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World War I Centennial News




4th Annual Camp Doughboy World War I History Weekend in September

via the Governors (NY) web site

The fourth annual Camp Doughboy World War I History Weekend comes to Governors Island National Monument on September 14 and 15. Each day will bring living history, reenactors, authors, experts, vintage vehicles, and animals. This is the largest free public WWI exhibition in the United States.

Reenactors representing the Allies and Central Powers—as well as civilians in Edwardian-era attire—are invited living history participants. The centennial of the service members returning to Governors Island is in 2019 and this group of volunteer reenactors will share the story of WWI participants. See living history, weapons and equipment displays, and vintage vehicles.

All events are free, open to the public, and run 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday and 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Sunday on the Parade Ground. The events are sponsored by the U.S. WWI Centennial Commission, the WWI Centennial Committee for NYC, and the National Park Service.

Read more: 4th Annual Camp Doughboy WWI History Weekend in September


Ulysses Grant Moore 2Alma, Lucas, granddaughter of Ulysses Grant Moore, is presented with the American flag at the memorial service for the World War I veteran.

Honors given; marker placed; RIP, Private 

By Richard Mize
via The Oklahoman (OK) web site

Richard Mize remarks given Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at Trice Hill Cemetery at the much-belated memorial service for World War I U.S. Army veteran Pvt. Ulysses Grant Moore, whose forgotten grave marker was finally placed, and military honors bestowed, 55 years after he died.

Ulysses Grant MooreUlysses Grant MooreGood morning and welcome! We are here to give belated honors to Army Private Ulysses Grant Moore, a century after he served in World War I, and 55 years after he died. Why such honors were overlooked, and why this marker never made it here to his burial site are unknown.

My name is Richard Mize. I am pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, and the real estate editor for The Oklahoman. It has been my privilege to help make this moment happen.

It took a compelling series of discoveries that started by happenstance.

An elder at church happened to be chatting over the back fence with a neighbor. The neighbor happened to say, "Do you know anything about this grave marker? This 55-year-old marker? For World War I?" It was just across the property line, in the man's back yard, where a shed had recently collapsed and cleaning it up had revealed it. The elder said, "Well, no!"

I happened to be pastor of the church, and I happened to be in a position at The Oklahoman to report it, and to help get it where it has long belonged.

All that happened to happen. But, at a time when duty seems to have gone out of style, and even honor seems to be in short supply, I call it a God thing.

Duty and honor are God things.

I’ve been thinking about some things for weeks now regarding U.G. Moore. 

Read more: Honors given; marker placed; RIP, Private


treaty of versailles wwi germany gettyimages 3286596Germans take war machines apart outside Berlin under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles Germany. This tank is in fact a British tank, captured and put into service by the Germans during World War I. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images) 

After the Treaty of Versailles

Germany's World War I Debt Was So Crushing It Took 92 Years to Pay Off 

By Erin Blakemore
via the web site

At the end of World War I, Germans could hardly recognize their country. Up to 3 million Germans, including 15 percent of its men, had been killed. Germany had been forced to become a republic instead of a monarchy, and its citizens were humiliated by their nation’s bitter loss.

Even more humiliating were the terms of Germany’s surrender. World War I’s victors blamed Germany for beginning the war, committing horrific atrocities and upending European peace with secretive treaties. But most embarrassing of all was the punitive peace treaty Germany had been forced to sign.

The Treaty of Versailles didn’t just blame Germany for the war—it demanded financial restitution for the whole thing, to the tune of 132 billion gold marks, or about $269 billion today.

How—and when—could Germany possibly pay its debt?

Nobody could have dreamed that it would take 92 years. That’s how long Germany took to repay World War I reparations, thanks to a financial collapse, another world war and an ongoing debate about how, and even whether, Germany should pay up on its debts.

Allied victors took a punitive approach to Germany at the end of World War I. Intense negotiation resulted in the Treaty of Versailles’ “war guilt clause,” which identified Germany as the sole responsible party for the war and forced it to pay reparations.

Read more: Germany's World War I Debt Was So Crushing It Took 92 Years to Pay Off


IMG 6573Members of American Legion Post #1 in Paris, France participated in the parade of the veteran flags at Versailles, France as part of the events marking the centennial of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. 

Four Questions Vice Commander Bryan Schell, American Legion Post #1

"We are a very high visibility American Legion Post since we are located in Paris, France."

