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World War I Centennial News


 

 

How WWI Changed the Meaning of ‘Barbaric’ 

By Walter Benjamin
via the Literary Hub web site

Walter Benjamin (1892–1940) was a philosopher, cultural critic, and essayist. Associated with the Frankfurt School, Benjamin influenced many of his contemporaries, including Bertolt Brecht, Gershom Scholem, and Theodor Adorno. Benjamin’s best-known essays include “The Task of the Translator,” “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” and “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” In 1940, he killed himself in Portbou, on the French-Spanish border, when his attempt to escape Nazi forces was thwarted. The following essay is from The Storyteller Essays, translated from the German by Tess Lewis.

496px Walter Benjamin vers 1928Our children’s storybooks contained the fable of the old man who, on his deathbed, convinced his sons that a treasure was buried in the vineyard. They simply had to dig for it. They dug and dug but found no sign of the treasure. But when autumn came, the vines yielded a harvest like none other in the land. The sons realized their father had given them the fruit of his experience: true wealth lies not in gold but in hard work. We were presented these lessons drawn from experience as threats or blandishments the whole time we were growing up: “Still wet behind the ears, and he’s got opinions!”

Everyone knew exactly what experience was: older generations had always shared theirs with the young. They did so succinctly, with the authority of age, in proverbs or at length and volubly, in stories, sometimes as stories from distant lands recounted to children and grandchildren by the fire. What happened to that custom? Can we still find people able to tell a proper story? How are the words of the dying passed on from generation to generation like an ancestral ring? Who, today, has a helpful proverb ready to hand? Who attempts to deal with the young by evoking past experience?

No, this much is clear: experience’s stock has fallen and did so for a generation that underwent, from 1914 to 1918, one of the most horrific experiences in world history. Perhaps this is not as surprising as it seems. Was the observation not made at the time that people returned mute from the battlefield? They did not come back richer in experiences they could impart, but poorer. What flowed into the flood of books about the war that appeared ten years later was anything but experience, which streams from lips to ears. No, this was not surprising at all.

For experiences have never been refuted more thoroughly than strategic ones were by trench warfare, economic ones by inflation, physical ones by hunger, ethical ones by the ruling powers. A generation that had gone to school in horse-drawn streetcars found itself under the open sky in a landscape in which only the clouds were unchanged and where, in the midst of it all, in a force field crossed by devastating currents and explosions, stood the tiny, fragile human body.

Read more: How WWI Changed the Meaning of ‘Barbaric’

 

1918 photo of Quartermaster Supply unit in France1918 photo of Quartermaster Supply unit in France. (Courtesy of Library of Congress) 

“Letters from Over There” by Lt. Scott of Armstead, Montana

By K.C. Picard, Idaho WW1 Centennial Commissioner
Special to the United States World War One Centennial Commission web site

2nd Lt Parke Tolman Scott, was standing outside the Quartermaster’s office when he spotted his corporal returning with dispatches, memorandum and requisition forms. The 25-year-old gas and oil officer for the AEF Quartermaster Depot in France on the Western Front re-entered his office and picked up the outgoing mail which included two letters addressed by Scott’s own hand. One was a letter to his parents, Mr. James Wallace and Laura Tolman Scott of Armstead, Montana. The other letter was addressed to Francis Foote, the current editor of the Dillon Tribune in Beaverhead County, Montana.

He opened the letter to the editor and scanned the contents for the last time. Then with quick motions, Scott tore that letter into small pieces which he dropped into a metal tray. Lighting a match he quickly turned the scraps into ashes. American postal censorship was serious business. It came into being when the United States declared war against Germany on April 6, 1917. In the US Army, letters were scrutinized by three levels of censors: the company, regimental and base censors, before they reached the “acceptable” stage and were released for “overseas delivery.”

There were at least ten different items that could not be included in letters to the home front, including the names of the soldiers or officers who were killed or wounded in action, in hospital or captured by the enemy. Details of planned attacks were strictly prohibited, and no details were allowed about the exact location of troops, tanks or artillery. Enlisted men were to place their unsealed envelopes in the organization mailbox, and officers had to seal their envelopes and sign their names in the lower left hand corner to show their compliance with the censorship regulations.All intercepted communication, both military and civilian were forwarded to Military Intelligence in Washington.

