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World War I Centennial News



Peter Simmons almost goes to war

By Bill Hand
via the Sun Journal newspaper (New Bern, NC) web site

Let’s continue with another look or two at Craven County’s World War I heroes.

AR 190928250The grave site of Peter Nelson SimmonsThe New Bern Historical Society’s Claudia Houston deserves a lot of credit for a lot of this information. Cooperating with American Legion Post 539 in preparation for the 100th anniversary of the World War I-inspired veteran’s organization and the rededication of the county World War I memorial at the courthouse, she put in hours of research on these men, helping to dig up some 16 war casualties that the original marker missed. This, despite having to temporarily move to Florida while her Florence-devastated home is being restored.

Originally set up in the Jim Crow era, no African Americans were represented on the original monument (though one was later chiseled in). But seven were added this year, among them Peter Nelson Simmons.

Peter was born in Jones County around 1896 to Abraham and Mary Jane Simmons. The family moved to Township 7′s Pollocksville Road by 1910 where his father owned a farm and Peter – now 14 – no doubt worked. Over the next few years Peter also spent some time teaching school in Pamlico County.

Originally, America was happy to let Europe fight the Great War and enjoyed the profits of selling munitions and supplies to the allied powers. Germany, however, did not see all those ships supplying England as being neutral and, on January 31, 1917, declared it would sink any ships, British, American or otherwise, that it could find in the war zones. By March, five American ships were destroyed.

So, on April 6, America declared war, joined the fray, and sent millions of young men to war, of whom 116,516 never came home – unless they did so in boxes.

In May, the US started up the draft for all men ages 21 to 31 and Peter registered for on June 5. Thirteen months later, on July 29, 1918, he was inducted into the army.

His boot camp was at Camp Greene in Charlotte where he was assigned to the 810 Pioneer Infantry as part of a medical detachment. He may have sung the popular “Over There” song with his fellow recruits, but he never made it “over there” himself. In fact, he never made it out of camp for, at the height of the influenza epidemic of 1918 on October 14.

Medicine was still in the process of becoming truly modern and up to – and through – the World War, America lost more men to sickness than to bayonets, rifles and bombs. In that war, 63,114 soldiers and sailors died of disease or other causes (including training) while 53,402 – about 10,000 less – died on the battlefield.

The influenza epidemic of that year, spreading Spanish flu around the world – was the worst in history. Historians estimate that it infected nearly a third of the planet’s population, killing 20 to 50 million of them. That didn’t match the overall death rate of 70 to 85 million civilians and soldiers world-wide, but it easily outdid our own casualties, taking out 675,000 Americans.

Peter’s body was returned home to Perrytown where he was buried in the Perrytown Community Cemetery.

Read more: Peter Simmons almost goes to war


Windmill snipThe nearly 100-year-old Dutch-style windmill is the creation of WWI veteran John Roessler. Currently, the Riverland Terrace Garden Club has taken over the upkeep of the windmill but expenses are building.

James Island residents raising money to preserve windmill created by WWI veteran 

By Alissa Holmes
via the Live 5 News television station (Charleston, SC) web site

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A two-story wooden windmill sits on the banks of the Wapoo Creek in the back of the Riverland Terrace neighborhood.

The nearly 100-year-old Dutch-style windmill is the creation of WWI veteran John Roessler. Currently, the Riverland Terrace Garden Club has taken over the upkeep of the windmill but expenses are building.

In the 1930s, Roessler built the windmill to honor his time spent in Holland. The windmill quickly became a neighborhood landmark and physical reminder for all veterans.

Edith McLemore is a member of the Garden Club and long-time resident of Riverland Terrace. She shared fond memories of the windmill and says they’ve almost lost it before.

“We were thinking about having just to give it up. Because it was so expensive to keep up. And the people in the Terrace just banded together and came down to a meeting here. And there were so many that were interested in it that we decided To go ahead and try to keep it up and keep the insurance on it and everything we needed to do,”’ McLemore said.

The Riverland Terrace Garden Club took over the windmill in the early 2000s.

Trish Bender is another member of the Garden Club, she says any help is appreciated.

