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World War I Centennial News



Almond-Bancroft teacher to eulogize WWI soldier from Wild Rose who died in 1918 

By Keith Uhlig
via the Stevens Point Journal web site

ALMOND, WI — Pvt. Sylvester Mushinski was married and the father of three children when he died during World War I.

Joseph NowinskiJoseph NowinskiHe was a farm boy who grew up in Wild Rose, moved to the Chicago area and then enlisted in the Army in June 1917. He served in the 52nd Coastal Artillery Regiment, and his unit operated artillery guns mounted on railway cars. Mushinski died from disease on Oct. 22, 1918. He was 24 years old and buried in the St. Mihiel American Cemetery in Thiaucourt, France.

He was one of the 116,516 Americans who died in military service during the war, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

Now, a century after Mushinski's death, an Almond-Bancroft High School social studies teacher will deliver the soldier's eulogy in France.

Joseph Nowinski will speak about Mushinski at the St. Mihiel American Cemetery during an educational journey that he and 18 other teachers will take to France between June 18 and June 29. The journey is tied to the 100th anniversary of the formal ending of the war on June 28, 1919, when Allied forces and Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles. The educator was chosen last year to be part of a program called "Memorializing the Fallen," designed to help teachers develop professional skills and pay homage to the heroes who died in the war.

"We want to honor those who served us," Nowinski said. "We want to honor those who gave everything they could."

The program is offered through National History Day and sponsored by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, a Chicago nonprofit center where people can learn about military history and affairs.

Read more: Almond-Bancroft teacher to eulogize WWI soldier from Wild Rose who died in 1918


StubbySergeant Stubby, a short brindle bull terrier mutt, was officially decorated a hero of World War I. Regarded as the greatest war dog in the nation's history, he earned one wound stripe and three service stripes.

AKC Museum of the Dog honors Army's Sgt. Stubby, celebrated WWI service dog 

By Shaye Weaver
via the Stars and Stripes newspaper web site

NEW YORK (Tribune News Service) — He was the "goodest boy" of them all. As one of the first U.S. Army service dogs, bull terrier mix Sgt. Stubby endured mustard gas and shrapnel from grenades during his time in World War I France.

The long-treasured mascot's bravery and service will be honored with an unveiling of a bronze statue in his likeness at the AKC Museum of the Dog in Manhattan on May 23, where it will be housed permanently.

Stubby was on the front lines of 17 battles over the course of 18 months, warning his unit of chemical attacks – he had a specialty gas mask to fit over his little muzzle – and incoming artillery shells. He also helped find wounded soldiers and offered them comfort, and even captured a German spy by the seat of his pants in the Argonne — not letting go for anything. It was his role in nabbing the spy that earned him the rank of sergeant.

When Sgt. Stubby returned back from war, Gen. John J. Pershing awarded the four-legged fighter a medal for his bravery. The pooch even met three presidents, Wilson, Coolidge and Harding.

Stubby joined the Army somewhat by accident. In 1917, he wandered onto the camp of the 102nd Infantry Regiment of the 26th Yankee Division at Yale. A young soldier named Robert Conroy took a liking to him, named him "Stubby," and smuggled the dog onto his vessel in an overcoat when it was time to ship out.

Stubby essentially became the official mascot of the 102nd Infantry Regiment, with fans back in the States.

Read more: AKC Museum of the Dog honors Army's Sgt. Stubby, celebrated WWI service dog


Personal belongings of Burlington WWI soldier returned to American Legion Post 273 

By Rob Fucci
via the Burlington Union (VT) newspaper web site

When Claire Lohr was in her 30s and helping her grandmother, Mildred Parker McAleer, clean out her Washington, D.C., home, she rummaged through many items that had familiar names of family members she knew.

LohrClaire Lohr (left), whose grandmother was the widow of Burlington WWI hero Leonard Millican, holds his military bible during a ceremony on Monday, May 6, at the Millican MacKenzie American Legion hall in Burlington. Seated is Post Adjutant Bill Burbridge.But there was one item, a leather Bible that caught her eye. She opened it and saw a name scribbled inside.

