Camp Doughboy WWI History Weekend in September


Ulysses Grant Moore 2Alma, Lucas, granddaughter of Ulysses Grant Moore, is presented with the American flag at the memorial service for the World War I veteran.

Honors given; marker placed; RIP, Private 

By Richard Mize
via The Oklahoman (OK) web site

Richard Mize remarks given Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at Trice Hill Cemetery at the much-belated memorial service for World War I U.S. Army veteran Pvt. Ulysses Grant Moore, whose forgotten grave marker was finally placed, and military honors bestowed, 55 years after he died.

Ulysses Grant MooreUlysses Grant MooreGood morning and welcome! We are here to give belated honors to Army Private Ulysses Grant Moore, a century after he served in World War I, and 55 years after he died. Why such honors were overlooked, and why this marker never made it here to his burial site are unknown.

My name is Richard Mize. I am pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, and the real estate editor for The Oklahoman. It has been my privilege to help make this moment happen.

It took a compelling series of discoveries that started by happenstance.

An elder at church happened to be chatting over the back fence with a neighbor. The neighbor happened to say, "Do you know anything about this grave marker? This 55-year-old marker? For World War I?" It was just across the property line, in the man's back yard, where a shed had recently collapsed and cleaning it up had revealed it. The elder said, "Well, no!"

I happened to be pastor of the church, and I happened to be in a position at The Oklahoman to report it, and to help get it where it has long belonged.

All that happened to happen. But, at a time when duty seems to have gone out of style, and even honor seems to be in short supply, I call it a God thing.

Duty and honor are God things.

I’ve been thinking about some things for weeks now regarding U.G. Moore. 

Read more: Honors given; marker placed; RIP, Private


treaty of versailles wwi germany gettyimages 3286596Germans take war machines apart outside Berlin under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles Germany. This tank is in fact a British tank, captured and put into service by the Germans during World War I. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images) 

After the Treaty of Versailles

Germany's World War I Debt Was So Crushing It Took 92 Years to Pay Off 

By Erin Blakemore
via the History.com web site

At the end of World War I, Germans could hardly recognize their country. Up to 3 million Germans, including 15 percent of its men, had been killed. Germany had been forced to become a republic instead of a monarchy, and its citizens were humiliated by their nation’s bitter loss.

Even more humiliating were the terms of Germany’s surrender. World War I’s victors blamed Germany for beginning the war, committing horrific atrocities and upending European peace with secretive treaties. But most embarrassing of all was the punitive peace treaty Germany had been forced to sign.

The Treaty of Versailles didn’t just blame Germany for the war—it demanded financial restitution for the whole thing, to the tune of 132 billion gold marks, or about $269 billion today.

How—and when—could Germany possibly pay its debt?

Nobody could have dreamed that it would take 92 years. That’s how long Germany took to repay World War I reparations, thanks to a financial collapse, another world war and an ongoing debate about how, and even whether, Germany should pay up on its debts.

Allied victors took a punitive approach to Germany at the end of World War I. Intense negotiation resulted in the Treaty of Versailles’ “war guilt clause,” which identified Germany as the sole responsible party for the war and forced it to pay reparations.

Read more: Germany's World War I Debt Was So Crushing It Took 92 Years to Pay Off


IMG 6573Members of American Legion Post #1 in Paris, France participated in the parade of the veteran flags at Versailles, France as part of the events marking the centennial of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. 

Four Questions Vice Commander Bryan Schell, American Legion Post #1

"We are a very high visibility American Legion Post since we are located in Paris, France."

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission

Our Commission's recent commemoration efforts in Versailles, France put us in touch with some friends whom we haven't seen in a while -- the members of the world-famous American Legion Post #1 in Paris. These Legion members stand on a long tradition, one that celebrates a direct line to our World War I veterans. Post #1 is the first, and the oldest, American Legion post outside of the United States, and was created by people who had just seen the Great War end months before. Since that time, they have fulfilled a unique and special role in representing our American veterans in France, and throughout Europe. Vice Commander Bryan Schell took some time to tell us about his special post, their history, and their current activities.

