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World War I Centennial News



IMG 2171Example of educational materials on World War I developed by the Ohio World War I Centennial 

Teaching World War I after the Centennial 

By Paul LaRue
Special to the United States World War One Centennial Commission web site

This Veterans Day marked one hundred and one years since Armistice was declared. The World War I Centennial is winding down. What is the state of World War I education in classrooms across the country?

IMG 0051Paul LaRueI was a classroom teacher for thirty years in a rural, high-poverty school district in southern Ohio. I also had the opportunity to serve on the Ohio World War I Centennial Committee, working primarily on education. It would be foolish for me to speak to all World War I education nationwide. Education varies widely by state as well as by individual school districts. For example, Ohio has 609 public school districts; my comments are necessarily general and draw on my experience from education in Ohio.

Generally speaking, today's classroom history teacher has a large amount of content to cover in a limited amount of time. Many states, Ohio being one, have divided U.S. History into two blocks. Colonization to the end of Reconstruction is taught in the eighth grade, and Industrialization (1877) through post-September 11, 2001 is taught in high school. The reality is every teacher feels pressure to cover the entire curriculum. This translates into no one area of history receiving extensive coverage. World War I likely will receive one week or less of class time in a high school history class. Elementary and middle school students may receive little to no exposure to World War I. Before you start pulling your hair out, there is good news.

The World War I Centennial has generated interest in quality lesson plans and resources to assist today's classroom. The United States World War I Centennial Commission was fortunate to have Dr. Libby O'Connell serve as a Commissioner. Dr. O'Connell is an excellent historian and educator who encouraged the development of strong educational content to support the World War I Centennial. State World War I Centennial Committees, The American Battle Monuments Commission, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History, The National Park Service, The Library of Congress, and The National World War Museum and Memorial have all developed excellent World War I content for the classroom.

Read more: Teaching World War I after the Centennial


0b737796 cd81 4064 a4f8 e5733c225d02 image003Sabin Howard with the Weta maquette for A Soldier’s Journey (Photo courtesy of the artist)

A Soldier’s Journey – Sabin Howard’s National World War One Memorial

By Michael Pearce
via the MutualArt web site

When American soldiers entered the Great War that had torn Europe apart since 1914, their involvement ended the horror that bloodily consumed a generation of young men. By early 1918, over two million Americans had crossed the Atlantic to fight, and over one million of them saw combat. Their participation was decisive. In Spring of 1918 the Kaiser’s forces had fought their way forward to within fifty miles of Paris, but heroic American assaults on the German lines turned them back, certainly saving Europe from German rule. It took less than a year for the Germans to surrender after the first American boots landed in the mud of the front lines. Nearly fifty thousand American soldiers gave their lives in battle, and a quarter of a million were wounded, some terribly.

Under the clear, cold light of four broad skylights cutting through the dark, wood-beamed ceiling of his austere New Jersey industrial warehouse studio, the brilliant American sculptor, Sabin Howard, is twelve weeks into his work on the final modelling stage of A Soldier’s Journey, which will soon become the United States’ National World War One Memorial. The 60 foot long figurative bronze was approved for installation in Pershing Park, next door to the White House in Washington, D.C. by the US Commission of Fine Arts last May. Until now, Washington has had no official monument to the sacrifice of the American armed forces in the Great War.

Howard’s sculpture cleverly tells the dramatic story of a soldier’s journey to war and his return home, arranged cinematically in a sequence of scenes, which seamlessly blend together. Reading the narrative of the sculpture is an extraordinarily emotional experience. First, we see the soldier’s daughter handing him his helmet, and his departure from his wife is a scene of outstretched arms and high emotion; he is encouraged to stride forward into the ranks by an officer, then charges pell-mell into battle, which is cleverly sculpted as a moment of violent intensity where some of his comrades fall, either dead or injured. Shell-shock is perfectly captured in the form of the soldier facing directly out toward us, interrupting the flow of action from left to right, and forcing viewers to consider not only the horrible death experienced by many of the soldier’s comrades, but also his own experience of surviving that horror. 

Read more: A Soldier’s Journey – Sabin Howard’s National World War One Memorial


“The Lafayette Escadrille” World Premiere takes place at National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

The Air Force Museum Foundation Living History Series presented the World Premiere of the film “The Lafayette Escadrille” on Saturday, November 9, in the Air Force Museum Theatre.

NYHS poster video 041619 wlogosA live symposium featuring current and retired members of the military, historians, and descendants of the Lafayette Escadrille pilots was held on Sunday, November 10. The symposium took place in the Carney Auditorium, also inside the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, near Dayton, OH.

“The Lafayette Escadrille” is the first comprehensive documentary film made about the American volunteers who flew for France before the United States entered World War I. They have been called “the Founding Fathers of American combat aviation.” The production was filmed at over 40 locations in France, drawing on over 20 interviews, and thousands of original artifacts, letters, memoirs, photographs, and films.