“Who’s Leonard Millican?’,” she asked her grandmother. McAleer gave her granddaughter an honest answer: He was her first husband.

“She just didn’t talk about it,” Lohr said to about a dozen locals on Monday, May 6, at the Burlington American Legion hall which is named after Millican and fellow WWI hero Kenneth McKenzie. “All I have are little tidbits that came out sideways. This was very old-fashioned. She was a very conservative person. She would never do anything that would weaken what I thought of my grandfather or thought of them together. She kept it very private.”

Lohr was in Burlington on Monday, May 6, to donate the Millican family Bible, which included an embroidered tissue, to the American Legion Post 273.

A secret no more

The secret of her grandmother’s first husband came out rather matter-of-factly.

“They were living in their house in (Washington) D.C. and didn’t have storage for everything,” Lohr said. “I said I would take care of the Bible. They knew they could trust me with it.”

Lohr said she was 33 years old on that day the Millican name was first uttered.

“It’s a very checkered history,” she said. “I didn’t know about Leonard until I was in my 30s, because my grandmother didn’t want her children and her grandchildren to know there had been a man before my grandfather.”

Read more: Personal belongings of Burlington WWI soldier returned to American Legion Post 273


Iowa's 'Soldiers in White' honored with special ceremony at Capitol 

By Jacob Peklo
via the WeAreIOWA.com web site

DES MOINES - It has been 100 years since the Treaty of Versailles was signed to formally end World War I. On Sunday, Iowa's 'Soldiers in White' were honored again, with a special tribute to the women who served during the Great War.

A new bronze plaque was dedicated to those nurses next to the World War II Memorial at the State Capitol.

The original dedication ceremony to those soldiers was held in 1921. At the time, 10 birch trees were planted near this spot to honor them. Those trees have since been replaced with white oaks, but the bronze plaque is meant to be a lasting symbol for generations to come.

"Women in World War I served in a variety of capacities," said Michael Vogt of the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum. "Whether it's nurses with the YMCA, with the Red Cross, with the army nurse corps and even the Navy nurse corps and so their contributions to the war effort often times have been overlooked with what was vital and essential nonetheless."

Read more: Iowa's 'Soldiers in White' honored with special ceremony at Capitol


Paul Wittgenstein plays Raff - La Fileuse (arrangement for left hand alone) on a Baldwin piano at Salle Pleyel, Paris. Jan 17, 1933. 

The remarkable World War I saga of Pianist Paul Wittgenstein 

By Dakota White
Staff Writer

In World War I, over twenty one million people from around the world were wounded, including the famous left-handed pianist, Paul Wittgenstein.

Paul Wittgenstein 3 c BFMIPaul WittgensteinPaul Wittgenstein was born November 5, 1887 in Vienna, Austria. Son of the wealthy Karl Wittgenstein and Leopoldine Maria Josefa Kalmus. Wittgenstein was one of eight children, his younger brother the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. As a young child, his home was visited by many composers, including Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler, Josef Labor, and Richard Strauss. He would go on to study piano and made a public debut in 1913.

The Great War broke out the following year, and Wittgenstein was among the hundreds of thousands of Austrian males who were called into service. He saw a great deal of front-line combat, and during the battle of Galicia, he was shot and captured. His right arm was severely wounded, and doctors were forced to amputate it.

Nonetheless -- while a prisoner of war in Siberia -- Wittgenstein became determined to overcome this disability, and to play the piano before audiences again.

He first learned how to do the simple tasks, wash dishes, put a button shirt on, later he had drawn a charcoal outline of a keyboard on a wooden crate, so he could practice to perfect his one-hand technique. He wrote a letter to his old teacher, Josef Labor, requesting a concerto for only one hand.

Read more: The remarkable WWI saga of Pianist Paul Wittgenstein


Hudson OH plaque WWIThe World War I Memorial bronze tablet honors 81 WWI veterans from Hudson, OH who served their country.

Memorial Day Parade will remember WWI veterans

By Laura Freeman
via the MytownNEO.com web site

HUDSON, OH — A hundred years ago Americans traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to fight in the first World War.