Being an officer himself meant that 2nd Lt. Scott had to censor some of the letters of the soldiers under his command, and in the current situation he destroyed his own letter instead of giving it to the censor. Scott saved the emptied and pre-addressed envelope which he then used to enclose a small note addressed to Editor Foote, along with a notice to be published in the newspaper for his readers at the Dillon Tribune.

Read more: “Letters from Over There” by Lt. Scott of Armstead, Montana

 

livinggreatwarIn conjunction with the World War I centennial commemoration, the Museum and Memorial is sponsoring "Living the Great War." The free weekend event features the Living History Volunteer Corps and other World War I living historians sharing their knowledge and inviting the public to inspect their collections in a camp setting on the Museum and Memorial grounds. 

August Offerings at National WWI Museum and Memorial 

By Mike Vietti
Director of Marketing, Communications and Guest Services, National World War I Museum and Memorial

KANSAS CITY, MO. – A weekend event featuring the Living History Volunteer Corps and living historians presenting real WWI artifacts for visitors to inspect, a panel discussion on challenges faced by returning soldiers from war and a presentation on the race riots of the “Red Summer” of 1919 are among the August offerings at the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

On Saturday, Aug. 24 at 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 25 at 10 a.m. – 3p.m. the Museum and Memorial is sponsoring Living the Great War. This free weekend event features the Living History Volunteer Corps and other World War I living historians sharing their knowledge and inviting the public to inspect their collections in a camp setting on the Museum and Memorial grounds. Living historians also offer education programs each day at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., a children’s obstacle course is available and the Kansas City Dawn Patrol will have replica WWI-era aircraft on display, while a 1918 Ford Model T from the Military Vehicle Preservation Association will also be present (weather permitting).

Many African American soldiers returned from WWI with a newfound sense of pride and determination for equality, but home was still plagued by racial violence, heightened during the “Red Summer” of 1919. On Thursday, Aug. 15 at 6:30 p.m., Dr. Geoff Ward, Associate Professor of African and African American Studies at Washington University, discusses his research and engagement efforts to address the history of racial violence and its legacies today during a free program. Ward considers the scientific evidence that U.S. communities remain affected by centuries of this violence, while discussing transformative justice projects communities are implementing to confront these enduring impacts, including in Missouri.

Read more: August Offerings at National WWI Museum and Memorial

 

web1 Convoy 2009The Military Vehicle Preservation Association is sponsoring a reenactment of the 1919 military convoy that traveled across the Lincoln Highway, from the East Coast to the West Coast, to celebrate the victory in World War I. The 2019 MVPA Transcontinental Convoy got on the road August 10th in York, PA and end September 14th in San Francisco, CA. If you are wondering where the Convoy is at any moment, click on this link for the Live Convoy Tracker.

Historic military convoy will stop in Galion, OH Aug. 17 

By Russell Kent
via the Galion Inquirer newspaper (OH) web site

GALION — Galion-area residents will have a rare opportunity in two weeks to celebrate the 100th anniversary of a special military convoy. In 1919, to celebrate the victory in World War I, a military convoy traveled across the Lincoln Highway, from the East Coast to the West Coast.

Galion, being located on the Lincoln Highway at that time, was one of the convoy’s stops, as it was in 2009 on the 90th anniversary of this special celebration.

The convoy is expected to be in Galion sometime around mid-morning Saturday, Aug. 17.

The Military Vehicle Preservation Association has invited its members and their various historical military vehicles to participate in this grand convoy re-enactment. It leaves Washington D.C. on Aug. 10. The group will bivouac in Wooster. before coming through Galion about mid-morning on Saturday, Aug. 17.

Expected to participate in the coast-to-coast tour — about 3,200 miles — are more than 50 Historic Military Vehicles. Another 20 or so vehicles will participate in different portions of the trip.