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission

Our Commission's recent commemoration efforts in Versailles, France put us in touch with some friends whom we haven't seen in a while -- the members of the world-famous American Legion Post #1 in Paris. These Legion members stand on a long tradition, one that celebrates a direct line to our World War I veterans. Post #1 is the first, and the oldest, American Legion post outside of the United States, and was created by people who had just seen the Great War end months before. Since that time, they have fulfilled a unique and special role in representing our American veterans in France, and throughout Europe. Vice Commander Bryan Schell took some time to tell us about his special post, their history, and their current activities.

You have a very historic Legion Post. Tell us about it.

Bryan SchellBryan SchellParis Post 1 is a legacy post for the American Legion, it was created when American soldiers were still in Europe after WWI. It was a time when up to 2 million U.S. soldiers had just finished with a bloody war, and they had to wait sometimes up to 2 years to get a ship back to the USA. Some soldiers never made it back, some stayed because they fell in love or they had started a new life.

The idea of the American Legion was created in Paris in 1919 by these soldiers, and Paris Post 1 was opened up the same year. It is the first, and the oldest, American Legion post outside of the United States. We have been able to maintain our post during many difficulties including WWII when Paris Post 1 had to temporarily move to New York City during the Nazi occupation of Paris. One of our American Legion members stayed behind and joined the French resistance only to be executed by the Nazis while trying to defeat Germany.

Your Post has a very historic building as its home, and there is also a remarkable memorial there. Tell us about them.

In the early 1930's, the American Legion Building was created, and later renamed in honor of General Pershing as Pershing Hall. It served as the home for Paris Post 1 for many years, until the building fell into preservation issues. Since this time, we have survived outside of Pershing Hall with the hopes of returning in the future. The building is currently going through much needed historical preservation, and it will be re-developed over the next couple years.

Read more: Four Questions Vice Commander Bryan Schell, American Legion Post #1 in Paris


5d2f8452757b1.imageVeterans stand for the "Salute to the Services" medley during a celebration marking the restoration of the World War I Memorial Entrance at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Preston.

Fillmore County WWI memorial entrance restored for 100th anniversary 

By Noah Fish
via the Post Bulletin newspaper (MN) web site

PRESTON, MN — Fillmore County is a red, white and blue district.

"Fillmore County remembers its history," said Nathan Pike, the Olmsted County veteran’s service officer and emcee of last week's celebration of the restoration of the World War I Memorial at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds entrance.

Fillmore County WWI memorial entranceThe World War I Memorial Entrance at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Preston was restored to mark it's 100th year. The structure was built 100 years ago, erected to honor soldiers returning from World War I.

"There were over 1,000 residents of Fillmore County that enlisted or were drafted into service during the first World War," said Pike. "Forty-eight of them were killed in action, and they did not return to Fillmore County."

Col. Joe O’Connor called for a moment of silence for those 48 men. He said the Lanesboro American Legion Post #40 is named after Henry M. Guttormson, the first casualty of WWI from Fillmore County.

"This entrance is a lasting tribute to WWI veterans, their families and the history of Fillmore County," O'Connor said.

About 50 people gathered for Tuesday's rededication. But in August 1919, about 10,000 gathered in that same spot to welcome soldiers home, Pike said. A good chunk of those soldiers showed up in uniform. O'Connor said they served barbecued beef at the event 100 years ago, and veterans were given free cigarettes and peanuts.

Sgt. Josh Krage, of Preston, talked about the emotions the memorial can generate.

Military service is "an emotional time for each and every one of us that has served," said Krage. "So when Col. (O'Connor) got emotional, I think we all did as veterans, because we know what we go through."

Krage reflected on what it means to be a veteran, and the weight that veterans carry.

"We understand what it's like on a fallen soldier detail, as we fold and hand the flag to a loved one," Krage said. "Or as we do the gun salute, we understand the emotions that come with it, because we understand that could have been us."

A parade of veterans from different segments of the armed forces assembled at the Trailhead in Preston and marched over the Fillmore Street bridge to the fairgrounds entrance, where retired and active military personnel, along with local residents, were waiting. Trainer planes from the WWII era flew overhead during the presentations.

Aside from the updated sign, renovations were made to the entrance to restore its structure before Tuesday's event. Sagging roof boards were repaired or replaced. Two large flagpoles were repaired, and the original turnstiles were sandblasted and repainted. The Fillmore County Fair Board used money from a Clean Water Legacy Heritage Fund grant, and funding from Harmony, Preston and Lanesboro Area Community Foundations. The Preston Historical Society and various local VFW posts also contributed to the restoration. 

