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World War I Centennial News


 

 

Flag reaches final resting place, in memory of Maine WWI soldier 

By Alison Jones Webb
via the Portland Press Herald newspaper (ME) web site

My husband and I recently went to the movies at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland. As old-movie buffs, we were thrilled to see what Kinonik, a small nonprofit that screens celluloid classic films, had in store. The Kinonik team did not disappoint. They re-created the magic of seeing a silent movie, complete with live piano accompaniment. The movie was “The Big Parade,” a 1925 war drama that was one of the most successful movies of the silent era.

IMG 20190717 045502 300x193This was the flag that was draped over the casket of World War I veteran Garth Wise and then given to his widow. Eighty-eight years after his death, his great-niece Alison Jones Webb has donated the flag to the Maine Military Museum. (Photo by Alison Jones Webb)The three-hour film is known for its graphic scenes of hand-to-hand combat, poison gas and scores of troops walking into machine-gun fire, and it was the inspiration for more well-known films such as “All Quiet on the Western Front” in 1930. “The Big Parade” has such cultural significance that the Library of Congress selected it to be included in the National Film Registry, an honor reserved for films that are culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.

As I was watching the movie, I found myself thinking about Garth Wise, my maternal grandmother’s half brother, who fought in World War I. Garth was born in 1895, and his mother died when he was 5. He married at the age of 26 and died when he was 36. He had no children.

His legacy in our family was always an add-on to my grandmother’s sister and brother. Growing up, I heard very few details about his life or his service in the war, but I remember hearing that “he came back different.” He jumped when a screen door slammed and liked to be alone as much as possible. Today, we would probably say that he had post-traumatic stress syndrome.

There was one reminder that we had, though, that I kept thinking about during the movie. In our basement, with my mother’s personal effects, was a 48-star flag, folded neatly in a triangle, with a note pinned to it: “Garth Wise. Served in WWI.” This was the flag that was draped over his casket and then given to his widow. Somehow it was passed on to my mother and had remained tightly folded in ceremonial military style for over 80 years.

After seeing the movie, I felt a sense of responsibility to honor his memory as a soldier, to find a home for the flag. It doesn’t belong in my basement any longer.

Read more: Flag reaches final resting place, in memory of Maine WWI soldier

 

vets CST 111312 4.0 Victory Monument, at 35th & King Drive in Chicago | Sun-Times Media  

Centennial anniversary of WWI black veterans group deserves attention 

By Mary Mitchell
via the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper web site

My favorite photograph of my father is of him in his navy uniform, posing on the deck of the ship he served on in World War II.

It was a cherished piece of history that disappeared shortly before his death.

The photograph, along with his honorable discharge papers, was a reminder that even when he wasn’t being respected as a citizen, he was a patriot.

But without a griot, black history can easily be lost.

For instance, as many times as I have walked by and driven past the Victory Monument at 35th and King Drive, I was unaware of its ties to one of the few remaining black American Legion posts in the U.S.

Next month, the George L. Giles Post #87 will celebrate its 100-year anniversary with an open house Aug. 17 at the post, at 5745 S. State St., and a gala the next day Aug. 18.

For 93 of those years, the post has kept this important history alive by leading an annual Veterans Day parade to the Victory Monument.

That sculpture was built in 1927 to honor the Eighth Regiment of the Illinois National Guard — an African American unit.

“At the time we formed the post in 1919, this was the only place that we were allowed to meet and discuss what had happened in our life,” said Cmdr. Ashley Shine Jr., 73.

“This 100-year anniversary is quite a celebration. To be able to achieve 100 years as a veterans organization, but also 100 years of outreach for the community is quite an achievement.”

Read more: Centennial anniversary of black veterans group deserves attention

 

Park University leads effort to give Medals of Honor to minority WWI heroes 

By Leslie Aguilar
via the KCTV-5 television station (MO) web site D

PARKVILLE, MO (KCTV) -- Two Park University students and a professor are taking on a mission to right the wrongs of the past. They want to make sure African American soldiers from the Great War get the honor they deserve.

