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World War I Centennial News


 

 

101-year-old World War I draft registration card found in Ohio returned to family 

via the 5 Eyewitness News ABC television station (Minneapolis, MN) web site.

Hidden for 101 years inside the cover of a Bible was a World War I registration card belonging to Clem Clair Hubbard.

A Toledo, Ohio woman made the discovery after purchasing the Bible at a local sale knowing right away that she needed to return this card to the rightful family.

Librarians at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library helped track down the family by shifting through obituaries, doing research on the Hubbard family, and teaming up with the history and genealogy department at the library.

The research lead them to Hubbard's who lived in the same town in Ohio.

The public library has chosen to display their own collection of treasures that have been hidden away in the books on their shelves.

However, the librarians are simply glad the piece of the Hubbard's family heirloom has been returned.

 

 

ghostfleet 1571413699 3An overview of Mallows Bay shows just a portion of the nearly 200 shipwreck hulls there. Photo courtesy Donald Grady Shomette 

The Ghost Fleet: How Skeletons Of WWI Ships Came To Rest In The Potomac 

By Jacob Fenston and Tyrone Turner
WMAU American University Radio (Washington, DC) via the WMAU Atavist web site

If you look at a satellite image of the Potomac River, about 30 miles south of Washington you’ll see a curve in the river, packed with dozens of identical oblong shapes. At low tide, they emerge eerily from the water — a “ghost fleet” of wooden steamships dating back to World War I. It’s called Mallows Bay, and it’s one of the largest collections of shipwrecks in the world.

The story of how these ships ended up in the Potomac is a tale of environmental destruction — and rebirth. The shipwrecks have recently received federal protection, as part of a new national marine sanctuary.

WAMU’s Jacob Fenston and Tyrone Turner visited Mallows Bay, by canoe and kayak, to document the unusual waterscape the shipwrecks have created. Aerial photography by Jerry Jackson.

‘It Just Loomed Out Of The Fog’

Donald Shomette first saw the ghost ships when he was a kid, on a camping trip. He shows me a photo from around that time.

“1958. That’s me. That’s my little brother. That’s my dad.”

In the morning, the river was socked in with fog as the boys and their dad puttered through the water in a small motor boat. Suddenly, rising from the Potomac, we see the wooden bow of a ship.

“It just loomed out of the fog,” recalls Shomette. “It was amazing.”

Altogether, there are about 200 shipwrecks crammed into Mallows Bay. For Shomette, the sight was instantly entrancing.

Read more: The Ghost Fleet: How Skeletons Of WWI Ships Came To Rest In The Potomac

 

 

Gremlin Theatre puts us in the WWI foxhole with decision makers 

By Chris Hewitt
via the Star Tribune newspaper (MN) web site

It can’t be easy for a small company to tackle a big, big play, but Gremlin Theatre has assembled a knockout cast, top to bottom, for its “Journey’s End.”

ows 15717627489628Benjamin Slye (on cot) and Peter Christian Hansen in Gremlin Theatre’s “Journey’s End.”The 12 (all white, all male) performers are as cohesive a unit as you’ll find in town, which is an immeasurable asset in a play as cloistered as “Journey’s End.” It takes place on one set — director/scene designer Bain Boehlke’s incredibly detailed foxhole, all wooden beams and sandbags — over the course of four days near the end of World War I.

Leavened by a surprising amount of humor, the drama is about the price paid by the people who fight a war and about how oddly similar life in a foxhole is to life outside it. Class distinctions still rule in “Journey’s End” and, although that underground bunker is hardly “Downton Abbey,” the officers still have servants to bring them tea with jam and bread.

Playwright R.C. Sherriff’s central character is a great one, played in the original 1928 production by a young Laurence Olivier. Capt. Stanhope (Gremlin’s artistic director, Peter Christian Hansen) seems to be suffering the effects of shell shock, sleep deprivation and what we’d now call post-traumatic stress disorder. Jovial one minute and hurling insults the next, he’s barely keeping it together enough to lead his men. That they heed him so dutifully is a tribute to Sherriff’s incisive and still modern-sounding writing, as well as a clue to the solid military man he once must have been. It’s a beast of a role, but Hansen makes all the pieces fit, his charm and wit offering hints of the man Stanhope was before war changed him.