Read more: Fillmore County WWI memorial entrance restored for 100th anniversary


Dilboy with headstoneGeorge Dilboy, killed on a battlefield near Belleau, France, was the first Greek-American soldier who fell in the line of duty in World War I. 

George Dilboy, The First Greek-American who Fell in WWI 

By Philip Chrysopoulos
via the web site

It was on this day in 1918 that George Dilboy was killed on a battlefield near Belleau, France after fighting so courageously that he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, America’s highest medal for bravery. Dilboy was the first Greek-American soldier who fell in the line of duty.

The Greek-American’s conspicuous heroism was so outstanding that he was recognized and honored by three US presidents. Woodrow Wilson signed the authorization awarding Dilboy the Medal of Honor, Warren G. Harding brought his remains back to be buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery, and Calvin Coolidge presided at his final burial there.

Born in Alachata, in Western Anatolia, in 1896, Dilboy’s Greek name was Γεώργιος Διλβόης, which was Americanized when his family emigrated to the United States.

Andrew T. Kopan wrote about Dilboy in an article titled “Defenders of the Democracy: Greek Americans in the Military”, in the Greek-American Review, in September of 1998.

According to Kopan, “After the Balkan War of 1912-13, his family fled to America to avoid persecution from the Turks… On July 25, 1917, he was assigned to company H, 103rd Infantry, 26th Division. He was sent with his company to France and took part in the Champagne-Marne defense and the Aisne-Marne counter offensive.”

The official citation of Dilboy’s Congressional Medal for Bravery reads: “Private Dilboy, accompanying his platoon leader to reconnoiter the ground beyond, was suddenly fired upon an enemy machine gun, rushed forward with his bayonet fixed through a wheat field toward the gun emplacement.”

Dilboy fell “within twenty-five yards of the gun, with his right leg nearly severed and with several bullet holes in his body. With courage undaunted, he continued to fire into the emplacement from a prone position, killing two of the enemy and dispersing the rest of the crew,” the citation notes.

Dilboy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest medal America can bestow upon a soldier, which was presented to his father, Antonios Dilboy.

Read more: George Dilboy, The First Greek-American who Fell in World War I


Milford celebrates: 100 years ago, World War I ended and the American Legion was born 

By Susan Bromley
via the Hometown Life (USA Today newspaper) web site

The American Legion in Milford is celebrating 100 years since the end of World War I and the birth of America’s largest veteran’s organization.

Ernest OldenburgErnest F. Oldenburg was a soldier from Milford, MI killed in action in World War I. The American Legion Post 216 in Milford is named after him. An open house was held July 21 at the Ernest F. Oldenburg American Legion Post 216, 510 W. Commerce Road, Milford.

World War I formally ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919 and its subsequent ratification.

“At the end of WWI, President Theodore Roosevelt and 200 soldiers met in Paris, and they had talked about making a veterans organization to take care of the fallen and wounded soldiers when they got back home,” said Bonnie Welbaum, 20-year member of the Milford post. “The Legion helps veterans and their families get benefits.”

The American Legion Post in Milford originated in the Grand Army Republic (GAR) building in 1919, formerly used by Civil War soldiers, in front of the Presbyterian church on Main Street, she said.

Around 1945, Henry Ford sold the property at 510 W. Commerce Road in Milford to the American Legion with the stipulation that the post be named after his friend Ernest F. Oldenburg, a soldier from the Milford area who served with the 32nd Red Arrow Division and was killed in action in France in 1918. In 1946, the new building opened.

The American Legion Post in Milford currently has about 200 members from all over the area, but veterans from World War II and the Korean War are passing quickly and many are homebound and are unable to attend monthly meetings or be actively involved. Vietnam veterans are also aging and Welbaum hopes that the open house will attract new veterans to become involved.

Anyone interested in joining the Legion needs to bring discharge papers and have served during wartime. Welbaum notes that anyone who has served in the military after Sept. 11 is eligible for the American Legion as this time period has been determined to be the war on terrorism.

Family members of veterans also are eligible to join support groups including the Auxiliary, Riders, and Sons of the American Legion. Veterans who haven’t served during war time can join AMVETS.

Read more: Milford celebrates: 100 years ago, World War I ended and the American Legion was born


5cea2c8eab7ca.imageThe World War I-era French Gratitude Train sits in an enclosed area at Sarg Hubbard Park in Yakima. 