More than 375,000 African Americans put on a uniform and went to fight during the first World War.

Screen shot KCTV 5“I like to refer to them as the forgotten soldiers of a forgotten war,” Josh Weston, Park University history undergraduate sophomore, said.

Not one of those soldiers received the highest honor the United States can bestow for valor when they came home.

“They weren’t even mentioned on the national scale as being active in this war,” Ashlyn Weber, Park University history undergraduate senior, said.

Weber, Weston and their professor, Dr. Tim Westcott, are doing a systematic review of military records. They’re looking for soldiers who were denied a medal of honor based on race or religion.

“There are records and documents from 1925 and previous from the United States Army Command Staff that we would not repeat those words today because they are very racist about African Americans in particular serving in the United States Army,” Westcott said.

Tim Westcott is a veteran himself.

So far, he and his students have identified 70 African American soldiers who were awarded a Distinguished Service Cross from the U.S. but no Medal of Honor.

Some of them were even awarded France’s equivalent of the Medal of Honor, the Croix de Gerre Palm.

It’s Josh Weston’s job to look through military records from the U.S., France and Germany to get a clear storyline of what each soldier did.

“They were severely wounded and still went out and were fighting for both the French and the Americans for the allied side and were given everything they had even though they weren’t, let’s just say, treated the greatest,” Weston said.

Weston is a veteran too.

He just wants credit given where it’s due.

“They fought beyond heroically and we need to honor that,” he said.

Read more: Park University leads effort to give Medals of Honor to minority WWI heroes

 

 

Community Celebrates New WWI Memorial in Duluth, MN 

By Alejandra Palacios
via the WDIO ABC television station (MN) web site

The City of Duluth hosted a special ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday to celebrate the new World War I memorial at Memorial Park.

The memorial was originally made in 1928 for the 22 West Duluthians who served and died in the war. At the time, there were 23 ash trees planted with small plaques that were engraved with the name of each soldier. They were placed on the foot of each tree. The 23rd marker was for the unknown war veteran who died.

After many years, the memorial had damage. Local leaders and community members said it was time for an upgrade. In May, construction was started to renovate the memorial. The renovations included landscaping, a concrete slab, sidewalk work, and a flag pole.

“It's replacing all the trees and plaques that were in the park to start with. My grandma’s brother had a plaque in a tree. His name was Carl Peterson who died in World War I,” Jerry Liston, an attendee, said.

“We Will Remember Them” was engraved in the new memorial made out of Mesabi black granite. The message was also engraved in the hearts of everyone who witnessed the rebirth of the memorial.

“As long as I have memory, I will remember them all every day,” Dwight Nelson, a Vietnam War veteran, said.

Also engraved on the granite plaque are the names of the 22 soldiers who died in line of duty during the war along with Duluth’s 167 Gold Star men and women.

“Let us never forget that the freedom we have is not free. It is paid for every time one of our brave servicemen or women falls in battle,” Congressman Pete Stauber, said.

Read more: Community Celebrates New WWI Memorial in Duluth, MN

 

Major General George Owen Squier nominated to Aviation Hall of Fame 

By Dennis Skupinski
Special to the United States World War One Centennial Commission web site

The Michigan WW1 Centennial Commission has nominated Major General George O. Squier the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Squier made a tremendous impact on early military aviation. He was the pioneer in military aviation, making the U.S. Army leaders in this field until the World War 1. He also established Langley Field which served as a research facility for civilian and military aviation and eventually space travel.

George Owen SquierMajor General George Owen SquierSquier's invention of multiplexing enabled telecommunications to be scalable and affordable which benefited mankind and the military. This also allowed the internet or world wide web to develop. Without the innovations of George O. Squire, our lives would be vastly different today.