Boehlke’s production pulls you into its spell in a number of ways: deep darkness, suggesting a place that is lit only by candles; the lulling sound of gunfire in the distance (courtesy of sound designer C. Andrew Mayer); a recurring musical motif from Samuel Barber’s mournful “Adagio for Strings”; the actors’ use of the space, which becomes more constrained as the play goes on; the forced lightness of the characters, which makes their duties seem even more devastating. It all creates a powerful effect that peaks with a wonderfully human exchange between Benjamin Slye and Alan Sorenson as men who are about to lead others into battle, wavering between discussing strategy and talking about absolutely anything else they can think of. That scene, which could take place in any war, is a sad reminder that this nearly century-old drama will always be relevant.

Read more: Gremlin Theatre puts us in the WWI foxhole with decisionmakers

 

 the national wwi museum

Veterans Day Weekend Events Honor Those Who Serve Our Country at National WWI Museum and Memorial Friday-Monday, Nov. 8 to 11 

via PRWeb as published in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper (CA) web site

As the commemoration of the centennial of World War I (2014-19) continues, the National WWI Museum and Memorial serves as a fitting place to honor those who have served — and continue to serve — our country. To recognize these men and women, admission to the Museum and Memorial is free for veterans and active duty military personnel, while general admission for the public is half-price, throughout the Veterans Day weekend (Friday to Monday, Nov. 8 to 11, 2019).

To observe Veterans Day, the Museum and Memorial will offer a wide variety of events November 8 to 11 for people of all ages, including the debut of the acclaimed traveling exhibition The Vietnam War: 1945-1975. On its final tour stop, the Museum and Memorial is the only location west of the Mississippi to showcase the exhibition.

The Museum and Memorial will host a free, public Veterans Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 11, featuring a keynote address from Dr. Pellom McDaniels III, former Kansas City Chiefs player who now serves as the faculty curator of the African American Collections and assistant professor of African American Studies at Rose Library at Emory University. The event will feature remarks from dignitaries including Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas as well as patriotic musical performances.

Support for Veterans Day is provided by Jackson County Executive and County Legislators, the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund of Kansas City, Mo., and Weather or Not.

Read more: Veterans Day Weekend Events Honor Those Who Serve Our Country at National WWI Museum and Memorial...

 

Glory Gratitude exhibitThe WWI documentary-exhibit entitled "Glory & Gratitude to the United States"at the Lafayette City Hall through October contains copies of dozen of letters written in gratitude to soldiers by Belgian schoolchildren in 1915. 

WWI exhibit visiting Lafayette, LA City Hall until end of October 

via the KATC News ABC 3 television station (Lafayette, LA) web site

From now until the end of October, the WWI documentary-exhibit entitled "Glory & Gratitude to the United States" will be on display at the Lafayette City Hall atrium.

Citizens of Lafayette are invited to view the exhibit until its departure.

The exhibit contains copies of dozen of letters written in gratitude to soldiers by Belgian schoolchildren in 1915. According to LCG, the letters were recently rediscovered in the family home of the attic of Alexander Heingartner who was the United States Consul General in the Belgian City of Liège during World War I.

Heingartner's great granddaughter, Dr. Nancy Heingartner, found the letters and sent to the Belgian Embassy in Washington, DC where they were organized into a touring exhibit for WWI.

The letters have been shown throughout the country over the last two years.

Lafayette is the first Louisiana town on the tour, according to LCG.

During World War I, civilians in occupied Belgium benefited from one of the first global philanthropic enterprises ever created. The Commission For Relief in Belgium, a mostly US organization, collected and sent shipments of food and warm clothing to Belgium under the leadership of an American official named Herbert Hoover who later became US Secretary of Commerce and was elected President of the United States in March of 1929.

 

 

Sabaton celebrate 20 years with a tonally inconsistent but informative power-metal take on WWI 

By Ed Blair
via the Chicago Reader (IL) web site

Sabaton are celebrating their 20th year of existence in style. The Swedish power-metal band kicked off 2019 with the launch of their own YouTube channel, which focuses on the history that fuels their songwriting, and in July they released their ninth album, the World War I-inspired The Great War.