It Happened Here: Veterans monuments installed at Sarg Hubbard Park in Yakima, WA

By Donald W. Meyers
via the Yakima Herald-Republic newspaper (WA) web site

“The beginning of the end of war lies in remembrance.”

— Herman Wouk

As people in Yakima honored the nation’s and area’s war dead this Memorial Day, one of the places they went is Sarg Hubbard Park.

There, at the end of the park’s main drive, are monuments to several of the nation’s 20th- and 21st century wars.

“Right there, in that one spot, in a 270-degree arc you can see memorials to World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the desert wars,” said Al Brown, former executive director of the Yakima Greenway Foundation, which oversees the park.

The first of the memorials, a boxcar from the French Mercí Train, was dedicated in 1990, where it stands as a reminder of World War II and America’s efforts to help rebuild Europe after the war. In response to the Friendship Train donations of food and clothing to Europe, the people of France responded with a 49-car train containing a variety of gifts for Americans, ranging from a carriage used by King Louis XV to tree seedlings.

The cars were known as “40 and 8s,” for the signs on their side indicating their capacity — 40 men or eight horses. In World War I, American Doughboys were ferried to the front lines in such box cars.

After their arrival by ship in February 1949, the French gratitude cars were distributed to each state, with the District of Columbia and the then-Territory of Hawaii sharing one. Washington’s arrived later that month in Seattle and was eventually moved to Olympia, where it languished near the state Capitol until a member of the Yakima County chapter of the Society of 40 and 8 veterans group spotted the moss-covered, vandalized relic in the 1970s.

With help from local businesses and then-U.S. Rep. Sid Morrison, the 40 and 8 veterans group moved the car to Yakima where it was restored and put on display at Sarg Hubbard Park in a covered pavilion.

The car, which has had a few touch-ups since then, bears the crests of each of the French provinces. Its care was recently turned over to the Greenway Foundation, as the veterans group became too small to manage it.

Read more: It Happened Here: Veterans monuments installed at Sarg Hubbard Park


5d2c19ec8e1c2.imageLion's Club President and former Idaho State VFW Commander Kenny Alsterlund speaks during a memorial service for Lester Dean Hayton, who went missing in action during WWI. on July 20, 1918.

Memorial honors Palouse, ID soldier lost to war a century past 

By Scott Jackson
via the Moscow-Pullman Daily News (ID) newspaper web site

It has been more than a century since the city of Palouse received word that it had lost one of its sons to the world’s first truly global war.

Lester Dean Hayton moved to Palouse with his family in 1913, when he was 21. Six years later, Hayton’s family would receive word that he had gone missing in action following the Battle of Chateau-Thierry during World War I, and was presumed dead.

On the 100-year anniversary of the notice, Palouse resident Brad Pearce led a memorial Sunday for the man at the city’s Hayton-Greene Park beneath an iron archway that bears Hayton’s name and that of another of the small town’s fallen — Cpl. William Greene.

Pearce said he is not related to either man, but felt a responsibility to commemorate their sacrifice.

“I got really interested once I found out that the park was actually called the Hayton-Greene Park because everyone just calls it the Palouse Park,” Pearce said. “I wanted to do something to raise awareness and to teach people about why the park is called this and to know who this person was.”

Pearce said he was able to glean some insight into Hayton’s life through records of the town’s newspaper and by all accounts, his was “the classic WWI story.”

“He was a strapping young farmer, he was a devout Christian who was involved in the church and in Sunday school, and when it came time, he was in the first round of people that were drafted to go to France,” Pearce said. “He didn’t ask for an exemption and he was part of a small group of people that were in the original wave of people from our county to go fight overseas.”

Read more: Memorial honors Palouse, ID soldier lost to war a century past


WI teacher honors local WWI veteran during 100th anniversary 

via the television (WI) web site

PORTAGE COUNTY, Wis. (WSAW) -- Joseph Nowinski, a social studies teacher at Almond-Bancroft, was one of 18 teachers nationwide selected to research and deliver a eulogy of a fallen hero in France during the 100th commemoration of World War I this June. 

That hero was Sylvester Machinski who was born in Wisconsin and fought in World War I. To this day relatives of this hero still live in Portage County.

Machinski was born in Wild Rose and lived there for 18 years before moving to Chicago where he started a family. In June of 1917 he was drafted and went to war. He later succumbed to the Spanish Flu and died in 1918. He was buried in France where Nowinski presented his eulogy.

After much of his research Nowinski said he became attached to these forgotten heroes. "What happens when you don't know someone, you can't even see a picture of them but they feel like family," explained Joseph Nowinski.