You have a very historic Legion Post. Tell us about it.

Bryan SchellBryan SchellParis Post 1 is a legacy post for the American Legion, it was created when American soldiers were still in Europe after WWI. It was a time when up to 2 million U.S. soldiers had just finished with a bloody war, and they had to wait sometimes up to 2 years to get a ship back to the USA. Some soldiers never made it back, some stayed because they fell in love or they had started a new life.

The idea of the American Legion was created in Paris in 1919 by these soldiers, and Paris Post 1 was opened up the same year. It is the first, and the oldest, American Legion post outside of the United States. We have been able to maintain our post during many difficulties including WWII when Paris Post 1 had to temporarily move to New York City during the Nazi occupation of Paris. One of our American Legion members stayed behind and joined the French resistance only to be executed by the Nazis while trying to defeat Germany.

Your Post has a very historic building as its home, and there is also a remarkable memorial there. Tell us about them.

In the early 1930's, the American Legion Building was created, and later renamed in honor of General Pershing as Pershing Hall. It served as the home for Paris Post 1 for many years, until the building fell into preservation issues. Since this time, we have survived outside of Pershing Hall with the hopes of returning in the future. The building is currently going through much needed historical preservation, and it will be re-developed over the next couple years.

Read more: Four Questions Vice Commander Bryan Schell, American Legion Post #1 in Paris


5d2f8452757b1.imageVeterans stand for the "Salute to the Services" medley during a celebration marking the restoration of the World War I Memorial Entrance at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Preston.

Fillmore County WWI memorial entrance restored for 100th anniversary 

By Noah Fish
via the Post Bulletin newspaper (MN) web site

PRESTON, MN — Fillmore County is a red, white and blue district.

"Fillmore County remembers its history," said Nathan Pike, the Olmsted County veteran’s service officer and emcee of last week's celebration of the restoration of the World War I Memorial at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds entrance.

Fillmore County WWI memorial entranceThe World War I Memorial Entrance at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Preston was restored to mark it's 100th year. The structure was built 100 years ago, erected to honor soldiers returning from World War I.

"There were over 1,000 residents of Fillmore County that enlisted or were drafted into service during the first World War," said Pike. "Forty-eight of them were killed in action, and they did not return to Fillmore County."

Col. Joe O’Connor called for a moment of silence for those 48 men. He said the Lanesboro American Legion Post #40 is named after Henry M. Guttormson, the first casualty of WWI from Fillmore County.

"This entrance is a lasting tribute to WWI veterans, their families and the history of Fillmore County," O'Connor said.

About 50 people gathered for Tuesday's rededication. But in August 1919, about 10,000 gathered in that same spot to welcome soldiers home, Pike said. A good chunk of those soldiers showed up in uniform. O'Connor said they served barbecued beef at the event 100 years ago, and veterans were given free cigarettes and peanuts.

Sgt. Josh Krage, of Preston, talked about the emotions the memorial can generate.

Military service is "an emotional time for each and every one of us that has served," said Krage. "So when Col. (O'Connor) got emotional, I think we all did as veterans, because we know what we go through."

Krage reflected on what it means to be a veteran, and the weight that veterans carry.

"We understand what it's like on a fallen soldier detail, as we fold and hand the flag to a loved one," Krage said. "Or as we do the gun salute, we understand the emotions that come with it, because we understand that could have been us."

A parade of veterans from different segments of the armed forces assembled at the Trailhead in Preston and marched over the Fillmore Street bridge to the fairgrounds entrance, where retired and active military personnel, along with local residents, were waiting. Trainer planes from the WWII era flew overhead during the presentations.

Aside from the updated sign, renovations were made to the entrance to restore its structure before Tuesday's event. Sagging roof boards were repaired or replaced. Two large flagpoles were repaired, and the original turnstiles were sandblasted and repainted. The Fillmore County Fair Board used money from a Clean Water Legacy Heritage Fund grant, and funding from Harmony, Preston and Lanesboro Area Community Foundations. The Preston Historical Society and various local VFW posts also contributed to the restoration. 