“You can imagine an all-wooden structure, set on the waterside, it needs a lot of money and a lot of preservation," Trish Bender. "And we like to preserve In character with the wood and plans that were original to John. It’s an expensive endeavor and it costs a lot to ensure.”

Read more: James Island residents raising money to preserve windmill created by WWI veteran


In rededication, donor felt Illinois WWI memorial ‘needed to be done’ 

By Steven Spearie
via the State Journal-Register newspaper (IL) web site

Phineas Gates of Divernon had seen the memorial honoring Sangamon County enlisted residents who perished in World War I from afar as it sat on First Street and North Grand Avenue at “Vose Corner.”

But Gates didn’t know until recently that his paternal great-uncle, Phineas Colliflower Gates, who served in the U.S. Navy and died of Spanish influenza 101 years ago Thursday, was listed on the memorial.

“Katie Spindell (who is on the Oak Ridge Cemetery board of managers) contacted me and asked if I was related to him,” Gates said.

After Wednesday’s formal dedication of the monument, which was recently re-located to Oak Ridge, Gates said he was “proud” to see his namesake listed on the obelisk.

“I consider it an honor,” Gates said, “that they have the monument here now with the other (war memorials).”

Earlier this month, it became public that the one-time anonymous donor who paid for the monument’s construction and installation was John Kerasotes.

Kerasotes, who is now 96, was in attendance at the rededication with his son, Denis Kerasotes.

“This is where (my father) wanted (the monument) to be all along,” Denis Kerasotes said. “I’m sure this made him very, very happy, to get, not so much the recognition for him, but recognition for who he was trying to honor, these (World War I) veterans.”

Read more: In rededication, donor felt WWI memorial ‘needed to be done’


100 Years Later, MO Town Continues to Honor Their WW1 Sons 

By Shannon Becker
via the Four States Homepage web site

Looking at the newly set World War I Memorial in Carterville Cemetery you can tell there is a theme going with two pedestals standing tall and then three others empty.

“We did one memorial for the Civil War Veterans here at Carterville last year. And now this is the second we’ve done, we are privileged to be a part of honoring Veterans of Carterville,” Billy Joslen of Quality Memorials tells Joplin News First.

One of the cemetery board members, Calvin Divine, who didn’t want to speak on camera told us that the men on the front of the WWI Memorial Stone are men that fought and died in Europe. They were originally buried across the ocean. The men on the back of the memorial served but came home. Each one of them listed though are buried in Carterville Cemetery.

US Recovery of Dead

History tells us it was a different time 100 years ago. Bodies of soldiers were buried near where they died in the European conflicts. Refrigeration and transportation were a challenge with the world at war. So in 1920 after WWI the United States spent two years and more than $30 million recovering the soldiers who died on the battle front.

American families could choose, have their remains sent home to America, or have their loved ones placed in newly created American Military Cemeteries in Europe.

The remains of 46,000 soldiers were returned to the United States at their families’ request, while another 30,000 were laid to rest in military cemeteries in Europe.

Six of those soldiers were returned to the United States, to their families in Carterville, Missouri. They were then buried here, at home. And they continue to be honored with a new Memorial, 100 years later.

Read more: 100 Years Later, MO Town Continues to Honor Their WW1 Sons


Special Exhibition ETCHED IN MEMORY Opens At National WWI Museum And Memorial in KC 

via the Broadway World web site

The Great War caused vast destruction across Europe, and in addition to the lives lost in battle, many cultural landmarks were damaged or destroyed.

Etched in Stone snipEtched in Memory, the latest special exhibition from the National WWI Museum and Memorial, features color etchings by British artist James Alphege Brewer published throughout the Great War as a reminder of the cultural losses it inflicted.

"Our cultural institutions say a lot about who we are as a society," said Jonathan Casey, Director of Archives and the Edward Jones Research Center at the National WWI Museum and Memorial. "It is crucial to understand the Great War's impact on cultural institutions and how that affected society. Etched in Memory provides a window into the cultural tragedies suffered during the Great War."

Brewer's series of etchings were influential. They were begun on the basis of newspaper speculation prior to the German invasion of Belgium and their publication closely followed the events of the war in news from the front.