The Memorial Day parade May 27 in Hudson will honor those who have served their country with a special speaker for those who served in World War I, which ended in 1919.

The parade will form on Milford Road at 8:30 a.m. and leave promptly at 10 a.m. with approximately 65 to 70 units in the parade, according to Parade Chairman Cindy Suchan-Rothgery.

“This important day is to remember all those who have given their lives so that we could live ours as we wish,” Suchan-Rothgery said.

The Hudson Police Color Guard will lead off the parade with the Hudson High School Marching Band performing the National Anthem at the Clocktower Green and at the Markillie Cemetery. Hudson elected officials and many civic groups including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will participate.

Participants will have a patriotic theme to honor Memorial Day and no candy or campaigning will be allowed during the solemn event.

The speaker this year is Joyce Hannum, American Legion past 14th District Commander, Suchan-Rothgery said.

“She will be speaking on Hudson during WW I and that the American Legion organization was also started 100 years ago,” Suchan-Rothgery said.

The Hudson Lee-Bishop Post 464 will be celebrating its 100 year anniversary next year, she said. Several of those named on the WW I Memorial were instrumental in starting the post.

“The Lee portion of the name is in honor of David Hudson Lee who served in WW I and died in France after the war,” she said. “He was a direct descendant of founder David Hudson. The Bishop name if for a WW I veteran that was from Twinsburg.”

Read more: Memorial Day Parade will remember World War I veterans



636286425335979622 CAMP SHERMAN REVIEW 3 This postcard shows a troop review at Camp Sherman during World War I. (Photo: Card courtesy of the Ross County Historical Society) 

Camp Sherman look back: A proud Chillicothe story 

By Tim Vollet
via the Chillicothe Gazette newspaper web site

Austin P. Story must have been puzzled when he checked the mailbox at his Caldwell Street home in early November 1975. Peeking out of the top was a large manila envelope addressed to him from Col. James B. Agnew of the Military History Institute in Carlisle, Pa. Tucked away inside was a lengthy 44 question survey inquiring about his experiences in World War I. The 84 year-old veteran had been discharged nearly 60 years earlier.

The Institute had sent out a similar survey in 1967 to 8000 veterans of the Spanish-American War, Philippine Insurrection and Boxer Rebellion. Unsure of what kind of response it would receive, the Institute was surprised when it received back some 800 completed surveys. It was ecstatic, however, because the old veterans also sent in boxes of photographs, letters, uniforms and countless other items they had kept over the years as personal remembrances.

“What the staff at the Military History Institute had failed to realize,” one historian suggested, “was what these surveys meant to the veterans of a forgotten war; men who were now in the sunset years of life. To them, someone finally cared about their experiences.”

Perhaps that’s what the white-haired Austin P. Story was thinking on that day in 1975 when he sat down and neatly printed answers to questions about his service in the 332nd Regiment during WWI.

Before America joined the war, Story detailed, he was a salesman for the Mead Pulp and Paper Company, but had long believed America “should get into the war.” After Congress finally declared war on April 6, 1917, therefore, the 26 year-old enlisted instead of waiting to be drafted. A graduate of Chillicothe High School and Cornell University, he applied for and was accepted to Officer’s training camp at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis for what he recorded as “very intensive training for 90 days.”

After successfully completing officer’s training, Story returned to Chillicothe a first lieutenant and was ordered to the newly constructed Camp Sherman and assigned to the 332nd Regiment. By January 1918, the Chillicothe native was promoted to Captain and put in charge of the 250 men who made up Company I of that regiment. 

Read more: Camp Sherman look back: A proud Chillicothe story


Jason DeCrow WWI 0411The Washington DC-based U.S. Navy Honor Guard participated in last Thursday's Wreath of Remembrance Ceremony, held in Brooklyn's Cypress Hills National Cemetery to honor the centennial of World War I and Navy-Marine Corps heroes in advance of Fleet Week 2019. 