From May 1916 to February 1917, he was Chief of the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps, the first successor of the Aeronautical Division, before being promoted to major general and appointed Chief Signal Officer during World War I.  Squier wrote the paper that created the U.S. Army Signal Corps, Aeronautical Division, on August 1, 1907. This becomes the first "Heavier Than Air" unit in the U.S.Military. This will eventually become the U.S. Air Force 40 years later. He was commandant of the Army Signal school at Fort Leavenworth at the time when they were teaching about "Lighter than Air" aircraft.

Squier wrote the first specifications for a military aircraft to be purchased by the U.S. Army which was to be produced by the Wright Brothers in 1908.

He was the first military passenger on an airplane on September 12, 1908 on the Wright Brothers Flyer.

He was responsible for the first purchase of the first military airplane by the U.S. Army in 1909. It is also the first purchase of a military aircraft (Heavier than Air) in the world. The Wright Brothers airplane was used to train military pilots from 1909 until 1911. Then it was housed in the Smithsonian Institute for public display. This airplane is now located in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.

He was responsible for the purchase of 1,659 Acres of Virginia farmland that became Langley Field in late 1916. Langley Field was named by then Lt. Col. G.O. Squier after Samuel Langley and became the principal research facility of military and civilian aviation. He founded the Army's aviation research laboratory there.

He patented multi-plexing which is the ability to send multiple signals over the same wire by dividing up the bandwidth. This would allow the telecommunications and the internet, to be scalable. This also resulted in the formation of the company called Muzak which piped music in on telephone lines and eventually became known as "Elevator Music".

Read more: Major General George Owen Squier nominated to Aviation Hall of Fame

 

Iowa rooster crowed for cash during World War I 

By Jeff Morgan
via the Mapleton Press newspaper (IA) web site

Iowans have come up with some pretty bird-brained fundraisers over the years.

When RAGBRAI rolled through Dallas Center a few years ago, folks placed bets on Chicken Poop Bingo and watched the birds leave “surprises” on a numbered grid. In the early 1990s, anyone who donated to WOI public radio got to name a chicken at Living History Farms. (Whenever a donor showed up to visit, a staffer called out the bird’s name and pointed to whichever one happened to look up: “Oh, there it is! It’s that one over there.”)

5d4499dadfac0.imageDuring World War I, Private C.W. Gill of Exira, carried this postcard of auctioneer D. R. Jones with the rooster Jack Pershing. Gill gave it to Jones after the war and asked that he donate it to the State of Iowa. (State Historical Society of Iowa)But Iowa’s most famous fowl fundraiser was a scrawny little rooster named Jack Pershing, who is on triumphant (taxidermy) display at the Rolling Hills Bank in Casey, straight west of Des Moines. The old bird was part of a temporary exhibit for the town’s sesquicentennial festival, July 12-14.

“Everybody thinks he’s pretty cool,” banker Emily Wedemeyer said.

Jack’s overnight rise to celebrity status began just about a century ago,  on Dec. 15, 1917, when local auctioneers Ed Meinkey and D.R. Jones were gathering items to auction off in support of the American Red Cross during World War I.

Mark Dunkerson, a farmer from nearby Fontanelle, wanted to contribute something for the auction that night but could spare only a chicken.

“I don’t have much to offer,” Dunkerson told the auctioneers, according to an account the Audubon County Journal published years later in 1944. “But there are a couple of roosters in that little flock of chickens. You could have one of them, if that would help any.”

Meinkey and Jones searched the barnyard, found an unhappy brown-black rooster in a yeast box and enlisted him for the auction with relatively low expectations. As the Audubon County Journal put it, “A scrub rooster is a scrub rooster –  just that  – and, as an article of value, is reckoned somewhat lightly.”

But this was for a good cause, after all, so someone made a 50-cent bid.

“Sold,” Jones said. “Here’s your bird. Come and get him.”

The buyer, however, thought the rooster was “too darn cantankerous to take home,” so he told the auctioneer to sell it again, according to a colorful account on an Adair County tourism website.

