Texas researcher discovers, honors African American WWI vets
By Connie Clements
via the Navasota Examiner (TX) newspaper web site
It was a single gravestone that prompted Carolyn Warren Bessellieu’s sometimes challenging, sometimes emotional but satisfying quest for African American World War I (WWI) service information. The Two Rivers Heritage Foundation chairman of African American History recounted her conversation with President Betty Dunn.
After retiring from the Houston workforce, Navasota native Carolyn Warren Bessellieu has dedicated her time to researching the life and times of Grimes County’s African American population.Bessellieu said, “Betty had come across an unmarked African American cemetery and noticed a headstone of a WWI veteran. She asked if I could find out anything about him. His name was Tobie Harris. My great-uncle Holiday Bennett use to tell me many stories of World War II. I was fascinated to see what I could find on those who served in WWI.”
The enslavement of Africans and their American-born progeny has made African American genealogical searches difficult but not impossible.
Bessellieu said, “I never start research with doubt about how hard the task will be. I immediately started reading, researching as though it was impossible to fail.”
She used several free sites beginning with the world’s largest genealogical library, the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints as well as RootsWeb which has local information.
Bessellieu said, “Grimes County has a genealogical site there that is excellent, such as a list of the cemeteries and their inventory, the 1870 census and much more. The Veterans Administration info is on the Latter-day Saints’ site. You can print the enrollment sheets and the records of service.”
Bessellieu’s biggest challenge was the sheer number of names of African American men who registered.
She said, “I had to check each one to see if they actually enlisted and served. Many did not. I think this might confuse some people researching family histories. They see a relative who registered and assume they actually enlisted. I had to find the records to back up their enlistment and time served.”
Enlistment records contained information about where they registered, enlistment camp, place of birth, age, rank, service, where they served, discharge dates and state of health at discharge.
Bessellieu’s research led to a personal discovery. She said, “I found my great-great grandmother Emmaline had three sons. All three brothers, Shedrick, Robert and Jake Linton, served at the same time in WWI.”
As did the Warrens on her father’s side.
Read more: Texas researcher discovers, honors African American WWI vets
The 372nd Infantry monument stands near a road approximately nine miles from Monthois (Ardennes) in the French countryside. It is one of the earliest monuments to the African American soldiers who served in World War I. Photos courtesy of Lillian Pfluke, Founder, American War Memorials Overseas Inc.
One of the earliest Monuments to African American WWI Troops
By Paul LaRue
Ohio World War I Centennial Committee
A unique monument stands in the rural French countryside. It is a monument to the 372nd Infantry, an African American World War I combat regiment. The 372nd Infantry Monument represents one of the earliest monuments erected to African American World War I Troops. Of the more than 360,000 African American World War I soldiers, only 10% served in combat regiments.
The United States organized two African American combat divisions in World War I. The 92nd Division was organized as a complete division. The 93rd Division consisted of four infantry regiments that were transferred to the French Army. The French Army was very comfortable using African American troops; they had a long history of using Colonial Troops. Soldiers from Senegal and Morocco were an important part of the French Army. The French Colonial troops were considered fierce fighters, and were regularly used as shock troops.
The 93rd Division was quickly put into combat by the French Army. Ironically, the most famous African American regiment of World War I, the 369th, better known as the Harlem Hellfighters, was part of the 93rd Division under French command. The four infantry regiments in the 93rd Division were built primarily around state guard units from Illinois, New York, and Ohio. Ohio's 9th Separate Battalion Infantry was composed of nearly 700 enlisted men that formed the core of the 372nd Infantry.
The 372nd Infantry also contained soldiers from Guard units from the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maryland. The regiment was rounded out with men from Camp Custer (Michigan). On August 31, 1918, the 372nd contained 2708 men.