This exhibition features 15 etchings depicting scenes directly affected by the Great War. The etchings are supported by images of destruction and devastation from the Museum and Memorial, juxtaposing the iconic buildings before and after the tragedy of the war. Some of Brewer's war etchings were copied and distributed widely in the United States and could be found hung on parlor walls in solidarity with the Allied cause.

Read more: Special Exhibition ETCHED IN MEMORY Opens At National WWI Museum And Memorial


5d8698040a358.imageFrom left, Air Force ROTC cadets Ricardo Iniguez, Colton Estes and Dylan Harris, and volunteer Keegan Van Geem locate a veteran’s grave so they can place a medallion at IOOF Cemetery. Volunteers placed the markers on the graves of 176 World War I veterans graves in Denton.

Volunteers place medallions on WWI veterans’ graves in Denton, TX

By Zaira Perez
via the Denton Record-Chronicle newspaper (TX) web site

While one volunteer held down a patriot medallion, another used a bolt and hammer to lodge its stake about 6 inches into the ground next to a World War I veteran’s grave.

Volunteers repeated this process Saturday until medallions decorated the final resting places of 176 WWI veterans at IOOF and Oakwood cemeteries in Denton.

The project is a collaboration between the locally based Texas Veterans Hall of Fame and Historic Denton, a nonprofit making efforts for historic preservation in the city.

Gary Steele, with the Veterans Hall of Fame, said they started with World War I veterans since 2018 marked the 100-year anniversary of the war’s end.

“There’s about 800 veterans in both cemeteries,” Steele said. “Today we’re going to celebrate the 100-year [anniversary]. Our goal is to do all the veterans in these two cemeteries and we’ll partner with other cities to do this.”

Each medallion has a scannable QR code on the back. When the code is scanned with a mobile device, it’ll lead to a page on the Texas Veterans Hall of Fame website about the particular veteran once website development is complete.

Steele said families are welcome to provide biographies for veterans as long as they were born in Texas or lived in the state for at least seven years.

The computer science department at University of North Texas is also working with the organization to create a mobile application where people can find the cemetery where a veteran is buried if they know the city they’re buried in.

Read more: Volunteers place medallions on WWI veterans’ graves in Denton , TX


originalCompany A 151st MGB -Vivian Roberts served as a platoon leader in Company A, 151st Machine Gun Battalion which mobilized for France in October 1917. (Photo Credit: Georgia Guard Archives) 

First Lieutenant Vivian Roberts:The Georgia National Guard's only POW of WWI 

By Maj. William Carraway, Historian, Georgia Army National Guard
via the web site

MACON, Ga. -The United States observes National Prisoner of War / Missing in Action Recognition Day on the third Friday in September. This day allows provides a moment of pause to remember those who have been held as prisoners of war during our nation's conflicts and those listed as missing in action. One hundred years ago, the only Georgia Guardsmen held as a POW during World War I began his long journey home to Macon, Ga. from a prison hospital in Germany.


Vivian Hill Roberts Sr. was born September 29, 1887, in Jackson Ga. He enlisted in the Macon Hussars, then Company F of the 2nd Georgia Infantry Regiment as a private July 26, 1906. Roberts served in every enlisted rank, culminating in a stint as the first sergeant of Company F before accepting a commission as a second lieutenant March 1, 1915. He was working as a bookkeeper for Benson Clothing Company in Macon when the Georgia Guard was deployed to the Mexican Border in August 1916. Returning with his regiment in 1917, Roberts company was redesignated Company A, 151st Machine Gun Battalion and assigned to the 42nd Division which sailed to France in October 1917.

As a platoon leader, Roberts led his machine gun sections from the Baccarat Sector near the southern terminus of the Western Front through the fiery Champagne Marne Defensive. He was promoted to first lieutenant May 15, 1918.

On July 28, 1918, Roberts' Company was heavily engaged while supporting infantry assaults on German positions near Sergy France. The men of the 151st MGB were ordered to move forward with the Infantry Regiments of the 84th Brigade, 42nd Division. As the machine gunners were already overly burdened with heavy machine guns and ammunition, Roberts ordered the men to remove unnecessary gear -- including packs and canteens. In the assault, the men would only carry ammunition and gas masks.