Sabaton are no stranger to exploring such landmark events through their music; previous records have focused on World War II (2010’s Coat of Arms), the rise and fall of the Swedish empire (2012’s Carolus Rex), and noteworthy final stands throughout military history (2016’s The Last Stand).

However, translating the horrors of WWI (which in recent decades hasn’t often received the same type of propagandist spins as WWII) into the triumphant riffs and soaring solos that typically define power metal is a tricky task, and Sabaton don’t always quite nail it. “The Attack of the Dead Men” recounts the victorious but doomed charge of Russian troops gassed by Germans in 1915 while defending Osowiec Fortress, but the band’s sanitized version of the story skimps on the gory details (the cocktail of gas used by the Germans essentially liquefied the flesh of the Russian troops), focusing on heroism rather than on desperation, futility, and tragedy.

Still, Sabaton know their way around a riff and a rousing chorus: “A Ghost in the Trenches,” their ode to famed Canadian sniper and First Nations activist Francis Pegahmagabow, gallops with joyously acrobatic guitar work and drops in a surprise key change to great effect. The band clearly love military history, and to their credit, they often highlight obscure aspects of the campaigns they cover. 

Read more: Sabaton celebrate 20 years with a tonally inconsistent but informative power-metal take on WWI

 

Ahead of Veterans Day, National Museum of African American History and Culture To Host Book Discussion on African Americans’ Central Role in WWI 

via Globe Newswire  

amazon image 59bf13bd0e09f8c70a3816e33a7a408bb1d8ff80To celebrate veterans and commemorate the centennial of WWI, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will host a book talk on the museum’s latest publication, We Return Fighting: World War I and the Shaping of Modern Black Identity, on Thursday, November 7, 7p.m., at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, 1400 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, DC.

The book talk will feature Kinshasha Holman-Conwill, deputy director, NMAAHC, and editor of We Return Fighting: World War I and the Shaping of Modern Black Identity; Greg Carr, associate professor of Africana studies and chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies, Howard University; and Krewasky A. Salter, Col., USA, Ret., guest curator, executive director of the First Division Museum.

The public program focuses on the museum’s latest book: We Return Fighting: World War I and the Shaping of Modern Black Identity. The richly illustrated book commemorates African Americans’ roles in World War I, highlighting how the wartime experience reshaped their lives and their communities after they returned home. Greg Carr, chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University, will moderate a discussion with Krewasky Salter, guest curator and author of the essay, “The 369th Regiment,” for an evening book discussion on the WWI experience told through the lens of the African American veterans, military families, women, anti-war advocates and public intellectuals. 

Edited by the museum’s Deputy Director Kinshasha Holman-Conwill, We Return Fighting reminds readers of the central role of African American soldiers in the war that first made their country a world power. It also reveals the way the conflict shaped African American identity and lent fuel to their longstanding efforts to demand full civil rights and to stake their place in the country’s cultural and political landscape. Through essays and photographs, We Return Fighting: World War I and the Shaping of Modern Black Identity traces the efforts of black soldiers and how they returned to the U.S. with a strengthened determination to win their civil rights. 

 

 

WWI quilt made in 1918 connects Eastern Shore of Virginia to England 

By Carol Vaughn
via the Salisbury Daily Times newspaper (VA) on the delmarvanow.com web site

A quilt made during World War I for an American Red Cross chapter on Virginia's Eastern Shore was found recently, tucked away in storage in a British museum.

0a5131db 54ac 4103 bd65 dee90c05790f pungoteague quiltThis quilt, made in Accomack during World War I to be sent to a European hospital, was discovered in a British museum in 2012. (Photo: David March image)The quilt was made to be sent to a wartime hospital in Europe.

The Pungoteague Quilt was designed and stitched by Mrs. S.K. Martin of Harborton in 1918.

It bears the names of nearly 700 people who made donations — many of whom still have descendants living on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

The man who found the quilt in Great Britain created a website about it — and he wants to know more about the people whose names are on it.

The quilt was intended to be sent to a hospital in France during the war. It is not known how it ended up in the Imperial War Museum in England.