By late May 1918 the 372nd Infantry was in the front-line trenches in France. July and August saw the 372nd in combat. In late September and early October, the 372nd, 369th, 371st, and the 2nd Moroccan Division saw heavy combat in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, with American casualties of more than 2500 men (killed, wounded, and died of wounds). The 372nd Infantry's casualties were more than 600 men. The French awarded the 372nd Infantry with their prestigious Croix de Guerre and decorated the regimental flag. Today the regimental flag of the 372nd Infantry is housed at the Ohio History Connection in Columbus, Ohio.
Read more: One of the earliest Monuments to African American World War I Troops
Cole County's Grace Hershey remembered as World War I heroine
By Michelle Brooks, Historic City of Jefferson
via the Jefferson City, MO News Tribune (newspaper) web site
Grace HersheyOne woman is named on the Cole County World War I Memorial at the courthouse. Grace Hershey was a stenographer with the American Red Cross.
Highly praised for her clerical skills in contests and courtrooms, the 31-year-old took a significant pay cut when she left her job with the state insurance department to go overseas.
Her fiancé, Thorpe Gordon, had deployed to France in August 1918. Her departure only a month later was "her patriotic duty to do what she can to help win the war," the Abilene Weekly Reflector said.
After visiting her family in Abilene, Kansas, she boarded a ship bound for France only a month before the war's end. She died of pneumonia aboard the transport ship and was buried at sea.
Her family received two false communications before learning of her death. The first reported her safe arrival and the second that a "Winifred Heath" had been buried at sea. They had to telegraph Washington, D.C., for an explanation to learn it was their daughter and sister.
The American Red Cross still was a small organization, growing and developing its identity when Europe was thrown into conflict in 1914. Aid workers began serving immediately, though the U.S. did not declare war on Germany until April 1917. And their work continued for three years after the war ended in November 1918.
During that seven-year period, Hershey was one of 400 American Red Cross workers who died, including 296 women.
Nationally, Hershey is among 161 women on the Women's Overseas Service League's Gold Star Women list, compiled for Armistice Day 1922 to recognize "American girls who gave their lives in the world war." Most were buried in France, but others were in Siberia, Armenia, China, Manila and England. Four other women from Missouri are remembered — Katherine Hoffman, of Queen City; Catherine Cecil, of St. Louis; Margaret Keirn, of Schlater; and Ina Klinfelter, of Diamond.
In her hometown of Abilene, Kansas, the Ladies of the Presbyterian Church equipped a patient room in the local hospital where her name is among 51 gold stars of those lost from Dickinson County, Kansas, in the first world war.
Read more: Cole County's Grace Hershey remembered as World War I heroine
Red Cross nurse Mary E. Gladwin, WWI heroine
By E.M. Foxwell
via the American Women in World War I web site
Mary E. Gladwin (1861–1939) was born in Stoke-upon-Trent, England, and emigrated with her family to Akron, OH, becoming a naturalized US citizen in 1874. She graduated from Buchtel College (now University of Akron) in 1887 and taught at Norwalk (OH) High School. Gladwin then earned a nursing credential at Boston City Hospital and was superintendent of Beverly Hospital (MA) and Woman’s Hospital (NY). She served as a Red Cross nurse in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, in the Philippines during the Philippine-American War, in Japan during the Russo-Japanese War, and in Ohio after the 1913 flood.