Roberts recalled moving forward with four machine guns and establishing firing positions for his sections. Unable to proceed due to the presence of enemy machine guns positioned near the crest of the hill upon which he was advancing, Roberts requested infantry support which came in the form of a company from the 167th under command of Capt. Wyatt. Roberts recalls what happened next.

Read more: The Georgia National Guard's only POW of WWI


gbfd photo monument cropped 20164912113The Goldens Bridge American Legion monument memorializing hamlet residents who served in both WWI and WWII being moved to its new home at the Golden's Bridge Fire Department. A special dedication ceremony of the World Wars monument was held at the Golden's Bridge Fire Department third annual Community Day at the Firehouse on Saturday, Oct. 19.

New Home for Goldens Bridge, NY WWI Monument 

By Michael Woyton
via the Bedford-Katonah Patch newspaper (NY) web site

GOLDENS BRIDGE, NY — It has been a fixture in Goldens Bridge for decades. Now the American Legion monument that memorializes hamlet residents who served in both World Wars has a new home at the Golden's Bridge Fire Department.

The monument, a 4-ton granite stone affixed with a pair of bronze plaques emblazoned with the names of 76 Goldens Bridge residents, who served in the military and defended the nation during World Wars I and II, had been displayed outside the front entrance of the Community House on Old Bedford Road.

With the Community House now under private ownership because the Town of Lewisboro sold the building, Golden's Bridge Fire District and Department officials petitioned the town board for permission to relocate the monument to the grounds of the firehouse.

Town Supervisor Peter Parsons agreed with Fire Commissioner Joe Simoncini and Second Assistant Fire Chief Al Melillo, as well as John B. Winter Jr. Post No. 1734 American Legion representative Charles Green, when they appeared before a town board meeting over the summer to make the case for the monument's relocation to the Golden's Bridge Firehouse.

The monument is now prominently located in front of the firehouse on Route 138, just to the left of the main entrance across from the fire bell and, appropriately, beneath the American flag that flies over the building.

Read more: New Home for Goldens Bridge, NY WWI Monument


CeremonyFuneral services for Private Edward Auton Adams at the National Cemetery in South San Francisco. The WWI veteran was finally laid to rest after his remains were discovered in supply closet.

CA WWI veteran finally laid to rest after his remains were discovered in supply closet 

By Zachary Rogers
via the WKRC & CNN NEWSOURCE Local 12 television station (OH) web site

SEASIDE, Calif. (WKRC) - In an office building in California, sat a small, cardboard box. It had been there for almost 30 years.

Contained in that box were the ashes of Private Edward Auton Adams, a World War I veteran who served 100 years ago.

Now, thanks to Attorney Alec Arago, Private Adams has finally been laid to rest.

Arago's story starts back in 2017, when he was on a tour of his new office. His colleague showed him the box of cremated remains. No one knew who the remains belonged to or how they got there.

Arago began to do some digging. He noticed the box was addressed to a cemetery. He reached out to his local congressman's office on the hunch that the remains may be that of a veteran's.

Private Adams was supposed to be laid to rest with his family in the Bay Area, but that didn't happen for some reason, so the remains were sent back to Monterey.

Upon learning about Private Adam's fate, Congressman Jimmy Panetta, who is Arago's congressman, decided that something ought to be done.

"It was basically providing Mr. Adams with the ceremony that he didn't get back in 1991 and he deserves to have, as all our veterans do, those who served be it in WWI or be it in Afghanistan," said Congressman Panetta to KSBW News.

Read more: WWI veteran finally laid to rest after his remains were discovered in supply closet


AR 190919741John Kerasotes, left, talks with his son Denis as they sit at the World War I memorial that had just been transplanted near the other war memorials at Oak Ridge Cemetery Tuesday. John publicly revealed himself to be the anonymous donor that paid for the memorial that was originally erected at First Street and North Grand Avenue in Springfield in 2003. \"He just wanted to honor the World War I veterans and the ones who died from the area,\" said Denis, who added that his dad spent a lot of time finding the names of the 112 soldiers and one nurse from the area who died. The memorial will be re-dedicated at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25. [Ted Schurter/The State Journal-Register] 

IL WWI memorial relocated, anonymous donor revealed 

via the State Journal Register newspaper (IL) web site

A memorial honoring Sangamon County residents killed in World War I has been moved from First Street and North Grand Avenue to a location west of the Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery.