The quilt, about 64-by-88 inches and made of cotton and calico, is made up of rows and columns of red crosses, surrounded by names, and sometimes addresses, in cursive script written with a marker pen. There are 694 names inscribed on the quilt, including President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson's, prominently displayed in a block near the center.

One of the blocks bears this inscription:

"This quilt was made by Mrs. S.K. Martin of Harborton, Accomac County, Virginia and presented to the Pungoteague Branch of the Eastern Shore Chapter of American Red Cross, with the sincere wish that our Virginia boys and any others may find inscribed thereon the names of many friends deeply interested in their welfare."

Webster Martin, 85, of Harborton is the great-grandson of the quilt's maker. The Martin family has been in Virginia virtually since the colony's founding.

"She was Ella Susan Smith from Sluytkill Neck," across the creek from Harborton, Martin said of his ancestor, of whom he has many memories from his youth.

Mrs. Martin's quilting frame — likely the one she used for the Pungoteague Quilt, among others — is still in the family, having been stored in the attic of an outbuilding at Rose Lawn, the family home in Harborton.

Read more: WWI quilt made in 1918 connects Eastern Shore of Virginia to England

 

Bronze Statue Honoring First Black Fighter Pilot Unveiled in Georgia

By Tanasia Kenney
via the Atlanta Black Star web siteDirector of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission

Eugene Bullard isn’t a household name, but his inspiring story of bravery, valor, and perseverance is surely worth telling.

A bronze statue honoring the Columbus, Georgia, native was finally unveiled on Wednesday before a cheering crowd of descendants, U.S. service members, French officials and other guests, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

pjimage 2019 10 09T125335.161Eugene Bullard fled the Jim Crow South as a child, joined a band a gypsies and then stowed away on a German ship to Europe. (Photos: WMAZ 13 / video screen shot and Wiki Commons)Bullard, the child of a former slave who fled the Jim Crow South after witnessing the near lynching of his father, would go on to fight for the French Foreign Legion in World War I. He managed to have a little fun along the way, boxing professionally and drumming for a jazz band in Paris. He even rubbed elbows with the likes of trumpeter Louis Armstrong.

His journey as a stowaway across the pond to Europe was just the start of his incredible legacy. A war hero, Bullard received France’s Croix de Guerre for his valor at the Battle of Verdun and later joined its national air service in 1916 to become the first Black fighter pilot.

Now the state that he fled more than 100 years ago is honoring him on his birthday with a gleaming bronze statue.

“I’m just so glad to live to see his state — the state that he ran from — recognize his greatness, and call its native son home,” said Ms. Harriett Bullard, one of Bullard’s descendants.

Harriet Was among the 20 descendants who attended the unveiling ceremony Wednesday at the Museum of Aviation in Robins Air Force Base near Warner Robins, Georgia, per the AJC. Officials with Georgia’s WWI Centennial Commission pulled away a blue cloth to reveal the 6-foot-3-inch bronze memorial honoring the man fittingly dubbed “The Black Swallow of Death.”

According to  BlackPast.org, “Bullard quickly became known for flying into dangerous situations often with a pet monkey. He amassed a distinguished record, flying twenty combat missions [and] downing at least one German plane.”

Vietnam War vet and Centennial Commission member Rick Elder called Bullard a “true hero.”

“For him to be standing out there — now we’re finally getting to the point that we have honored him in a proper way.”

Read more: Bronze Statue Honoring First Black Fighter Pilot Unveiled in Georgia

 

Submarine Chaser 245A World War I-era Submarine Chaser similar to Submarine Chaser 245. 

‘Human nostrils have their limitations’: Why a WWI ship had to retreat from a port visit

By Jonathan Croyle
Tribune News Service via the Stars & Stripes newspaper web site

By the autumn of 1919, the First World War had been over for almost a year.

But that did not mean that the American military was not already thinking about the next struggle. The armed services needed more recruits and the top brass needed to think of new ways to get more men to enlist.

The U.S. Navy had an idea.

Why not send some of the heroic boats of the Great War on tour, stopping at cities and towns to drum up some enthusiasm about enlisting?

To Upstate New York the Navy sent Submarine Chaser 245 a 110-foot long ship under the command of Ensign Martin Weisman.