Read more: Iowa rooster crowed for cash during World War I

 

 fb7ec6ae c2a3 4e0f b011 1093ce1db76f large16x9 WWIbackgroundThe update of the World War I Monument at the Craven County Courthouse in North Carolina coincides with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Legion.

WWI monument being updated at Craven County, NC Courthouse 

By Sydney Basden
via the New Bern, NC News Channel 12 television station web site

NEW BERN, Craven County — The American Legion, The New Bern Historical Society and the Craven County Department of Recreation and Parks have partnered to update the World War I Monument at the Craven County Courthouse.

This project coincides with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Legion.

The New Bern Historical Society says the goal is to update the WWI monument that has stood on the courthouse grounds since 1944. The update has two parts: to clean the 75-year-old obelisk and to add the names of Craven County residents who were not originally listed.

The society says research has been done by historians Mark Sandvigen and Claudia Houston. They have looked through family records and histories and would like the public to review the list of names at www.NewBernHistorical.org and https://newbernpost539.com/.

The updated monument will be unveiled to the public in September.

Read more: WWI monument being updated at Craven County, NC Courthouse

 

Descendants of RI Italian WWI veteran span five generations at reunion 

By Ethan Hartley
via the Warwick Beacon newspaper (RI) Warwick Online web site

Michael Tudino led an adventurous life that took him from the small Italian town of Sant'Ambrogio sul Garigliano to the jungles of Brazil, the textile factories of Industrial New England, and the front lines of World War 1.

20190801 124019 5th Generation Reunion Michael TudinoMichael Tudino as seen in his Italian military uniform.On July 13, during a warm summer weekend in Warwick, roots that the man probably never imagined to have planted culminated in a family reunion that spanned five generations and included as many as 70 members of the family that came to be because of Tudino’s marriage to Teresa Bianco.

The story of Tudino’s life is an interesting one that starts on December 30, 1895 in the small aforementioned Italian village. “A strong man with an adventurous spirit,” as a family-written biography chronicling his life (provided by family member Tina Joyce) states, Tudino left with his father as a teenager (just 15 or 16) to Brazil to find work to support their struggling family.

“Oh, they found work alright,” the biography describes. “It was in the steamy, dangerous jungle of Brazil, chopping and clearing trees and underbrush, to make way for the railroad.”

After a while of this, Tudino returned home to Italy before immigrating to the United States, alone, still as just a teenager. He settled in Lawrence, Mass., where he had some cousins in the area, and began working in a textile mill. Lawrence was an industrial power during this era in New England, with cheap labor needed sorely, so it was a likely place for an Italian immigrant to wind up.

But then duty to his country called during World War 1. He returned to fight for his country and served as a machine gunner after braving the hostile waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. He would become wounded in combat and spent time in a military hospital, which earned him his first medal. He then returned to the front where he earned another award for valor after blowing up enemy barbwire.

Read more: Descendants of RI Italian WWI veteran span five generations at reunion

 

299682 originalThe "WWI America: Stories From a Turbulent Nation" The exhibition is on display through August 11.

Austin museum's WWI exhibition is a look at America's turbulent past 

By James Jeffrey
via the CultureMap Austin web site (TX)

ust children die and mothers plead in vain? Buy more Liberty Bonds!” extolls a poster in the "WWI America: Stories From a Turbulent Nation" showing now through August 11 at the Bullock Texas State History Museum.

The patriotic advertising, aka propaganda, repeatedly leaps out from among a collection of equally bold and artfully drawn posters for the government bonds that sought to raise public money to help finance the war effort when America finally entered the war in April 1917.

Close to the posters is a mock-up cinema showing the silent comedies of Charlie Chaplain, whose physical antics and bowler hat made him a worldwide icon in early twentieth century cinema. Across from that is a full-size mock-up WWI army ambulance where video recollections of six Americans who participated in the war are projected inside.

