World War I Centennial News


Four Questions for Chris Garcia

"The WW1 generation deserve to be remembered"

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

Chris Garcia is an Iraq War Vet who now works as a Education Coordinator at Virginia War Museum in Newport News, VA. He is also a leader in the World War I reenacting community, acting as the Sergeant Major to the Great War Association, which organizes the largest World War I reenactment events in the United States every year in Newville PA.

You are a Museum Education Coordinator and historian. Tell us about your career, and your interest in WWI.

Chris GarciaChris GarciaI started my career at the Virginia War Museum in April of 2008 as the Museum's Education Coordinator, where I am responsible for developing and supervising all of the Museum's Education and Youth programs, teaching Military History for everyone from elementary school children, to post-graduate military professional instruction.

Prior to the War Museum, I was in the Navy for nine years and participated in multiple combat operations in the Balkans and Iraq. I earned my BA in history in 1993 and my MA in history in 2012.

Read more: Four Questions for Chris Garcia

100 Cities / 100 Memorials program, manual and website have been updated

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By Theo Mayer
Program Manager, 100 Cities / 100 Memorials Program, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

As many of you are aware, earlier this month we extended the grant application deadline for our $200,000 matching grant giveaway for restoring and/or preserving WWI memorials from November 11, 2016 to June 15, 2017.

The extension, implemented by popular request, is proving to be a huge boon to excited participants who now have enough time to identify, research, plan and prepare WWI memorial projects to submit.

We are happy to announce that last week we completed our update to the competition manual, schedule and website.

We strongly recommend that all participants and interested parties download the updated competition manual or read the information online at ww1cc.org/100Memorials. We also urge you to subscribe to the blog (sign up on any page under the menu) so you will be automatically notified of all program information, updates, opportunities and resources. Click here to download the competition manual. Click here to go to the web site.

US Army Museum groundbreaking at Fort Belvoir

Army Museum Groundbreaking

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

The World War One Centennial Commission would like to congratulate General Gordon Sullivan (USA Retired) and the Army Historical Foundation on their recent groundbreaking ceremony of the National Museum of the United States Army on September 14 at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

The National Museum of the US Army will serve as a national landmark to honor America's Soldiers, preserve the history of America's oldest military service, and educate all Americans about the Army's service to our nation.

Read more: US Army Museum groundbreaking at Fort Belvoir

U.S. World War I Centennial Commission signs Partnership Agreement with Daughters of the American Revolution

By Joshua Venuti
Staff Writer

A new operational agreement has been reached between the World War 1 Centennial Commission and the Daughters of the American Revolution, for the commemoration of World War I.

The U.S. World War 1 Centennial Commission will endorse the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution World War I Centennial as an official project. In turn, from 2016 through 2019, the Daughters of the American Revolution will highlight the Centennial of World War I as a commemorative event. This new arrangement promises to help both organizations to foster the education about World War I for the people of the United States.DAR logo

Per the agreement, both organizations will operationally support each other at various scheduled public events. New education programs and public events will be created, specifically to promote the Centennial of World War I. In addition, editorial content will be shared between Centennial Commission and the Daughters of the American Revolution websites, and social media platforms.

Read more: U.S. World War I Centennial Commission signs Partnership Agreement with Daughters of the American...

World War 1 Living History comes to Ft. Jay at Governors Island, NY on September 17

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

Ft Jay NYNEW YORK – There will be a host of World War I-related activities on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at NYC's Governors Island. A platoon of living history reenactors will bring World War I Doughboys to Governors Island National Monument for a free exhibition. See demonstrations and hear stories as reenactors portray famous New York regiments, including the Harlem Hell Fighters, at Doughboy Day at Fort Jay.

The centennial of American involvement in the “Great War” is in 2017 and this group of volunteer reenactors will share the story of U.S. participation. Both men and women will be in full uniform and provide displays and talks about the role America played in World War I. It is free and suitable for all ages.


VFW senior leader appointed to Commission

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

Debra Anderson 300Commissioner Debra AndersonThe Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. has appointed VFW Quartermaster General Debra Anderson as a commissioner to the United States World War One Centennial Commission. She will be officially sworn in as a member of the commission in a ceremony later this year.

Anderson is a senior leader within the VFW, and the first Operation Desert Storm and woman elected to serve as the 117-year-old organization’s chief financial officer. She is a 13-year Army veteran who graduated with a bachelor’s in economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she attended on an ROTC scholarship. Her awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, two Meritorious Service Medals, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal and Parachutist Badge.