During the war, the vessel had been attached to the Italian fleet in the Adriatic Sea and was used against the Austrian fleet. It carried three stars on her smokestacks, indicating that her crew had destroyed three submarines during the fighting.

Staffed by a crew of 32 men during the war, the boat had a three-inch gun on its forward deck and in the rear was a “Y” gun, in which charges of TNT were dropped onto enemy submarines.

In July, Submarine Chaser 245 toured Lake Champlain and hundreds of people in Plattsburgh came to see it.

In September, 5,000 people saw it in Schenectady and enjoyed the “moving pictures” that accompanied the ship detailing the use and operation of the vessel and showcasing the daily life of a sailor.

On October 6, the ship arrived in Rome via the Barge Canal with crowds on shore waiting for it. Many toured the vessel to get a “look at the craft that gave a good account of itself during the recent war with Germany.”

Then Submarine Chaser 245 turned its sights for Syracuse, where the ship expected to dock in the heart of downtown, at Clinton Square. It was to be there on October 11 for an undetermined length of time, before it moved west towards Buffalo.

But there was a problem.

Read more: ‘Human nostrils have their limitations’: Why a WWI ship had to retreat from a port visit

 

 

WWI stamps get seal of approval from vet’s daughter in Lincoln, NE

By Dennis Buckley
via the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper (NE) web site

Every postage stamp Charlotte Harper affixes to an envelope reminds her of her father’s military service a century ago.

5d9c8fd9e8f1a.imageCharlotte Harper, a 93-year-old Lincoln woman and the only surviving child of Martin and Winnie Layton, says the “World War I – Turning the Tide” postal stamps provide fond memories of her father’s service a century ago. DENNIS BUCKLEY PHOTOAnd for someone who’s always felt that wartime veterans never seem to get as much recognition as they deserve, that is a very satisfying feeling indeed.

When the U.S. Postal Service unveiled the “World War I – Turning the Tide” stamps last year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, the stamps tugged at the heartstrings of the 93-year-old Lincoln woman. Charlotte is the lone surviving child of Martin and Winnie Layton of Hastings.

“I’ve never felt that veterans of that war ever got the recognition that they so richly deserved,” said Charlotte. “When I heard these stamps were coming out, I said, ‘Wow … finally, a perk!’ Dad would love these.”

Often overlooked

Charlotte Harper has always been proud of her father’s record of service in World War I. But there was always something that dampened her enthusiasm: a feeling that WWI veterans were underappreciated.

Historians agree. They say a majority of the more than 2 million Americans who fought in the war a century ago struggled to readapt to normal life. They returned to a life of Prohibition, complicated social attitudes toward war veterans, and financial struggles. Most received only a few weeks’ wages after returning to home soil.

Martin Layton was always reluctant to share much of his military past with Charlotte and his four other children. Charlotte, now a 93-year-old Lincoln resident and the sole survivor among five daughters born to Martin and Winnie Layton, said her father enlisted at age 19. He served at Fort Preble, Maine, and later with the Battery E 72nd Artillery in Paris.

Grateful for safety

Charlotte was grateful that her father’s military experience allowed him to experience faraway places – and to return home safe and well. Several other members of the Layton family who also served in WWI were not as fortunate.

“Two of Dad’s brothers also served in World War I,” she said. “Uncle John was killed in an armored tank – and is buried in France – and uncle Frank developed malaria while in the service.”

Statisticians report WWI claimed the lives of 117,465 Americans during the roughly one year of involvement.

Martin Layton lived in the Hastings area, working on farms, selling horses, and later working as a gas station attendant for a filling station owned by Terry Carpenter, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a 22-year member of the Nebraska Legislature. Martin Layton died in 1969.

Read more: WWI stamps get seal of approval from vet’s daughter in Lincoln

 

AR 310209940Diana Vice, with the Daughters of the American Revolution, speaks next to a newly placed headstone over Leonard Inman's grave Thursday in Lafayette. The World War I veteran was buried in an unmarked grave in 1973. 

African American WWI veteran finally receives permanent headstone 

By the Associated Press, via the Indiana Journal-Gazette newspaper

LAFAYETTE – A black soldier who was buried in an unmarked Indiana grave is getting proper recognition for his military service in World War I nearly a half-century after his death.