The convoy will follow the original Lincoln Highway route as closely as possible. That route crosses all or part of 11 states from Washington D.C. to San Francisco, joining the Lincoln Highway in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The route begins on the lowlands of the eastern seaboard, traverses the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, travels the lush farmlands of the Midwest, crosses the high plains, dips into the Great Salt Lake Basin in Utah, crosses the Nevada Desert, climbs the Sierra Nevada and descends to Lake Tahoe. It will end in California and the San Francisco Bay area.

Read more: Historic military convoy will stop in Galion, OH Aug. 17

 

Brooke USA salutes America's WWI Horse Heroes

"One can only wonder what would have happened if these US equines had not contributed to the war efforts." 

By Chris Isleib
Special to the United States World War One Centennial Commission web site

Since 2017, the Brooke USA organization has put the spotlight on the services of American horses and Mules in World War I through their very popular Horse Heroes site here on the United States World War I Centennial Commission web site. As the commemoration period for the centennial of World War I winds down, we wanted to follow up with the Brooke team to review everything the organization has done to put a well-deserved spotlight on the horses and mules that supported the war effort of the United States and its Allies a century ago, and also talk about the Brooke mission to support the 21st Century Horse Heroes that make life better for people in the developing world.  Brooke USA Executive Director Emily Dulin, and Brooke USA's Horse Heroes Special Project Volunteer Jo Ellen Hayden, took the time to answer a few questions for us.

You have been busy since we last visited! Tell us about your current projects at Brooke USA.

Emily Dulin 2Emily DulinBecause Brooke USA is such a young organization and our growth has been so rapid, we are always working on new projects and campaigns. We have even made some changes to our mission to better reflect the areas of the world we support; we simply wanted to be more explicit and share with supporters how we ensure that the funds we raise are put to the best use. Our new mission is to significantly improve the welfare of working horses, donkeys and mules and the people they serve throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Americas and the Caribbean by raising funds and responsibly directing them to the areas of greatest need. We do this through a holistic approach to funding which includes capacity building, sustainability programming, female empowerment and international advocacy. Brooke USA connects private philanthropists with their passion for helping relieve the suffering of working equines and their owners.

Brooke USA logoIn addition, we have been very disciplined as to what programs we have funded, allowing us to stay more focused and provide more concentrated service in certain geographic areas. During 2019, we are raising funds to support the extraordinary work of Brooke West Africa which serves as an example of programmatic excellence for the African continent. We know that by helping Senegal its goal to improve the welfare of 150,000 working equines, we are making a huge dent in other countries which adopt and emulate these programs.

We continue to support the work of Brooke India as it relates to improving the quality of life of working equines in the brick kilns. We are funding Brooke's work in 3,245 brick kiln sites, offering emergency vet treatment and vaccinations as well as advice on disease prevention. From Brooke USA's standpoint by engaging and training local service providers such as farriers, saddlers and cart makers, we can ensure that access to service is granted to poorest communities.

Read more: Brooke USA salutes America's WWI Horse Heroes

 

WWI documentary wins National History Day First Prize

By Joshua Baker
Staff Writer

Every year, thousands of students and teachers gather to share their passion for history in the National History Day Contest, which places students and their research projects into a friendly competition. Hosted by National History Day (NHD), a non-profit educational organization, students compete at the local and state level, where finally the top students then advance to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park.

NHD offers year-long academic programs that aim to connect over half a million students across the world by encouraging them to conduct original research on historical topics of their choosing.

Sebastian pic 1Sebastian PizziniThis year, the US World War I Centennial Commission had the honor of interviewing Sebastian Pizzini from Puerto Rico. His original work, Heroes: African Americans in World War I, placed first in the Senior Division: Individual Documentary category.

Sebastian first took an interest in World War One history in 10th grade from his teacher Mr. Proskauer. Pizzini informed the commission that there wasn’t one specific topic that drew his attention to World War One, but rather the conflict as a whole “just stuck” with him. With Pizzini entering into the National History Day Contest, he knew World War One would fit into the parameters of the contest, but he obviously needed to narrow his focus. From there, he then moved his focus on a lesser known topic in American military history, African Americans in the World War One.