The movie is officially endorsed by the United States World War I Centennial Commission.

“The Lafayette Escadrille” follows the path of the young Americans who came to the aid of America’s oldest ally—standing up for the values of freedom and liberty shared by the sister republics. It is the only American story that covers the entire duration of the war, from one end of the Western Front to the other.

“The story of the Lafayette Escadrille is well-known, and since it embodies the spirit of devotion and sacrifice, it is dear to the hearts of aviators everywhere,” said Darroch Greer, co-producer/director of the film. “This film is our tribute to America’s first combat aviation squadron, and we are honored to hold its premiere at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.”

Raoul Lufbery III, great grand-nephew of Major Raoul Lufbery, the Escadrille’s leading ace, said, "The filmmakers have done a wonderful job telling this amazing story of remarkable Americans fighting for righteous causes for all mankind."



National WWI Memorial takes shape, as sculpture models are revealed 

By Mike Valerio
via the WUSA-9 television station (DC) web site

WASHINGTON — More than a century after Armistice Day marked the end of the Great War, sculptures commemorating America’s involvement are now taking shape – the central element of D.C.’s planned National World War I Memorial.

Sculptor Sabin Howard revealed the images on his Instagram account, with the first models of American service members soon ready for bronze casting.

The memorial is planned for Pershing Park, across the street from the Wilson Building and White House grounds.

"I'm ready to break ground on this memorial," architect Joseph Weishaar said in an interview Monday. "When it's completed, it'll be the largest, free-standing bronze relief in the Western Hemisphere."

Read more: National WWI Memorial takes shape, as sculpture models are revealed


olympia leadThe casket of the World War I Unknown Soldier being carried off of the U.S. Olympia in 1921. 

“Known But To God”: The Unknown Soldier and the U.S.S. Olympia 

By Max Kaiserman
via the American Rifleman web site

Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier recently received new SIG Sauer U.S. M17 pistols inlaid with wood from the U.S.S. Olympia. It was selected because she was the honored ship that transported the remains of the World War I Unknown Soldier home from Europe. Today, three American soldiers are interred at the Tomb, one each from World War I, World War II and Korea. (A fourth unknown from the battlefields of Vietnam was later identified and returned to his family).

Aboard the U.S.S. Olympia, a young U.S. Marine Corps captain led the Honor Guard that accompanied the remains of Unknown Soldier back home in 1921—the year the Tomb was dedicated. His name was Graves Erskine. 

General Graves B. Erskine, USMC

Graves Blanchard Erskine was born in Columbia, La., on June 28, 1897. On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war against Germany. Little more than a month later on May 22, 1917, Erskine was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He was 19 and had just completed his degree at Louisiana State University. Like so many young men, Erskine joined the military to fight for his country in what would become known as World War I.

Read more: “Known But To God”: The Unknown Soldier and the U.S.S. Olympia


The Doughboy Foundation Releases Free Updated “Bells of Peace” App for Commemorating Veterans Day 2019 

WASHINGTON, DC ― The Doughboy Foundation, in cooperation with The Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (SHGTUS), has released an updated version of the “Bells of Peace” phone app for commemorating Veterans Day 2019.

BOP Header 2019 500The updated Bells of Peace app, which is now available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play, assists American citizens and organizations across the nation to toll bells in their communities twenty-one times on Monday, November 11, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. local time. The nationwide bell tolling will honor those American men and women who served one hundred years ago during World War I, as well as saluting all Americans veterans who have served their nation at home and abroad in both war and peace.

The nationwide Bells of Peace initiative also supports the annual SHGTUS National Salute as the organization prepares for the 100th Anniversary, in 2021, of the burial of an Unknown American Soldier who fought and died in World War I, in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (TUS) in Arlington National Cemetery. The National Salute shows America’s deep respect for its Unknown Soldiers buried in the TUS, and all its veterans.

The website provides more information about the Bells of Peace app. The app will toll the bells automatically: as the app's built-in countdown timer reaches 11 a.m. local time, Bells of Peace will toll from every device; together; 21 times; in a remembrance of when the fighting ended on the Western Front in 1918. The bells can be tolled manually as well. Seven different types of bells are available.

The Doughboy Foundation and The Society of the Honor Guard Tomb of the Unknown Soldier encourage the tolling of bells on Veterans Day in communities across the nation, in places of worship, schools, town halls, public carillons, and cemeteries; at military bases, posts, and stations; aboard ships at sea; on aircraft in the air; and by astronauts in orbit above the earth. 

Participating individuals and organizations are asked to use the hashtags #BellsofPeace and #CountdowntoVeteransDay to spread the word about their intention to Toll the Bells of Peace on Veterans Day, and to highlight photos and articles of their ceremonies afterward.



26700v bannerThe U.S. Army's World War I "Hello Girls" military telephone operators will be honored November 6 at Overseas Service League Flagstaff and Grove in Central Park, he only memorial in Manhattan to women veterans. 