Read more: Fillmore County WWI memorial entrance restored for 100th anniversary


Dilboy with headstoneGeorge Dilboy, killed on a battlefield near Belleau, France, was the first Greek-American soldier who fell in the line of duty in World War I. 

George Dilboy, The First Greek-American who Fell in WWI 

By Philip Chrysopoulos
via the GreekReporter.com web site

It was on this day in 1918 that George Dilboy was killed on a battlefield near Belleau, France after fighting so courageously that he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, America’s highest medal for bravery. Dilboy was the first Greek-American soldier who fell in the line of duty.

The Greek-American’s conspicuous heroism was so outstanding that he was recognized and honored by three US presidents. Woodrow Wilson signed the authorization awarding Dilboy the Medal of Honor, Warren G. Harding brought his remains back to be buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery, and Calvin Coolidge presided at his final burial there.

Born in Alachata, in Western Anatolia, in 1896, Dilboy’s Greek name was Γεώργιος Διλβόης, which was Americanized when his family emigrated to the United States.

Andrew T. Kopan wrote about Dilboy in an article titled “Defenders of the Democracy: Greek Americans in the Military”, in the Greek-American Review, in September of 1998.

According to Kopan, “After the Balkan War of 1912-13, his family fled to America to avoid persecution from the Turks… On July 25, 1917, he was assigned to company H, 103rd Infantry, 26th Division. He was sent with his company to France and took part in the Champagne-Marne defense and the Aisne-Marne counter offensive.”

The official citation of Dilboy’s Congressional Medal for Bravery reads: “Private Dilboy, accompanying his platoon leader to reconnoiter the ground beyond, was suddenly fired upon an enemy machine gun, rushed forward with his bayonet fixed through a wheat field toward the gun emplacement.”

Dilboy fell “within twenty-five yards of the gun, with his right leg nearly severed and with several bullet holes in his body. With courage undaunted, he continued to fire into the emplacement from a prone position, killing two of the enemy and dispersing the rest of the crew,” the citation notes.

Dilboy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest medal America can bestow upon a soldier, which was presented to his father, Antonios Dilboy.

Read more: George Dilboy, The First Greek-American who Fell in World War I


Milford celebrates: 100 years ago, World War I ended and the American Legion was born 

By Susan Bromley
via the Hometown Life (USA Today newspaper) web site

The American Legion in Milford is celebrating 100 years since the end of World War I and the birth of America’s largest veteran’s organization.

Ernest OldenburgErnest F. Oldenburg was a soldier from Milford, MI killed in action in World War I. The American Legion Post 216 in Milford is named after him. An open house was held July 21 at the Ernest F. Oldenburg American Legion Post 216, 510 W. Commerce Road, Milford.

World War I formally ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919 and its subsequent ratification.

“At the end of WWI, President Theodore Roosevelt and 200 soldiers met in Paris, and they had talked about making a veterans organization to take care of the fallen and wounded soldiers when they got back home,” said Bonnie Welbaum, 20-year member of the Milford post. “The Legion helps veterans and their families get benefits.”

The American Legion Post in Milford originated in the Grand Army Republic (GAR) building in 1919, formerly used by Civil War soldiers, in front of the Presbyterian church on Main Street, she said.

Around 1945, Henry Ford sold the property at 510 W. Commerce Road in Milford to the American Legion with the stipulation that the post be named after his friend Ernest F. Oldenburg, a soldier from the Milford area who served with the 32nd Red Arrow Division and was killed in action in France in 1918. In 1946, the new building opened.

The American Legion Post in Milford currently has about 200 members from all over the area, but veterans from World War II and the Korean War are passing quickly and many are homebound and are unable to attend monthly meetings or be actively involved. Vietnam veterans are also aging and Welbaum hopes that the open house will attract new veterans to become involved.

Anyone interested in joining the Legion needs to bring discharge papers and have served during wartime. Welbaum notes that anyone who has served in the military after Sept. 11 is eligible for the American Legion as this time period has been determined to be the war on terrorism.

Family members of veterans also are eligible to join support groups including the Auxiliary, Riders, and Sons of the American Legion. Veterans who haven’t served during war time can join AMVETS.