The memorial for Leonard Inman, who died in 1973, Saturday at Spring Vale Cemetery in Lafayette and featured a 21-gun salute, the retiring of colors and taps by the American Legion Post 492, the Journal and Courier reported.

Inman, whose name is spelled “Inmon” in the 1919 Tippecanoe County World War I Honor Roll book, served during the war in the 809th Pioneer Infantry, Company C.

The General de Lafayette Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution has installed a headstone for Inman, which the cemetery paid for in commemoration.

Born in 1893 in Knoxville, Tennessee, Inman moved with his family to Lafayette in 1908. He enlisted into service 10 years later. As an African American, he was not permitted to engage in direct combat.

Since the American military was not desegregated until 1948, Inman likely served under French command, according to the chapter's research. Following the war, he returned to Lafayette and worked for the Murdock family, one of the well-known families living in the area at the time. In 1943, he started working for Alcoa to assist with the war effort in producing aluminum, staying there until 1958. He had no children and died Nov. 25, 1973, in his home after suffering an apparent heart attack.

Diana Vice, the chapter's vice regent, said she discovered that Inman had no headstone after purchasing the honor roll book that only includes a small section, in the very back, delegated to the county's 18 black soldiers. She contacted the county's Veterans Services office, which paid for the stone.

“We just can't let his memory be forgotten,” Vice said. “I just think that we need to honor them. (African American soldiers are) relegated to the back of this history book in 1919. I felt like he deserved one, and his memory needs to be kept alive and honored for his service and sacrifice.”

Read more: African American WWI veteran finally receives permanent headstone

 

The Marines’ Bloodiest Day of WWI and Two Medals of Honor for Corporal John Henry Pruitt

By Patrick K. O’Donnell
via the Breitbart.com web site

The first week of October marked the 101st anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps’ bloodiest day and one of its most important battles of WW I: Blanc Mont. Several Marines earned Medals of Honor on the blood-soaked ridge, including Corporal John Henry Pruitt.

Corporal John Henry Pruitt 640x480Corporal John Henry PruittPruitt served under Major General John A. Lejeune, the commander of the 2nd Division and 4th Marine Brigade. Several days before the battle, Lejeune stared at the large relief map sprawled out in front of him. His eyes focused on the ridgeline where the Germans had constructed an ostensibly impregnable fortress—Blanc Mont. Hundreds of machine-gun nests, an intricate maze of trenches, concrete blockhouses, artillery pieces, and tangled masses of barbed wire awaited any force foolish enough to attack. For years, the French Army had launched one forlorn assault after another on the fortress resulting in a bloodbath—thousands of men killed, gored attempting to scale the sloping limestone rock.

The tough commander, “a Marine’s Marine” later hailed as “one of the greatest of all leathernecks,” was one of only two Marine officers to hold a divisional Army command. The 2nd was one of the finest divisions in the Allied armies. Marshal Foch, noting the 2nd’s élan and battlefield prowess at Battles of Belleau Wood and Soissons, had requested the division be placed under the temporary command of the Fourth French Army, which was led by the grizzled, one-armed General Henri Gouraud.

Gouraud explained to Lejeune that the French Army had stalled in front of the high ground and his men were exhausted. He had earmarked the 2nd for the formidable task of breaking through the powerful German defenses. Gouraud’s piercing eyes and bushy handlebar mustache seemed almost to pop off his face as he emotionally placed his only hand on the German fortress atop Blanc Mont Ridge on the map.

“General,” he declared, “this position is the key of all the German defenses of this sector, including the whole Rheims Massif. If this ridge can be taken, the Germans will be obliged to retreat along the whole front thirty kilometers to the river Aisne. Do you think your division could effect its capture?” Without hesitation, Lejeune informed Gouraud that the 2nd could seize the stronghold.

The 2nd Division and John Pruitt were about to enter one of the most perilous kill zones on the Western Front. The various Army and Marine units within the 2nd Division would converge on Mont Blanc like two giant arrowheads. If they survived the onslaught, the men would link up on the crest.

Read more: The Marines’ Bloodiest Day of WWI and Two Medals of Honor for Corporal John Henry Pruitt

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