Nowinski says he will bring this experience back to the classroom to give his students a better understanding of the past and present. "It's that past that helps us understand what brought us here and if we don't have an understanding of that we probably won't have the best future. We can learn a lot from the past and that gives us this present," said Nowinski.

The program Memorializing the Fallen is a teacher professional development program from National History Day and sponsored by the United States World War I Centennial Commission.



Dan Boehmke and Edward BoehmkeDan Boehmke (left) with the ships bell from the SS Tuscania. His father Edward Boehmke (right) survived the sinking of the WWI American troopship in World War I.

AR History Club hears World War I personal story 

By Jeff Meek
via the Hot Springs Village Voice (AR) newspaper web site

Hot Springs Village resident Dan Boehmke gave a detailed, fascinating presentation about his father’s World War I service, taken from personal letters and other research.

His father, Edward C. Boehmke, served in a Wisconsin National Guard unit that eventually was sent to Europe in 1918. Dan put it all in a book titled, “The Unsinkable Edward C. Boehmke: The Story of Waukesha’s WWI Company L and the sinking of the SS Tuscania,” co-authored by John M. Schoenknecht.

Edward Boehmke came to Wisconsin in 1914, settling in Waukesha. In 1917, newspapers in America covered the war raging in Europe and the possibility of U.S. involvement. In Waukesha, a National Guard unit was formed which later evolved into the Fourth Wisconsin Infantry, Company L.

They trained with wooden guns at Camp Douglas in Wisconsin, then later went off to Camp Arthur in Waco, Texas to be attached to the 32nd Infantry Division.

In Jan. 1918, the unit traveled by train to Hoboken, New Jersey, where they boarded the SS Tuscania for the trip overseas as part of a convoy beginning on Jan. 28, 1918. As they neared the Scottish coast, the ship was torpedoed. According to a New York Times headline, 2,179 troops were onboard, 260 of which lost their lives.

It was not until March 9 that the family heard from Edward who said he was alive, happy and had lost everything he had with him except for a comb. At the Club meeting it was fascinating to hear Dan read from his father’s letters describing the harrowing experience of surviving the sinking of the Tuscania.

Read more: AR History Club hears World War I personal story


PA teacher creates curriculum in Versailles for treaty’s 100th anniversary

By Michella Drapac
via the ABC 27 WHTM (PA) web site

HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – Megan Kopp’s passion for teaching is evident. She’s a lifelong learner and a veteran. In fact, there are a lot of veterans in her family.

“My grandmother was in World War II, my grandfather was in World War II, my other grandfather was in the Air Force, my dad was Vietnam, my brothers are both Air Force as well, my husband’s in the Air Force,” said Kopp, a Milton Hershey High School Social Studies teacher.

Kopp was one of just a handful of teachers chosen out of hundreds to travel to France through a program by National History Day (NHD). They celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles, and each teacher developed a new lesson plan to be used by teachers across the country.

“My life was changed because of the G.I. Bill, and in World War I, the G.I. Bill didn’t exist, and really there was no plan for the soldiers who came home, so my lesson plan’s all about that,” said Kopp.

The lesson plan will be published by National History Day in the fall. The NHD program is sponsored by the United States World War I Centennial Commission.

“We look at a lot of primary documents, which is a way that historians and history teachers are moving in our classrooms instead of just reading out of a textbook or watching a movie. We’re looking at primary documents and the students have to grapple with what went wrong and how the country changed after that,” said Kopp.

Read more: PA teacher creates curriculum in Versailles for treaty’s 100th anniversary


National History Day's New World War I Webinar -- A Scholarship Opportunity! 

By Lynne O'Hara, National History Day
Special to the United States World War One Centennial Commission web site

National History Day (NHD) is excited to be offering scholarship for our World War I webinar series in the fall.

Two LogosNational History Day has engaged with several partners to commemorate the World War I Centennial. NHD has created resources to offer different perspectives on the war, engage students with unique primary sources, and remember those who served and sacrificed as part of the war effort.

NHD is excited to be offering scholarships for LEGACIES OF WORLD WAR I, our World War I Webinar series in the fall. Free tuition and credit is available for two teachers from every NHD Affiliate.

Through this program, teachers can earn a certificate of professional development hours or three graduate extension credit units from the University of San Diego.

Applications for a scholarship will be accepted through July 30, 2019. All teachers will be notified by August 16, 2019.

Read more: National History Day's New World War I Webinar -- A Scholarship Opportunity!

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