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is a Congressional Commission established in 2013 to mark American service during the war, through public outreach, education programs, and commemorative events. The commission has also been authorized by Congress to create the new National World War I Memorial in Washington DC.

Anderson joins other current commissioners, who include: Col. (Retired) Robert Dalessandro (Chair), Edwin Fountain (Vice Chair), Jerry Hester, Col. (Retired) Thomas Moe, James Whitfield, Dr. Libby O’Connell, Major General (Retired) Alfred Valenzuela, Dr. Monique Brouillet Seefried, Dr. Matthew Naylor, and Ambassador (Retired) Tod Sedgwick.


Four Questions for Randy Gaulke

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

Randy Gaulke’s preoccupation with the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the largest German-American battle of the war stems from his fluency in German, his year abroad in Germany and his “real” introduction to the region in 1994. That was the year he first participated in a work weekend with the members of the German Remembrance Committee of the Argonne Forest. Since that trip, he has visited the sector almost annually. His Meuse-Argonne web site chronicles his interest and tours. A historian and battlefield tour guide by passion, Randal is a financial analyst who works in New York City. He and his family reside in New Jersey.Gualke 2Randy Gaulke

You are a career tour guide. Tell us about your career, how you got started, and your interest in WWI.

Briefly, my interest in WW1 began with the purchase of “Fight in the Skies,” a WW1 aviation board game in 1980. I took my first battlefield tour with Lt. Col. Graham Parker of Flanders Tours in 1986; and my fascination with the Meuse-Argonne began in 1994, when I participated in a work weekend with the Deutsches Erinnerungskommittee Argonnerwald. Since 1986 I have visited the battlefields twenty times; and I have built up a lot of friendships from these groups and from other national and international groups. (I cannot overemphasize the knowledge base found in groups like the WW1 Historical Association or the Western Front Association.)

Over the years, I have taken individuals / groups of various sizes. To describe two: In 1998 Steve Matthews and I worked with Tony and Teddy Noyes of Flanders Tours to organize the first Western Front Association USA Branch tour in 1998. We handled the marketing / advertising and Tony and Teddy handled the guiding / logistics. Nine years later, in 2007, I again worked with Teddy Noyes and Paul Guthrie to lead the second half (6 days) of the Western Front Association USA Branch tour. My portion covered the Meuse-Argonne and St. Mihiel.

With the Centennial upon us, I intend to take a sabbatical in 2017 and to live in France as a tour guide for a major portion of the year. This will allow me to share my passion and knowledge with others. (In my real-life career, I am a high-yield bond analyst.)

Read more: Four Questions for Randy Gaulke

WW1 Commission promotes 100 Cities / 100 Memorials at Legion Convention

By Theresa Sims
Director of Veterans and Military Partnerships, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

American Legion convention booth team 400The World War 1 Centennial Commission both team: (L to R) Susan Mennenga (Pritzker Museum and Military Library Founding Sponsor); Jeremy Bowles, Josef Otmar (volunteer re-enactors); Terry Whittles (Royal British Legion), David Wayne Shuey (volunteer re-enactor); and Theresa Sims (WW1CC). Many of us are still in the afterglow from the American Legion 98th Annual Convention in Cincinnati! Special thank you to our host and World War One Centennial commemorative partner for a truly exciting experience.

In support of the American Legion Centennial’s commemoration activities, the Legion endorsed the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials initiative through executive resolution earlier this summer. As a supporting organization, the American Legion joins, the WW1CC, PMML, who are awarding $200,000 in matching grants to help rescue and restore WWI memorials throughout the nation. The Legion is eager to participate and identify their local posts’ histories and WW1 origins.

Read more: American Legion 98th Annual Convention report

How America waged war with food and graphic design

By Cliff Kuang
via fastcodesign.com

Historians and TV pundits alike have a ready answer as to what made the Greatest Generation great: It was a sense of shared plight and sacrifice, which the nation mobilized to wage war and then built its modern economy.

Women of France posterBut a great sense of that sense of common purpose came about because of one thing everyone needed, equally: food. Whether it was what people ate, how they ate, or when, the government, during both World Wars, actively sought to get people to act a certain way with patriotic posters that shouted grand messages.