Tribute Ceremony at Newly Rediscovered Women's Overseas Service League Flagstaff and Grove in Central Park Honors Women Serving America in World War I and Beyond

By Kevin Fitzpatrick

East Side World War I Centennial Commemoration, American Red Cross, and the NYC Department of Veterans’ Services holding a Tribute Ceremony to the Women Who Have Served America, Wednesday, November 6, 2019, 11:00-12 noon at the newly rediscovered Overseas Service League Flagstaff and Grove, Central Park at 69th Street Walk.

In 1925 a Central Park memorial grove of 24 trees and flagstaff were conceptualized for a tribute to American women who died overseas in World War One. Today the living memorial of thriving trees spans the wall along Fifth Avenue from 69th to 71st Streets. In 1932 hundreds of leading New Yorkers gathered on a “smooth green plot set aside by the Parks Department”, for a ceremony in bugle sounds, song, and words. Today this grove, almost lost to history, remains the only memorial in Manhattan to women veterans, but is sadly forlorn and overlooked.

To remember these brave women, and others who have served America as veterans and in support roles up and until today, we renew this Tribute Ceremony. Once again we bring attention to this most wonderful Flagstaff and Grove in Central Park.

The event is free and open to the public. Enter Central Park on Fifth Avenue and East 69th Street.



They Shall Not Grow Old horizontal banner“They Shall Not Grow Old”, director Peter Jackson’s extraordinary look at the soldiers, the events, the sounds and the sights of World War I, will be back in movie theaters in both 3D and 2D for three days only in December 2019.  

Peter Jackson’s Unforgettable WWI Documentary ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ Returns to Movie Theaters In December 2019 for Encore Presentations in Both 3D and 2D 

By John Singh
J2 Communications

By popular demand, Fathom Events and Warner Brothers will bring director Peter Jackson's remarkable World War I documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” back to movie theaters nationwide for three days only this December, offering audiences another chance to see it on the big screen and in 3D.

One of the most acclaimed and highest-grossing documentaries ever made, “They Shall Not Grow Old” is director Peter Jackson’s extraordinary look at the soldiers, the events, the sounds and the sights of World War I. After hearing from moviegoers nationwide who wanted to relive this unique cinematic experience in 3D, Fathom Events and Warner Bros. will bring “They Shall Not Grow Old” back to movie theaters across the country for three days only this December. The film will also be available in 2D in select locations.

On December 7, 17 and 18, more than 800 cinemas throughout the U.S. present the film the New York Times called “a brisk, absorbing and moving experience,” and about which Rolling Stone wrote, “You won’t believe your eyes.” Initially released by Fathom Events and Warner Bros. in December of 2018, “They Shall Not Grow Old” has become one of Fathom’s most successful and most requested titles. The December presentations will include both an introduction to the film by Jackson as well as a post-film exploration of how the film was made.

Tickets for “They Shall Not Grow Old” can be purchased at or participating theater box offices. For a complete list of theater locations visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

For generations, World War I has only been experienced through grainy, silent black-and-white footage. With unprecedented digital restoration, meticulous colorization and revelatory use of sound, “They Shall Not Grow Old” was nominated by BAFTA and the Critic’s Choice Award for Best Documentary, and won the Motion Picture Sound Editor’s Golden Reel Award. “They Shall Not Grow Old” opens a window to the past in a way that has never been seen or heard before.

One of the most acclaimed and highest-grossing documentaries ever made, “They Shall Not Grow Old” has been one of Fathom Events' most requested titles since its initial release one year ago.



new banner 

National Civic Art Society hosts Sculptor Sabin Howard presenting his classical design for the National World War I Memorial November 15 in Washington, D.C.

The National Civic Art Society presents a talk by sculptor Sabin Howard on Friday November 15 at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C., 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. EST.

Sabin mugSabin HowardHoward will present his magnificent classical design for the National World War I Memorial, which recently received final approval from the required government authorities. The Memorial is to be located in Pershing Park in Washington.

Howard's design is a monumental 58-foot-long bronze sculpture titled "A Soldier's Journey." Flowing from left-to-right, the 38-figure composition allegorically tells the story of a soldier who leaves his family for the front, endures the ordeal of battle, and returns home.

The ideals of heroism, family, and caring are juxtaposed with the violence, terror, and aggression of battle. The sculpture simultaneously tells a second story--namely, America's coming of age during the Great War.

Howard's talk will be followed by a reception. Tickets are available via the eventbrite web site.

Founded in 2002, the National Civic Art Society ( is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that educates and empowers civic leaders in the promotion of public art and architecture worthy of our great Republic. The society advances the classical tradition in architecture, urbanism, and their allied arts. Through its programs and initiatives, the society guides government agencies and officials; assists practitioners; and educate students and the general public in the preservation and creation of beautiful, dignified public buildings, monuments, and spaces.

More information on the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC is available here.



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...

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