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World War I Centennial News


Epic, 'harrowing' painting of war travels to PAFA for exhibit

By Stephan Salisbury
Via The Philadelphia Inquirer

Gassed being hung 500John Singer Sargent’s “Gassed” is hung after its journey from London to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.John Singer Sargent's monumental painting of soldiers in the aftermath of a World War One gas attack - simply titled Gassed - arrived Friday at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, a somber harbinger of a major exhibition.

The journey was no mean feat.

More than 20 feet long in its original frame, Gassed arrived encased in a huge, sturdy wood crate, "Fragile" stamped on the side.

Normally, the painting hangs in London's Imperial War Museums. But in connection with PAFA's enormous exhibition, "World War I and American Art," opening on Nov. 4 and running through April 9, Gassed has made an arduous trip to the United States.

It is only the second time the painting has been on U.S. soil since Sargent completed it in 1919. (The first visit was in 1999, when it traveled to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for a major Sargent retrospective.)

Read more: Epic, 'harrowing' painting of war travels to PAFA for exhibit

"1916: Total War" Symposium at National WW1 Museum & Memorial in Kansas City

By Joshua Venuti
Staff Writer

2016 Museum SymposiumThe National World War One Museum and Memorial in Kansas City will be hosting a World War One symposium on November 4th and 5th. The symposium is entitled “1916 | Total War” it explores the year of 1916 a year that had an immense impact on the war.

The symposium begins on Friday, November 4th, from 8:30am to 5:00pm, and there will be a cocktail dinner at 6:30pm. The symposium will continue on Saturday, November 5th, from 8:30am to 1:00pm. For those who wish to check in early, an early check in will be available on Thursday, November 3rd, at the museum from 3pm to 5pm and at the nearby Marriott from 6pm to 8pm.

The symposium will include presentations by accomplished members of the academic world and those who are involved in projects to commemorate the war’s centennial. The list of presenters include John Curatola (Professor of Military History at the US Army Command and General Staff College), Michael Kazin (Professor of History at Georgetown University), Lee Pollock (Executive Director at The Churchill Centre), Robert Delesandro (Deputy Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission and Chairman of The US World War I Centennial Commission), and more.

Read more: 2016 World War One Symposium Nov 4-5 in Kansas City, MO

Remembering, Honoring First Americans to Fight, Die in World War One

MOTT HAVEN, Bronx, NY−Artist Sabin Howard says his Bruckner Boulevard studio in Mott Haven is the perfect place for him to work with his mind and his hands.

Sabin video in BronxSabin Howard interviewed in his Bronx studio by News12.Sabin is part of a team selected by the United States World War One Centennial Commission to create a giant memorial in Washington, D.C.

"The whole story here is about a soldier that went through World War I, and it's not historically truthful, but it's emotionally truthful," Howard says. "It's a visual narrative, so what I've done is I've created a wall."

A 75-foot wall to be made of Bronze. It tells the story of a man who leaves his family, goes to war and returns home wounded to his wife and daughter.

"As you walk along this wall...you're going to see this story unfold," Howard says.

Howard says the memorial project is the first he's done for public display. It's also going to be one of the longest figurative compositions in the world.

The Centennial Commission says it is "impressed with Sabin's incredible work" on the project.

The rest of his work in a 33-year art career has been for private collectors.

Read more: Best of the Bronx: Artist Sabin Howard

Four Questions for Ryan Hegg

"Show our current−and next−generation of veterans that their service will be always valued"

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Ryan Hegg is the Director of the 2016 New York City Veterans Day Parade.

You have a great Veterans Day Parade coming up! Tell us about the many participants. What will we see there?

2016 NY Parade Logo Vets DayWe're expecting 30-40,000 participants, in nearly 300 units, and close to 200 floats and vehicles of all kinds (not including 2-300 motorcycles!). The Parade goes up historic Fifth Avenue, following the same route as many of the original homecoming parades for units returning home from World War One. It will be broadcast live on PIX11 and other stations on the Tribune network, as well as on AFN around the world and online at Military.com.

This parade is unique in that much of it is 'by veterans, for veterans'. Can you tell us about that aspect?

Our parade is a great collaboration between veterans and non-veterans. The older veterans who revived the Parade after it fell on hard times in the 1980s made it a point to actively include civilians in the organization and leadership of the Parade. After all, why should veterans have to throw their own Parade? The approach continues today, as post-9/11 veterans and their friends and supporters join the effort.

Read more: Four Questions for Ryan Hegg

How did participation in the First World War shape modern America?

By Melvin Small
via the LAWFARE blog

A review of Michael S. Neiberg's The Path to War: How the First World War Changed America (Oxford University Press 2016).

Michael S. Neiberg’s The Path to War: How the First World War Changed America seeks not only to tell the story of how Americans reacted to World War I but also to emphasize the significance of that “largely forgotten” war (p.7) in the shaping of modern America. The Path to WarNeiberg is the distinguished and prolific author of more conventional accounts of the outbreak of the Great War, its military history, and the ending of World War II, among other books. He concentrates on the various American publics’ opinions as he moves through the key events that determined their three-year shift from rooting for the British and French in 1914 to supporting President Woodrow Wilson’s call for war in the spring of 1917. Presidential decision-making—the subject of most books on American entry into the war—here takes a back seat to the positions promoted by citizens of all political views, ethnicities, and stations in life, as seen in magazines, cartoons, speeches, newspapers, and letters.