Red Cross nurse Mary E. Gladwin 1920In World War I, Gladwin first went to Belgrade, Serbia, as reflected by her three letters dated from November 1914 to February 1915 in the 3 May 1915 Norwalk [OH] Reflector-Herald. The letters were carried by individuals and therefore did not pass through a censor:
Our big hospital is on the banks of the Sav River, and we look over into Ziemlin and Austrian territory. The town of Belgrade has been shelled every day since August 1. The big Austrian searchlights play all night. . . . . The big guns boom every night, and the other night as Dr. [Edward] Ryan and I stood on the steps, we heard one shriek quite plainly. It is a curious sound to hear, one going through the air. Shriek is exactly the word to describe it. (2)
Amid Gladwin’s accounts of tea with eminent people such as Lady Paget (the American-born Minnie Stevens), Sir Thomas Lipton (creator of Lipton tea), and Harry James (a son of philosopher William James who was working for the Rockefeller Foundation’s War Relief Commission) were some sobering details and evidence of her sang froid:
In one day, just before the Austrians left, 9,000 wounded passed through these hospitals, 6,000 being here for a few hours, then going to Zemlin [Zemun], 3,000 remaining here. Last night there was a sharp engagement. I awakened to see the flash of the cannon on my white wall, and then in a few seconds heard the report. However, it takes more than that to keep me awake. (2)
Gladwin also wrote in a 25 May 1915 letter to Buchtel College president Parke Kolbe:
Read more: Red Cross nurse Mary E. Gladwin, WWI heroine
Five Dog Breeds That Served in World War I
By Emily Green
Founder & Chief Editor, DoggieDesigner.com web site
Dogs are man’s best friend, and at times that means we have brought them with us into the worst parts of what we do. The use of dogs in war is nothing new, but their role changed over time. In the First World War dogs were used extensively by all sides, with different breeds managing different roles.
Here’s a list of some that have made it into the annals of history.Dash, the border collie, was the regimental mascot of B Company 1st Regiment 6th Black Watch in the UK army.
1. Border Collies
The Border Collie is widely acknowledged as the most intelligent breed of dog, and their physical attributes made them perfect for many roles. They’re medium-sized, primarily darker in color, and their trainability made them an amazing asset on the battlefield.
Border Collies could carry messages, locate wounded soldiers, and alert their handlers to the presence of the enemy. While few attained much fame during the course of the war, they were undoubtedly an asset to any unit they were assigned.
Despite their faithful service during the Great War, their popularity wouldn’t surge until after WWII, however.
2. Boston Terrier
Sergeant Stubby, the highly decorated Boston Terrier who served with the US Army during World War I.Boston Terriers are an unlikely breed to find a place in war. They’re small companion dogs after all. Regardless, the breed produced the most famous Allied dog on the Western Front.
Sergeant Stubby was originally found wandering a campus during training exercises and took a liking to Robert Conroy, a member of the 102nd Infantry. When the time came to ship out Conroy brought the dog with him.
When found out, Stubby saluted the officer as he’d been trained to and was allowed to remain with the unit. Despite his breed, Stubby proved to be an invaluable member of the team. He was able to locate wounded soldiers, warn about gas attacks, and even led to the capture of a German spy.
For that last act, Stubby was awarded his sergeantcy. Conroy smuggled the dog back in when he returned to the United States and Stubby lived the life of a celebrity until his death.
Not bad for a breed that should have had no place on the battlefield.
Read more: Five Dog Breeds That Served in World War I
Patients lie in an influenza ward at the U.S. Army Camp Hospital No. 45 in Aix-les-Baines, France, during World War I. In 1918-1919, over the course of 18 months, approximately 50-100 million people died from the flu, that is, 2.7-5.3% of the world's population.
As the 1918 Flu Emerged, Cover-Up and Denial Helped It Spread
By Becky Little
via the History.com web site
“Spanish flu” has been used to describe the flu pandemic of 1918 and 1919 and the name suggests the outbreak started in Spain. But the term is actually a misnomer and points to a key fact: nations involved in World War I didn’t accurately report their flu outbreaks.
Spain remained neutral throughout World War I and its press freely reported its flu cases, including when the Spanish king Alfonso XIII contracted it in the spring of 1918. This led to the misperception that the flu had originated or was at its worst in Spain.
“Basically, it gets called the ‘Spanish flu’ because the Spanish media did their job,” says Lora Vogt, curator of education at the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. In Great Britain and the United States—which has a long history of blaming other countries for disease—the outbreak was also known as the “Spanish grip” or “Spanish Lady.”