Read more: Milford celebrates: 100 years ago, World War I ended and the American Legion was born


5cea2c8eab7ca.imageThe World War I-era French Gratitude Train sits in an enclosed area at Sarg Hubbard Park in Yakima. 

It Happened Here: Veterans monuments installed at Sarg Hubbard Park in Yakima, WA

By Donald W. Meyers
via the Yakima Herald-Republic newspaper (WA) web site

“The beginning of the end of war lies in remembrance.”

— Herman Wouk

As people in Yakima honored the nation’s and area’s war dead this Memorial Day, one of the places they went is Sarg Hubbard Park.

There, at the end of the park’s main drive, are monuments to several of the nation’s 20th- and 21st century wars.

“Right there, in that one spot, in a 270-degree arc you can see memorials to World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the desert wars,” said Al Brown, former executive director of the Yakima Greenway Foundation, which oversees the park.

The first of the memorials, a boxcar from the French Mercí Train, was dedicated in 1990, where it stands as a reminder of World War II and America’s efforts to help rebuild Europe after the war. In response to the Friendship Train donations of food and clothing to Europe, the people of France responded with a 49-car train containing a variety of gifts for Americans, ranging from a carriage used by King Louis XV to tree seedlings.

The cars were known as “40 and 8s,” for the signs on their side indicating their capacity — 40 men or eight horses. In World War I, American Doughboys were ferried to the front lines in such box cars.

After their arrival by ship in February 1949, the French gratitude cars were distributed to each state, with the District of Columbia and the then-Territory of Hawaii sharing one. Washington’s arrived later that month in Seattle and was eventually moved to Olympia, where it languished near the state Capitol until a member of the Yakima County chapter of the Society of 40 and 8 veterans group spotted the moss-covered, vandalized relic in the 1970s.

With help from local businesses and then-U.S. Rep. Sid Morrison, the 40 and 8 veterans group moved the car to Yakima where it was restored and put on display at Sarg Hubbard Park in a covered pavilion.

The car, which has had a few touch-ups since then, bears the crests of each of the French provinces. Its care was recently turned over to the Greenway Foundation, as the veterans group became too small to manage it.

Read more: It Happened Here: Veterans monuments installed at Sarg Hubbard Park


5d2c19ec8e1c2.imageLion's Club President and former Idaho State VFW Commander Kenny Alsterlund speaks during a memorial service for Lester Dean Hayton, who went missing in action during WWI. on July 20, 1918.

Memorial honors Palouse, ID soldier lost to war a century past 

By Scott Jackson
via the Moscow-Pullman Daily News (ID) newspaper web site

It has been more than a century since the city of Palouse received word that it had lost one of its sons to the world’s first truly global war.

Lester Dean Hayton moved to Palouse with his family in 1913, when he was 21. Six years later, Hayton’s family would receive word that he had gone missing in action following the Battle of Chateau-Thierry during World War I, and was presumed dead.

On the 100-year anniversary of the notice, Palouse resident Brad Pearce led a memorial Sunday for the man at the city’s Hayton-Greene Park beneath an iron archway that bears Hayton’s name and that of another of the small town’s fallen — Cpl. William Greene.

Pearce said he is not related to either man, but felt a responsibility to commemorate their sacrifice.

“I got really interested once I found out that the park was actually called the Hayton-Greene Park because everyone just calls it the Palouse Park,” Pearce said. “I wanted to do something to raise awareness and to teach people about why the park is called this and to know who this person was.”

Pearce said he was able to glean some insight into Hayton’s life through records of the town’s newspaper and by all accounts, his was “the classic WWI story.”

“He was a strapping young farmer, he was a devout Christian who was involved in the church and in Sunday school, and when it came time, he was in the first round of people that were drafted to go to France,” Pearce said. “He didn’t ask for an exemption and he was part of a small group of people that were in the original wave of people from our county to go fight overseas.”

Read more: Memorial honors Palouse, ID soldier lost to war a century past

"Pershing" Donors

$5 Million +

Founding Sponsor
PritzkerMML Logo

Starr Foundation Logo

The Lilly Endowment