“There have been a number of exhibitions that celebrated America's efforts in World War I from a military angle, [but] this exhibition is different,” says Kate Betz, the museum’s deputy director of interpretation. “It takes a deep look at what taking part in WWI did to America as a nation, pulling us away from isolationism and toward the modern nation that we know today. This point is made over and over through the stories and artifacts of relatable people, both famous and average citizens, as well as through interactive experiences to help connect visitors to a pivotal time period in our nation's history.”

Read more: Austin museum's WWI exhibition is a look at America's turbulent past

From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

Remembering Veterans: Dr. Nancy Gentile Ford on Foreign-Born Soldiers in the American Army   

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In August 4th's edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 134, host Theo Mayer spoke with Dr. Nancy Gentile Ford. The following is a transcript of the conversation, lightly edited for clarity:

Amercans All bookTheo Mayer: For Remembering Veterans, a new World War I special subject website is now available at ww1cc.org. It's based on a book titled, Americans All! Foreign Soldiers in World War I. Let me set this up with the opening statement from the site. "Immigrants have served in every American conflict since the Revolutionary War. However, World War I represented the first time military forces were so ethnically diverse and foreign born soldiers served in such large numbers. Between 1880 and 1920, a short 40 years, over 23 million people primarily from Southern and Eastern Europe immigrated to the United States. During The Great War, almost one in five immigrants became a soldier in the United States Army representing some 46 nationalities." Now, if you ever doubted the true immigrant nature of the American melting pot World War I is certainly a testament to it and its strength. With us today is the author of that book, Dr. Nancy Gentile Ford, a professor at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania where she teaches 20th century American military cultural and political history. Three of her books include, The Great War and America Civil-Military Relations During World War I, and Issues of War and Peace, and our subject today, Americans All! Foreign-born Soldiers in World War I.

Dr. Ford: Hi, Theo.

Theo Mayer: Well, welcome to the show. Let me start with my first question. Before we get into the translation of your book into a website, let me ask you a little bit about the subject of the book. Not only was this the most culturally diverse army in our nation's history, but the darn thing effectively came together in under a year. Can you talk a bit about what happened?

Read more: Podcast Article - Dr. Nancy Gentile Ford interview

 

31atwar WWIPOSTERS3 image jumboOne of the posters designed after World War I to show America’s service members how they should behave once they came home. (Illustration by Gordon Grant/National WWI Museum and Memorial)

The Army’s Message to Returning World War I Troops? Behave Yourselves 

By David Chrisinger
via the New York Times Magazine web site

The shelling stopped on Nov. 11, 1918, sending millions of American soldiers back to the United States to pick up where they had left off before joining or being drafted into the war effort. For one officer, the return meant facing a perfunctory public welcome and superficial support. “The quick abandonment of interest in our overseas men by Americans in general,” he observed three years after the Armistice, “is an indictment against us as a nation, not soon to be forgotten by the men in uniform from the other side.” The soldier, a former Army officer later identified as Herbert B. Hayden, anonymously published his observations in an essay for The Atlantic Monthly. The severe effects of combat-related injuries, like the ones Hayden described in his essay, drew more public attention during the 1920s, when the figure of the shellshocked veteran became part of larger debates over the government’s responsibility to care for its military forces.

The First World War saw more death than all of the Western world’s wars from 1790 to 1914 combined, and the American troops who arrived in France in 1917 were not insulated from the bloodshed. As one veteran remembered, fighting in the trenches was like “getting slaughtered as fast as sheep could go up a plank.” When the fighting ended the next year, any sense of idealism the American public felt when the United States entered the war was quickly replaced with weariness and a strong desire to move on. There was little consideration for the men who survived the war and what their long-term needs would be.

A series of posters — on display at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mo., until Sept. 15 — designed by the Army to show America’s discharged soldiers how they should behave once they returned to civilian life, provides evidence of the nation’s blindness to the toll modern war took on those who endured it. The Army didn’t want the flood of veterans returning home to become a disruptive presence or a financial burden on society.