Graphic designer Cory Bernat has assembled over 100 of those posters, gathered from the National Agricultural Library, into a fascinating online exhibit. Bernat's meaty annotations illustrate how food posters from each decade, from 1900 to 1950, took up slightly different goals.

Read more: How America Waged War With Food and Graphic Design in WW1

DNA evidence leads to arrest in 1983 slaying of WWI veteran

via the Associated Press, September 8, 2016

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Newly tested DNA evidence from the home of a 92-year-old World War I veteran strangled in 1983 has led to murder charges against a woman who was a teenager when the crime was committed, prosecutors said.

"Mr. Schreiber survived WWI, but he did not survive those who during the night of June 23, 1983, invaded his home and took his life."

Saundra Adams, 50, was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder in the slaying of Edmund Schreiber, who authorities said was strangled with several of his own neckties during a break-in at his home in Buffalo. Schreiber was wounded during WWI and had been awarded a Purple Heart medal, authorities said.

Read more: DNA evidence leads to arrest in 1983 slaying of WWI veteran

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

Explore the pivotal year of 1916, where global sociopolitical tensions created by World War I continued escalation and irrevocably changed the economic, military, and cultural landscape of the world.

Two years into the World War, both Allied and Central Powers suffered devastating military and civilian losses. Confronting the reality of total war and grimly determined to see it through, 1916 was the year of great battles. 2016 Museum SymposiumNations no longer sought to prevail by brilliant strategic assaults, resorting to bloody battles of attrition on the Western Front at Verdun and the Somme and on the Eastern Front in the Brusilov Offensive.

Great Britain and France redrew the map of the Middle East despite suffering repeated defeats there. In the North Sea, for the first and only time in the war, the British and German battle fleets clashed.

Throughout the year the warring nations kept a wary eye on the United States, where pacifism competed with preparedness and President Wilson won another term because “he kept us out of war.”

Read more: 2016 World War One Symposium in Kansas City, MO

Submission deadline extended for $200,000 matching grant giveaway rescuing ailing WW1 memorials

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

The 100 Cities / 100 Memorial matching grant challenge has been received with genuine excitement by Veterans Service Organizations, civic groups and many others who have contacted us with great enthusiasm for participating in the program.100C 100M Logo small

Along with the outpouring of interest has come a very consistent concern about the short time available for participants to identify, plan, organize and submit projects for matching grant consideration. The consistent request for more time to ID and prep project submissions makes tremendous sense to the program sponsors, the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library.

In response the program is happy to announce that it is extending the submission deadline from November 11, 2016, until June 15, 2017 (midnight EDT).

The new schedule is based on participant feedback. In this way, participants will have enough time to search out their local WWI memorials, identify who is responsible for the memorial, get permission from the local controlling authority to do the project, make an assessment and plan for a restoration, then submit their concept and plan for a matching grant consideration.

100 Cities / 100 Memorials will announce the selected matching grants by Veterans Day 2017 (11/11/2017), giving the program selectees one year to complete their restorations before the restoration completion deadline still scheduled on the centennial anniversary of Armistice day 11/11/2018..

What is your career background? 

Five Questions for Dale Archer

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

What is your role with the new National World War I Memorial project?

I serve as the Project Manager for Memorial Development. That means I coordinate the many moving parts of the core Pershing Park Team that oversees the Memorial project as well as the Design Team with support from the Public Affairs and Fundraising Teams. I also manage daily/weekly communication and collaboration of activities for everyone involved, such as WWICC commissioners, staff, volunteers, contractors, and special advisors.

What is the status of the project right now?
The WWICC has envisioned the development of the WWI Memorial in three phases through 2019. The first phase from 2015 through 2016 has included the design competition, conceptual design, fundraising for the Memorial, and regulatory agency reviews. We are currently approaching the end of that first phase this fall. The second phase from 2017 through 2018 will include achieving regulatory agency approvals of the final design, contracting a construction management firm to oversee Memorial construction, and then general construction administration including groundbreaking and construction of the Memorial. This second phase commemorates when the U.S. officially entered WWI in 1917. The final phase from 2018 to 2019 will include construction administration with dedication of the Memorial and the transition back to the National Park Service, which owns Pershing Park. I get more excited every day to see this Memorial being developed and constructed during the Centennial. I think that combined focus and process makes it a unique project, which will truly incite a national conversation around WWI.

Read more: Five Questions for Dale Archer

"Pershing" Donors

$5 Million +

Founding Sponsor
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The Lilly Endowment