Read more: How Did Participation in the First World War Help Shape Modern America?

Fighting for Democracy in World War I—Overseas and Over Here

By Maurice Jackson
via History Now

Detail from a World War 1 recruiting poster, ca. 1918. (Gilder Lehrman Collection) The United States invaded Haiti, its southern neighbor, in 1915—effectively making it a US protectorate—citing concern over the influence of Germany and France, the financial and political instability of the country, and the “safety” of the newly opened Panama Canal. Yet as war loomed over Europe the US did not declare war with Germany right away, first breaking diplomatic relations on February 3, 1917. On April 2, 1917, President Wilson went before a joint session of Congress to request that war be declared. The Senate voted on April 4 and the House on April 6 to support his appeal.

War plans had been in the making, and “more than a month before the United States declared war, the First Separate Battalion (Colored) of the Washington, D.C., National Guard was mustered into federal service.” The regiment had at first been assigned to guard the buildings of the Federal Enclave, including the “White House, the Capitol, and other federal buildings, and facilities such as bridges and water supply, against possible enemy sabotage.”

Read more: Fighting for Democracy in World War 1—Overseas and Over Here


#COUNTDOWNTOVETERANSDAY update for October 24, 2016

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Thank you so much for helping us to make this Countdown To Veterans Day awareness campaign a success!

On Facebook, we have been able to gather 1,450 #CountdownToVeteransDay postings, bringing us some 941,000 Audience Impressions.

On Twitter, our collective efforts have yielded some 1,711 Posts by 332 Partner Users, earning a total Audience of 3,069,100 Impressions.

Combined -- the #CountdownToVeteransDay campaign has, to date, generated an total audience of about 4,010,100 people!

Thank you for helping us to tell people about our Veterans, their roles, their contributions, and their needs!

For more information, and for opportunities to honor America's Veterans, go to the Countdown to Veterans Day page.



Four Questions for sculptor Sabin Howard

"This Memorial must incite a conversation about the history of this country and the history of the world."

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Sabin Howard is the sculptor half of the partnership that is developing the design for the National World War One Memorial to be built in Washington, D.C.

The design-concept for the new National World War One Memorial in DC calls for a remarkable bas relief wall of sculpture that you are working on. Tell us about the wall, and your efforts to bring it to life.

Sabin HowardSabin HowardThe new National World War One Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, D.C. has, as part of its design concept, a 75-foot long bronze bas-relief sculpture, to honor the 4.7 million Americans who served in WW1, including the 116,000 who lost their lives. As sculptor for the project, I am responsible for creating an appropriate work of art for the wall. This wall is, in many ways, a visual centerpiece for the Memorial, and offers a creative canvas for us to tell the WW1 story.

Details are still very much open, as the review and approval process is still underway, and that regulatory process determines the final outcome. I can say, for the current version that I hope to present for review, I would like to create an allegorical version of the emotional journey that these war veterans experienced.

Since the wall is so long, I can see the possibilities of telling this story through different chapters, or acts, showing the call to arms, the battle, and the aftermath and loss. A recurring figure would be shown leaving his family, joining the battle, and returning home – or perhaps not returning. Figures depicting those who served would represent a spectrum of different American participants, including men and women of different ages, races, and wartime responsibilities.

Read more: Four Questions for sculptor Sabin Howard

Imperishable Inheritance: Sermon at the Memorial Service for Norman Prince and the Lafayette Escadrille

By Rear Admiral Margaret Grun Kibben, CHC, USN
Chief of Navy Chaplains

(Note: Rear Admiral Kibben delivered the Sermon at the Centennial Memorial Service for Norman Prince and the Lafayette Escadrille on Friday, October 14, 2016, at the Washington National Cathedral. The following is the text of the sermon.)

Imperishable Inheritance

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 ESV
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
1 Peter 1:3-12 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ...
John 6:37-40
Jesus said “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”

Kibben 1Rear Admiral Margaret Grun Kibben, CHC, USN, Chief of Navy ChaplainsA very good afternoon to all of you: members of the Prince family, representatives from the World War One Centennial Commission, and nos amis français. You have traveled from all corners of the world to give honor and tribute to Lieutenant Norman Prince, to share with his family the heritage from which they are privileged to have come, but perhaps most important, to remember all those who gave their lives in the war to end all wars, in sacrifice for the greater good. In this we are all inheritors, in as much as it is the legacy that they left which allows us the freedom to gather, which has preserved our countries’ liberty, and which has ensured that we maintain the privilege to worship freely the One who sustains us in the face of adversity and who remains with us throughout the ages.

In his 1896 Memorial Sermon, the Reverend Dr. John W. Sayers, Chaplain, Dept. of Pennsylvania, Grand Army of the Republic, shared this sentiment:

“Human life is of short duration. Of all our years but few may be devoted to the accomplishment of great purposes. ...

