The 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 ourveterans.nyc 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.
Left: 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.
Battlefield 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...