Pizzini described his research as a real “eye-opener” because African American involvement in the war was never covered in much depth during his formal education. He learned that of all the African Americans to serve in uniform, only 20 percent were engaged in combat while 80 percent were used for hard-labor. His project noted that the tasks that these African American soldiers were ordered to do had an unsettling connection to Slavery in America’s past time. Despite these harsh realities, African American service in World War One would help lay the foundation for the Civil Rights movement several decades later.

When asked about his experience with the National History Day Contest, Pizzini spoke highly of the program, but also revealed some of the difficulties associated with conducting original research. Pizzini’s project was presented in a documentary format and this led to some difficulties. For example, he mentioned the difficulties of finding the appropriate imagery for certain pieces of information in his documentary, while remaining historically accurate.

Other difficulties came from being the sole person behind the project. For this reason, he felt overwhelmed at times managing all the moving parts by himself. Despite these difficulties, “I had my classmates to motivate me and also had Mr. Proskauer,” to help guide him through the whole process, said Pizzini.

Once Pizzini entered the competition he confessed that he was nervous since he had never participated in a competition like this one before. Obviously he had nothing to be worried about because he would later be informed that he would be advancing to the National competition. With the great news Pizzini said he was “super excited” but still a bit nervous because he had to make some adjustments and do some final tuning prior to entering the National Contest.

Read more: World War I documentary wins National History Day First Prize

 

Fatjher and Son(Left to Right) American Private Paul H. Denton in 1919 during the American Expeditionary Forces occupation of Germany in World War I; Erwin Heibel as a child in the 1920's, and while serving in the German armed forces in World War II. 

View the Match: Solving the Mystery of a Doughboy Grandfather and Celebrating a Family Reunion

By David Harstin
Special to the United Stated World War I Centennial Commission web site
Article © 2019 Daniel David Harstin. All Rights Reserved

In April of 2017, I received a message through my genealogical service account from a man I didn’t know named Johannes Heibel. I immediately noted the highlighted link below the message that read “View the match.” Needless to say, I was intrigued to have been contacted by a relative whose name I did not recognize. However, the message I was about to read would lead to a family reunion that I never would have imagined.

Johannes had written to me with the hope that I might help him discover the identity of his American paternal grandfather. He shared with me the following information. His grandfather was a soldier who served in the occupation of Germany following WWI. Assigned to the 1st Infantry Division, he was among those billeted in the village of Bannberscheid, the home of Johannes’ then-teenaged grandmother Frieda Keil (1902-56). Many of these soldiers served as mechanics and cooks.

Johannes’ late father was born Erwin Keil on 8 February 1920. However, at the age of four, he was adopted by his stepfather and given the surname Heibel. Erwin would be a young adult before learning of his adoption and biological father. However, his mother never disclosed to him his American father’s name. For a short time in the 1960s, he tried unsuccessfully to find his father. But after Erwin’s death in 2003, Johannes felt compelled to take up his father’s search.

Knowing that my maternal grandfather, Lester Denton (1892-1939) had served in WWI, I was fascinated by Erwin’s story. So I clicked on “View the match” to learn that the genealogical service rated my DNA match to Johannes as “extremely high.” Without a doubt, I learned, I have a German cousin! Could it be that we share an American grandfather? Excited by the possibility, I enthusiastically agreed to assist him in his search. Immediately, I set out to learn as much as I could about the service records of my grandfather and to search for other ancestors who had served in the war.

Knowing that my paternal grandfather and his only half-brother had never served in the armed forces, it was clear that my match with Johannes was through one of my other family lines. It took a little digging, but I soon determined from census data and family records that the brothers of my maternal and paternal grandmothers would have been too young to have served in WWI. Thus, I was certain that my match with Johannes was through my Denton line, and grew more excited by the possibility that we might share the same grandfather. Despite having learned that our shared DNA values fall high in the second cousin range, that did not rule out the possibility. However, after opening an attachment to an email from Johannes, that hope quickly began to fade.