It is, therefore, not so much what men may accomplish in this life as it is what their work may do for the world after they are dead. ...

the good lives always to a noble purpose and keeps the world slowly moving toward the right.”

It would be 20 years later, when the few, whom we honor today, demonstrated their devotion to the accomplishment of great and noble purposes. The Great War which began as a local disturbance eventually spread into a worldwide struggle. And as war in Europe raged, it intensified through the use of dangerous new weapons which took over fields of livelihood and tranquility and turned them into desolate, trenched moonscapes littered with corpses and wreckage. But as horrified as Americans were with the ravages of war, they remained neutral, isolating themselves from any involvement.

Read more: Imperishable Inheritance: Sermon at the Memorial Service for Norman Prince and the Lafayette...

Four Questions for Commissioner Debra Anderson

"It’s important to remember all who serve our country"

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Debra Anderson mug 300Commissioner Debra AndersonDebra Anderson was recently appointed as a Commissioner of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). She is the Quartermaster General of the VFW.

Tell us about your background, and your military career.

I attended the University of Missouri-Columbia on an ROTC scholarship, where I majored in economics. In May 1980 upon graduation, I was commissioned in the Army as an AG (Human Resources) Second Lieutenant. My military assignments included Nuremberg/Furth, Germany; Fort Harrison, Ind.; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; and Fort McPherson, Ga. I deployed as part of the division headquarters with the 1st Infantry Division during Desert Storm in December 1990. I earned a master of science in systems management from the University of Southern California while in the Army.




Read more: Four Questions for Commissioner Debra Anderson

Remembering, Honoring First Americans to Fight, Die in World War One

By Jim Garamone
Via DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2016 — Norman Prince’s tomb is steps away from that of President Woodrow Wilson in the National Cathedral here.

DoD story artNorman Prince was a founder of the Lafayette Escadrille, a group of American pilots who were part of the French air force during World War I. Library of Congress photo In 1916, when Wilson was running for re-election as president under the slogan “He Kept Us Out of War,” Norman Prince was wearing the uniform of France and flying for the Lafayette Escadrille.

It was the second year of what was then known as the Great War, and Prince, a Harvard-trained lawyer, journeyed to France to offer his services against the Germans. It was the year of the Somme, the year of Verdun. Millions of soldiers on both sides were dying on the fields of France.

Prince became one of them Oct. 15, 1916.

100 Years Later

On Oct. 14, 2016, the National Cathedral and the United States World War I Commemoration Commission hosted a memorial service for French Air Force Lt. Norman Prince. His crypt is near the altar of the huge edifice and is fronted by a marble statue of him.

The Prince family came out in force to remember their relative. Also attending were French and American airmen -- joined together by the sacrifice of the young man and others like him. Prince never wore an American uniform, but he could be called one of the fathers of the United States Air Force. He was one of those who suggested the French air force field a squadron of Americans who came to the country to fight.

Dangerous Profession

And fight he did. Prince participated in 122 aerial engagements, shooting down five enemy aircraft, said Navy Chaplain (Rear Adm.) Margaret Grun Kibben, who delivered the homily at the service. He came from a privileged background, “but flying was in his blood,” she said.

Read more: Remembering, Honoring First Americans to Fight, Die in World War I

VFW’s Quartermaster General Debra Anderson Sworn In as a Commissioner to the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Swearing in 500VFW Quartermaster General Debra Anderson (left) is sworn-in as the newest Commissioner on the United States World War One Centennial Commission by Brandon Boyd, General Services Administration Deputy Director of the Office of Human Resource Services. The ceremony took place at VFW Headquarters in Kansas City, MO.Ms. Debra Anderson was sworn in on Monday, October 17th, 2016, as the newest Commissioner to the United States World War One Centennial Commission. She was appointed to the position by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) organization, where Ms. Anderson is the Quartermaster General. The swearing-in took place in a small ceremony hosted by the VFW National Headquarters in Kansas City.

The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission is a Congressional Commission, created to provide public outreach, education programs, and commemorative events for America’s involvement in World War One. Congress also authorized the Commission to create the new National World War One Memorial in Washington DC. Centennial Commission members are appointed by Congress, by the President of the United States, and by the American Legion and the VFW.

A special guest for the ceremony was Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-Missouri), who was an original sponsor for the bill that created the Centennial Commission. He stated "This is a great day for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and for the World War I Centennial Commission. Debra Anderson's leadership in these two outstanding organizations will bring teamwork and achievement, in our efforts to honor these veterans who went before us."

Read more: VFW’s Quartermaster General Debra Anderson Sworn In as a Commissioner to the U.S. World War I...


#COUNTDOWNTOVETERANSDAY update for October 17, 2016

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

More great effort from our remarkable partners!

On Facebook, we have been able to gather over 1,300 #CountdownToVeteransDay postings, bringing us some 902,000 Audience Impressions.

On Twitter, our collective efforts have yielded some 1,379 Posts by 287 Partner Users, earning a total Audience of 2,564,888 Impressions.

Thank you for your great help in generating awareness for our Veterans!

For more information, and for opportunities to honor America's Veterans, go to the Countdown to Veterans Day page.



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