Wreath of Remembrance Ceremony at NYC's Cypress Hills National Cemetery 

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

A Wreath of Remembrance Ceremony was held in Brooklyn's Cypress Hills National Cemetery, on Thursday of last week, to honor the centennial of World War I and Navy-Marine Corps heroes in advance of the U.S. Navy's Fleet Week New York,

The U.S. WWI Centennial Commission-sponsored event honored Sailors from France and the U.K. who died in New York City in 1918, along with double Medal of Honor recipients Coxswain John Cooper, USN and Sergeant Major Dan Daly, USMC.

Here are a few of the images that were captured by photographers covering the special event:

Read more: Wreath of Remembrance Ceremony at NYC's Cypress Hills National Cemetery


Mobile Museum May 2019 1Photo from the WWI Mobile Museum's recent setup Newburyport, MA shows how much material that this great historical/cultural resource has to display.

The World War I Mobile Museum is on the Move! 

By Keith Colley
Special to the United States World War One Centennial Commission web site

Note: We have been in touch with our friend Keith Colley, owner of the incredible WWI Mobile Museum (see previous articles here and here). Keith and the museum have been very busy telling the WWI story -- he recently completed a trip to New England, with several stops, and he also has shared with us his upcoming schedule. We talked to Keith for a bit last week, and he filled us in.—Chris Isleib, Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission

Keith ColleyKeith Colley on the road with the WWI Mobile MuseumThe WWI Mobile Museum had an amazing trip to the East Coast outside of Boston in the City of Newburyport which was settled in 1635 with guests from all over the east coast including Veterans from the First Massachusetts VFW in the Neighboring town of Haverhill which began in January of 1917.

The Museum was hosted by Avita of Newburyport. The guests were filled with so many stories and tears from their Fathers and Grandfathers time in “The Great War”. I think besides the amazing stories, I love when people bring personal items with them that their loved ones have kept over all the years and share their personal stories that keeps them alive 100 years later.

You will see a couple pics of items people shared with me at the showing. There was one man who brought his grandfathers pic from the war with all his fellow troops and set it up in hopes to find more names of his grandfather's buddies. It became very real as everyone wanted to help!

The goal of the WWI Mobile Museum is to make sure that every pPerson has the opportunity to pay their respects and remember a war from so long ago.

I would love to have the opportunity to bring the Museum to any event you might be having or you can just make the Museum your event. We are about to hit the 200,000 visitors mark and we would like to add you, your family, your friends and their friends to sign our guest book!

Read more: The World War I Mobile Museum is on the Move!


IMG 8473The Nashua-Plainfield High School National History Day group of Drew Moine, Abby Poppe, Tyler Anderson, Jayne Levi, and Lucas Pierce (with advisor Suzan Turner) 

National History Day Students Receive Award from Iowa Governor for WWI Project 

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

Great news from our friends at National History Day in Iowa.

The State Historical Society of Iowa Board of Trustees recently selected the Nashua-Plainfield High School History Club as the winner of the 2019 Loren Horton Community History Award Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Youth Project, for their video "Who They Were: Dedicated to Nashuans Who Served in World War I."

The project was truly a remarkable one. During the fall of 2018, five members of the Nashua-Plainfield National History Day program and their adult advisor, utilized a program sponsored by the World War I Centennial Commission and National History Day, to produce a seven-minute film about their local community's role in the Great War commemorating the 100th year anniversary of the war's armistice on November 11, 2018.

The film,"Who They Were: Dedicated to Nashuans Who Served in World War I," profiled a local fallen hero, a World War I veteran, and included information about the local community's support of the war effort.

Read more: National History Day Student Group Receives Award from Iowa Governor for WWI Project


DSC7586The tarp is lifted to unveil the stones, plaque and WW I USMC Doughboy helmet, dedicating the MARFOREUR/AF parade ground as ‘Devil Dog Field.’ (Photos by John Reese, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs)

Marines dedicate Panzer Kaserne parade ground as ‘Devil Dog Field’ 

By David S. Jones, U.S. Marine Forces Europe & Africa
via the StuttgartCitizen.com web site

The U.S. Marine Corps has long been associated with the Battle of Belleau Wood and its role in stopping the German advance on Paris in June 1918. But Belleau Wood was only the beginning of the story of the Corps in World War I as it would go on to fight at Soissons, St. Mihiel, Blanc Mont and the Meuse-Argonne, as well as fly bombing and pursuit missions over northern France and Belgium, anti-submarine missions out of the Azores, and serve as ship detachments on the sea lanes.