Historians aren’t actually sure where the 1918 flu strain began, but the first recorded cases were at a U.S. Army camp in Kansas in March 1918. By the end of 1919, it had infected up to a third of the world’s population and killed some 50 million people. It was the worst flu pandemic in recorded history, and it was likely exacerbated by a combination of censorship, skepticism and denial among warring nations.
“The viruses don’t care where they come from, they just love taking advantage of wartime censorship,” says Carol R. Byerly, author of Fever of War: The Influenza Epidemic in the U.S. Army during World War I. “Censorship is very dangerous during a pandemic.”
Read more: As the 1918 Flu Emerged during WWI, Cover-Up and Denial Helped It Spread
North Huntingdon, PA historian seeks volunteers to help digitize WWI burial records
By Patrick Varine
via the Tribune-Review (PA) news organization web site
Andrew Capets’ initial interest in World War I was finding out more about his grandfather’s unit, the 313th Machine Gun Battalion.
That research led the North Huntingdon resident and amateur historian to write “Good War, Great Men,” which focused on his grandfather’s battalion and its exploits, including fighting in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, in which more than 26,000 American soldiers died.
Marine David Colvin of Greensburg was killed in action in Marne, France during World War I.Now, Capets has joined with a Nebraska man on a new WWI project: creating a searchable database of soldiers’ burial cards, some of which will be linked to a digital map showing where those soldiers are buried.
“We were both part of a World War I group on Facebook,” Capets said. “If one of us is looking for some information, we’ll talk with other members.”
Capets connected with Weldon Hoppe of Colon, Neb., who had recently returned from France, where he researched two men from his hometown who died in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.
Both men had made frustrating, incomplete discoveries in the National Archives. Capets found a database of burial cards for WWI soldiers, but they were simply scanned, rather than fully digitized.
“You couldn’t search them for, say, a specific name,” Capets said.
Around the same time, Hoppe came across four books showing burial plots for WWI soldiers, “but they weren’t in any specific order, either,” he said. “But they had coordinates on them. I work for an engineering firm that does a lot of mapping, so I transcribed the coordinate information and put it on a GIS map so you can visually see where they all are.”
Hoppe reached out to Capets through the Facebook group, and their undertakings have been mutually beneficial.
“We thought there had to be a better way (to find specific information),” Capets said. “Weldon came across the Zooniverse website and pitched this idea to them.”
One of the deciding factors was the backing of a few organizations such as Fold3, which is owned by Ancestry.com and creates a sort of military family tree that veterans and others can search.
While Capets and a group of volunteers are building a fully searchable database using the burial cards, Hoppe is attaching that information to interactive maps of burial plots.
Read more: North Huntingdon historian seeks volunteers to help digitize WWI burial records
Fayette County's WWI Service Members lost to 1918 Influenza Pandemic
By Paul LaRue
Ohio World War I Centennial Committee
The opportunity to honor the men and women that have served in the armed forces is extremely important to us all. This year, unfortunately, there were no parades, no local high school bands playing patriotic music, no speakers' remarks honoring the service and sacrifice of our communities' Veterans, and no Veteran's organization programs. The playing of taps and the Honor Guards' 21-gun salute did not echo through the air everywhere.
The Fayette County, Ohio World War I Memorial.But, hopefully we all took time to think about and thank our communities' Veterans, whom have given so much for us.
The current pandemic we are living in provides us a window into an earlier time 102 years ago. On Memorial Day of 1918 the United States was in the midst of the Spanish Influenza Pandemic. The United States was also in the second year as a participant in World War I. The largest and deadliest World War I battles for US troops were ahead.
We associate World War I with poison gas, trench warfare, and machine gun fire, yet the deadliest killer of US troops was disease. According to official army records: 50, 280 United States soldiers were killed in combat; 57,460 US soldiers died of disease.
Influenza was the deadliest disease impacting service members. United States Naval records reveal a greater disparity: 2,892 sailors and marines were killed in action, while 4,158 sailors and marines died of Influenza.