Read more: View the Match: Solving the Mystery of a Doughboy Grandfather and Celebrating a Family Reunion

 

Veterans mark WWI milestone in Hiawatha, KS 

By Joey May and Marcus Clem
via the News-Pressnow.com newspaper web site

HIAWATHA, KAN. — A week of events honoring the hometown hero of Hiawatha, Kansas, came to a close on August 3 with a procession through downtown Hiawatha led by the Homer White American Legion Post No. 66.

Homer White.1917Homer White in 1917Lasting four official days, Homer White week honors the World War I fallen soldier killed in action in Germany and laid to rest on Aug. 3, 1919, following the end of the war in late 1918. The 100th anniversary of his funeral and the recent 100th anniversary of the end of hostilities in the Great War, which raged from July 1914 to November 1918, makes this an especially meaningful time for the Hiawatha legionnaires, who strive to memorialize the conflict in a world where no World War I veterans still live.

Robert Sines, secretary and chaplain of Post No. 66, said White and his fellow soldiers fought the first U.S. war which saw all major combat operations take place away from the Americas — which the country entered into only with great reluctance after years of neutrality — in the confidence that they would make a difference. That, in the words of President Woodrow Wilson, it would be the War to End All Wars and that the sacrifices of the nation’s fighting men would “make the world safe for democracy.”

It was, of course, not to be, as Sines and Post No. 66 commander, Retired Col. Bill Vonderschmidt, who both served in the Vietnam War, can attest.

“I think he’d be highly disappointed that a war came about some time later when he was hoping to solve the problems internationally,” Hines said. “But then we have no control over what other countries do. I think Homer, like many of his fellow soldiers, would’ve said, ‘Darn it, I thought we had this fixed.’ ... But I think that also they’d be happy to see this country and what it has come to, all the countries we have helped and the good things we have done.”

Sines served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1969, attaining the rank of sergeant; Vonderschmidt retired in 2006 after a 41-year career in the Army. Vonderschmidt said that the way to honor heroes like White first and foremost is to not take what has been earned by their sacrifices for granted.

Read more: Veterans mark WWI milestone in Hiawatha, KS

 

AR 308059999John G. Geers stands inside his meat market at 18th and Vine (later rennamed College) in this 1924 photograph. Shifts in food production enacted during World War I changed how Quincy residents ate. | Photo courtesy of Quincy Public Library

World War I changed how Quincy, IL residents ate 

By Joseph Newkirk
via the Quincy Herald-Whig newspaper (IL) web site

Wars profoundly change a nation's relationships with other governments and often its own domestic way of life. Far from the battlefields, the First World War incidentally affected what Americans ate and how they thought about food.

After the United States entered the war in April 1917, a massive national conservation effort began on the home front to save the most substantial and nutritious food for troops fighting in Europe. President Woodrow Wilson and food department "czar" Herbert Hoover created a voluntary program with pledge cards distributed to families. This measure initiated "Meatless Mondays," "Wheatless Wednesdays" and other stringent measures.

Mrs. C.W. Leffingwell, chairman of Quincy's branch of the Women's Committee of the Council of National Defense, circulated these cards in July 1917 to the city's club and society presidents for disbursement to their members. Soon, Quincy Public Schools passed out pledge cards to children in every school.

The war instilled the need for community gardens and locally grown foods. The Quincy Daily Journal furnished seeds for anyone willing to cultivate a vacant lot, and The Quincy Daily Whig ran a regular column titled "For War Gardeners." Officials encouraged children to form pig and sheep clubs for raising these animals for the war effort. Quincy youngsters enthusiastically answered the call. The Quincy Daily Herald of July, 11, 1918, reported: "The girls have quit cuddly dolls and gone to raising pigs for the government. The boys have thrown their baseball mitts into the corner of the barn and are doing the same thing."

Scientists working for the military during the war made discoveries that greatly affected views about food: the "calorie" and the "vital amine" or "vitamin" became household words. Most people at this time, though, saw calories as largely interchangeable units of energy. A Quincy Daily Herald article of Oct. 23, 1917, titled "Paste This Up in Your Kitchen," classified food as price-per-100 calories without regard to nutritional value. Fruits and grapes at $1.49 per 100 calories were the cheapest, and celery at $21.40 the most expensive.

Read more: World War I changed how Quincy, IL residents ate

 

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

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