To commemorate that service and sacrifice across the battlefields of Europe on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Maj. Gen. Russell A. Sanborn, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, dedicated the parade ground in front of the MARFOREUR/AF headquarters as “Devil Dog Field” to recognize the nickname the Marines earned in World War I after their fight at Belleau Wood. Sanborn dedicated a memorial that recognizes the Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers that comprised the units fielded by the Marine Corps in the American Expeditionary Force.

World War I consumed millions of lives and forever changed the world, Sandborn said, adding that the the service and sacrifices of the AEF forces were a decisive factor in ending the war and set the Corps on the path to the modern fighting force that it has become.

“The names Belleau Wood, Soissons, St. Mihiel, Blanc Mont and Meuse-Argonne will forever be remembered as the Corps’ baptism of fire with modern warfare from which future generations would carry the torch on the battlefields of Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Chosin, Hue, Fallujah and many other battlefields around the globe,” Sandborn said.

Read more: Marines dedicate Panzer Kaserne parade ground as ‘Devil Dog Field’


Clifford RyanClifford T. Ryan’s mother died when he was 4. His wife died giving birth to their first child. His baby girl died, too. The 24-year-old infantryman from Emerson, Nebraska, was himself killed in action on the final day of World War I, after the war had ended.

The unlucky life of Nebraska's own Private Ryan, killed in action after WWI had already ended 

By Matthew Hansen
via the Omaha World-Herald newspaper web site

Our Private Ryan lived a cursed life, right up till the moment his commanding officer sent the Nebraska boy charging over a bloodied river in France.

Clifford T. Ryan is the full name of the 24-year-old infantryman sprinting through your mind. He’s carrying some serious baggage as he runs on Nov. 11, 1918. Cliff’s mother died when he was 4. He grew into a man and married his first love, Loretta. His wife died giving birth to their first child.

His baby girl died, too.

He enlisted in the Army then, and — just his luck — soon found himself stuck for three months on the brutal front line of The War to End All Wars.

The cursed man from tiny Emerson, Nebraska, is charging across the Meuse River now in our memories. Running hard until he falls and becomes one of the nearly 20 million people killed during World War I.

But even death itself isn’t the cursed part. Not for poor Cliff.

Clifford T. Ryan died 100 years ago Sunday. He died on the war’s final day. He quite likely died as the last Nebraskan to die in World War I.

And that, somehow, is still not the worst part.

Read more: The unlucky life of Nebraska's own Private Ryan, killed in action after WWI had already ended


Maquette detail with logo 1000A detail of the sculptural maquette for the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC, which will be on display in New York City during Fleet Week 2019. 

National WWI Memorial sculptural maquette on display at Fleet Week 2019

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

The U.S. Navy's big Fleet Week New York 2019 is coming up 22-27 May. During Fleet Week, there will be Sea Service-related concerts, appearances, tours, and other activities throughout the greater New York area during that time.

This year, the Fleet Week New York will also have an added theme of 'Remembering World War I', in cooperation with the United States World War I Centennial Commission. We will have World War I-themed Living-History Reenactors, special exhibits, and ceremonies, all telling the story of the New York area, and the U.S. armed services, during World War I.

One very special public exhibit that we will have in New York is our new sculptural maquette. Designed and created by sculptor Sabin Howard, the maquette is a scale-model representation of the new National World War I Memorial that is being created in Washington DC.

Our maquette will be available for viewing at the following locations, on the following days. Hours are generally from 10AM to 5PM.

  • Thursday, 5/23 — Pier 88
  • Friday 5/24 — Pier 88
  • Sunday 5/26 — Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
  • Monday 5/27 — Pier 88

The new National World War I Memorial is being built with public support, and will be located at DC's Pershing Park, next to the White House.

Imagery of the Memorial, including computerized video fly-throughs of the site, can be found here


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