Read more: The Army’s Message to Returning World War I Troops? Behave Yourselves

From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

WWI Now: Philanthropist David Rockefeller Jr.   

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In August 5th's edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 134, host Theo Mayer spoke with David Rockefeller Jr., scion of the legendary American family and a very successful business leader and philanthropist in his own right. Mr. Rockefeller is involved in many prestigious non-profit organizations, including the Council on Foreign Relations and the Museum of Modern Art. In the interview, Mr. Rockefeller discusses the connection between his family's early philanthropic ventures and the First World War, his impression of the National Memorial maquette, and why WWI is important to remember. The following is a transcript of the conversation, lightly edited for clarity:
David Rockefeler in Versailles 2019Philanthropist David Rockefeller, Jr. receives the the inaugural Versailles Award for American Philanthropy, presented in recognition of the contributions his grandfather, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. made to rebuild France after World War I.

Theo Mayer: Now we're going to stay with our theme of American philanthropy as we explore how World War I has been and is being remembered and commemorated in the present. With us today, is businessman and noted philanthropist David Rockefeller Jr., a fourth generation son since John D. Rockefeller established the foundation in 1913. David and his wife Susan recently joined the World War I Centennial Commemoration at a very special event held at the Palace of Versailles on the anniversary of the peace treaty signing that ended World War I with Germany. David Rockefeller Jr. previously served as the chairman of The Rockefeller Foundation itself, including presiding over the organization during its centennial in 2013, but his interests are really diverse, including the arts. David Rockefeller is a life trustee at the Museum of Modern Art, having served there as a trustee for nearly four decades. He is a board member of the Asian Cultural Council, a fellow of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His accolades and accomplishments just go on. David, welcome to the podcast.

David Rockefeller: Thanks, Theo. I'm glad to be with you today.

Theo Mayer: Now for over 130 weeks we've been exploring the many and oftentimes forgotten facets of World War I, but we haven't had a chance to talk about the role and the impact of your family, not on the war, but on humanitarian relief during this cataclysmic global event. David, could you tell us about the genesis of The Rockefeller Foundation and how it got involved in World War I years before America did?

David Rockefeller: Yes. Well, of course I wasn't around at that time, but I did serve on the board of The Rockefeller Foundation for 10 years and half of that time as its chairman, so I became much more familiar with the history of the foundation, which was founded in 1913 before the war began. It really was one of the first two major philanthropic foundations formed in the US along with The Carnegie Foundation. And early on the then-trustees, including my grandfather, John D. Rockefeller Jr., were very moved by the plight of humans in grave situations. And so, it was not surprising that among the early actions of the foundation were to give relief, including with the Belgian refugees in 1914, so there was a very humane purpose for the foundation, really for the welfare of mankind around the world.

Read more: Podcast Article - David Rockefeller Jr. interview

 

Marcellus Herod flag recovered

Family is reunited with missing flag, an heirloom from their WWI veteran ancestor 

By Brad Bell
via the WJLA ABC7 television station (DC) web site 

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MD (ABC7) — On July 17, a folded flag was found in the middle of the road in Prince George's, inside of a shattered glass display case.

Navy veteran Tom Jarrett picked the flag up, knowing it had to mean something to someone. ABC7 ran his story in an attempt to help find the owner.

And the right person was watching: William Holley's oldest daughter. She immediately called her dad.

79-year-old Holley had inherited the flag after the death of his wife's uncle, WWI veteran Marcellus Herod, in the early 1980s. It was the memorial flag from Herod's casket.

Holley hadn't yet told his daughter that while he was moving, his car piled high with belongings, the flag had fallen off and gotten lost. Another driver stopped him and told him he had lost something, but when he retracted his journey, the flag was gone.

Prince George's police retrieved the flag from Jarrett and were able to present it back to Holley ceremonially.

Read more: Family is reunited with missing flag, an heirloom from their WWI veteran ancestor

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