The reinstallment of the memorial also served as an unveiling of sorts, publicly acknowledging the formerly anonymous donor who paid for the World War I monument that was constructed and installed in the early 2000s.

John Kerasotes, 96, one of four brothers who helped grow his father’s local Kerasotes movie theater operation into a larger chain, is now publicly acknowledging he is the formerly anonymous donor who paid for the monument’s construction and installation.

“He also researched it. I mean, it was just his entire project. He tried to track down, get all the names right and spent a lot of time doing that, too,” said Denis Kerasotes, John Kerasotes’ son.

The names of more than 100 Sangamon County residents who lost their lives in the war appear on the memorial.

An inscription on the monument reads: “Dedicated to those who lost their lives while in the service of their country.”

A formal dedication of the relocated memorial took place on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

“He just saw it was something felt he wanted and needed to do, and they needed to be recognized and honored,” Denis Kerasotes said.

Read more: IL WWI memorial relocated, anonymous donor revealed


marines france 1United States Marines in France during World War I. 

How World War I shaped the modern world 

By David Lindeman
via the Piqua Daily Call newspaper (Troy OH) web site

On Nov. 11, America will once again celebrate Veterans Day. It’s always on Nov. 11 because on that day in 1918 World War I came to an end. Well, actually, back then it wasn’t World War I, because no one knew about World War II yet. It was just called the Great War or “The War to End All Wars” because no one knew an even greater war was just around the bend.

Most of us don’t think about World War I much, but in many ways it shaped the modern world. Here are a few things about the war you might not know:

• It was bad, but the Spanish Flu was worse. Just as the war was ending, a flu pandemic swept the world. It is estimated 19 million people died due to the war; the flu killed as many as 50 million. The Spaniards got blamed for it because a bunch of them died first, but it seems to actually have started in a military camp in Kansas. The Kansas Flu doesn’t have the same ring.

• Daylight Saving Time. The idea was old, but a bunch of countries actually started implementing it during the war to save resources. Germany and Austria-Hungary (yes, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was a big deal back then) started the trend and everyone else followed. We’ve been doing it ever since, except for parts of Indiana which held out until about a dozen years ago, when they finally caught up with the rest of the world. I’m all for just keeping daylight saving time all the time and forgetting the fall back, but that’s probably not going to happen.

• Zippers. They’ve been around a long time, too, but they first starting being mass produced during the war for military uniforms.

• Plastic surgery. British surgeon Harold Gilles became the father of modern plastic surgery while trying to put injured soldiers back together. I wonder what Sir Harold would think about the various uses of plastic surgery today.

• Pilates. It seems like there was this German circus guy named Joseph Pilates who was interned in England during the war because you just didn’t want Germans running around without supervision (this is still a good idea, especially during October). Joseph didn’t have much to do, so he invented a method to stay in shape, which we know today as Pilates.

Read more: How World War I shaped the modern world


2019 event paintingThe Annual Flanders Remembers Concertin New York, NY November 6 will feature a performance of "Shelter" by Revue Blanche, and readings from War and Turpentine by award-winning author Stefan Hertmans. (Photo by Kylli Sparre) 

Annual Flanders Remembers Concert in NYC features performance of "Shelter" by Revue Blanche 

via the web site (New York, NY)

On the occasion of Veterans Day 2019, Mr. Yves Wantens, General Delegate of the Government of Flanders to the USA, kindly invites you to the Annual Flanders Remembers Concert on November 6, 7pm. Enjoy Shelter by Revue Blanche, and featuring readings from War and Turpentine by award-winning author Stefan Hertmans.

Doors open at 6:30pm. The performance will be followed by a reception. Submit your RSVP by October 30.

One hundred years ago, the United States was engaged in Flanders Fields during the First World War. It was the arrival of fresh American troops that enabled the Allies to turn the tide of war and force the Central powers to sue for peace. No art form is as strongly associated with warfare than music. World War I in particular, inspired a considerable number of highly engaged compositions. Rousing marches accompanied soldiers to the battlefield and a clarion call gave the signal to attack. Behind the front line, however, music was also a form of therapy, offering consolation and distraction, aiming to keep the atrocities of war at a distance.

"Shelter," literally meaning "bunker," also carries warmer connotations such as "protection" and a "safe haven." While some composers suspended their writing activities, others were inspired by the war experiences to compose music expressing a spectrum of contrary emotions. To a great number among them, the cruelties and traumas of the war undoubtedly proved a lifelong influence. Revue Blanche will bring their personal, heartfelt accounts to a contemporary audience with music by Ravel, Debussy, Granados, De Falla, Eisler, and Gurney.



Grandad Jeff composite2 1000Left: My Grandfather, George A. Carlson, 89th Division, 353rd Infantry Regiment, Company A from Denver, Colorado. To the right: I am sitting on the church steps in Stenay, France. 

My Connection with the French Town of Stenay and the 100th American Anniversary Ceremonies in the Meuse-Argonne

By Jeffrey A. Lowdermilk
Special to the United States World War One Centennial Commission web site

Part 1: Introduction, The Story Begins

Stephan Perrin, the Mayor of Stenay, France asked me to write a series of articles about my history with Stenay, including my stories and photographs of the 100th anniversary ceremonies commemorating the end of the First World War. The town of Stenay has been an extremely important part of my life because my Grandfather, George A. Carlson, entered the town on the morning of the Armistice, November 11, 1918. The following aticle was translated into French and was published this past winter as installments in Stenay’s regional magazine. So, I thought readers here at home would also enjoy my stories. 

“We stayed up all night and talked, because we knew in the morning we would all be killed,” Granddad said with a somber face. I was a ten-year-old and sat wide-eyed on the sofa as Granddad told me his Armistice Day story for the first time. He went on:

“It was the evening of November 10, and we were camped near the old train station on the west side of the Meuse River. On the other side of the river was the town of Stenay, and our orders were to attack Stenay in the morning. When the Germans retreated, they dynamited the bridge, so huge blocks of concrete were scattered in the river. The only way across was to pick our way from block to block, and we knew there was a German machine gun in every window of the town pointed at the demolished bridge. But, early the next morning a messenger rode through camp and told us that the Armistice had been signed. Later that morning I was the eighth or ninth man across the river and we went into town without a fight. We sure were lucky as most of the Germans had retreated during the night.”

This was the first time I had heard about Stenay, France. The town is so important to me because this is where my Grandfather was on the morning of the Armistice.

WWI OverviewMap5HiRes 1000Battlefield Map: The blue line represents the path of the 89th Division and my Grandfather. The town of Stenay is just to the southeast of the center of the map.World War I was such a powerful part of my grandfather’s life. I can even remember my grandmother, Dorothy, saying with a smile, “I got your grandfather with a box of Sunshine Biscuits.” She explained that the biscuit company’s slogan during the war was, “A doughboy in every box!” The term “doughboy,” which was the name given to the American World War I soldiers, has its roots in the Punitive Expedition of 1916. This military effort was commanded by General John J. Pershing, in which he attempted to capture the infamous Pancho Villa in northern Mexico. As the infantry marched through the alkaline deserts, they were covered in white dust and looked as though they had been rolled in flour. Thus, were called doughboys.

Granddad was twenty-three years old when he left Denver, Colorado’s Union Station on a “special” train carrying new doughboys to basic training on March 30, 1918. This is where his diary (which he gave the matter-of-fact title, “My Life in the Army”) begins. The train was bound for Camp Funston, which was within the Fort Riley military reservation, in the heart of Kansas.

During basic training, he was assigned to the 353rd Infantry Regiment (Company A) of the 89th Division, of which he was reverently proud. This division was known as the Rolling W, which had a symbol with a capital W inside a circle or wheel. The 89th Division was made up of men from the “Middle West,” specifically the states of Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, and South Dakota. As the symbol is rotated, it changes from M to W (Middle West). The 353rd Infantry Regiment was known as the Kansas Regiment. Their slogan was “We’re from Kansas,” and their emblem was a sunflower.

Read more: My Connection with the French Town of Stenay and the 100th American Anniversary Ceremonies in the...

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