Fayette County is less than thirty miles from Camp Sherman, just outside Chillicothe. Camp Sherman was a sprawling World War I military encampment, covering nearly 10,000 acres with 2,000 buildings. More than 123,000 officers and enlisted men transitioned through Camp Sherman in 1917 & 1918, making it the third largest World War I encampment in the US. Camp Sherman also holds the dubious distinction of having the highest influenza death rate at any military installation. 7,618 soldiers were admitted to the Camp Sherman hospitals, leading to 842 total deaths.125 soldiers died on October 8,1918 at Camp Sherman on the single deadliest day.
Read more: Fayette County's World War I Service Members lost to the 1918 Influenza Pandemic
Survivors of the USS President Lincoln in lifeboats before being picked up the two destroyers USS Warrington and USS Smith on June 2, 1918. Fifteen year-old Samuel Hart was among the crew members of the President Lincoln who survived the ill-fated voyage.
Eyewitness: the Sinking of the U.S.S. President Lincoln
By Samuel Hart
Edited by Orton Begner
Editor's Introduction: Despite being one of the most effective weapons of World War I, the German submarine did surprisingly little damage to all the troop transports carrying American soldiers to fight in France. One of the few exceptions was the troopship, U.S.S. President Lincoln, which was torpedoed and sunk on her sixth trip across the Atlantic on May 31, 1918 with the loss of 26 lives. The following reminiscence is from a member of her crew, Mr. Samuel Hart of Atlanta, Georgia, who has a vivid memory of this unusual event in World War I history.
Samuel Hart in his U.S. Navy uniform at age 14.I was born in Henderson, North Carolina on August 27, 1902. I was living in Washington, D.C. when the President and Congress declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. Although I was only 14 years old at the time I borrowed a pair of long pants from a friend of mine and proceeded to the Navy recruiting station and told them I was 16. I was sworn in on April 10th and sent to Newport, R.I. for training.
Upon completion of training at Newport, I was sent to the U.S.S. Maine, an old battleship, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I became ill and was sent to the hospital. Since the Maine was getting ready to sail I did not go back after my stay in the hospital.
From there I went to the U.S.S. President Lincoln and took part in remodeling it from a former passenger ship to a troop ship. Most of the crew came from the U.S.S. Granite State, a Naval Reserve ship stationed on the Hudson River. After a shakedown cruise we were ready to take on troops.
On the morning of May 31st, 1918, I was on the 6-8 watch in the forward crow’s nest. The four ships in our convoy were going abreast at the rate of speed of the slowest vessel (about 12 knots per hour). The Lincoln was the third ship to the left. The morning was clear and fairly warm.
Our escort destroyer had left us during the night as we were about five hundred miles from France and subs did not usually operate that far out due to their short range of fuel and other supplies.
I was relieved at eight and went directly to the mess hall for breakfast. After breakfast I went to my quarters to stow my gear. I heard and felt an explosion. I first thought maybe one of the gun crews was having target practice. Then there were two more explosions and the battle alarm was sounded.
I rushed to my bunk, picked up a life vest, and went to my battle station. It was then and only then that I realized we were sinking. You could look down the cargo batch and see the water rising. Whitey Cramer, the senior NCO, passed the word along after it came down from the bridge, “All hands, abandon ship".
Read more: Eyewitness report: The Sinking of the U.S.S. President Lincoln
Samuel W. Hart pictured as a 14 year-old U.S. Navy sailor in World War I, and later in life after also serving in the U.S. Army in World War II.
"To keep the memory of her father’s generation alive."
By Joshua Baker
Recently I had the privilege and honor of interviewing Mrs. Ava Jarboe of Georgia. Now 87, Mrs. Jarboe contacted the World War One Centennial Commission to share a lost piece of American history dating back to the First World War.
Ava JarboeMrs. Jarboe belongs to a long line of proud Americans who have answered their nation's call to arms in times of war. Mrs. Jarboe's grandfather served in the Spanish-American War, her brother served in the Korean War and later in the Strategic Air Command, her son served 22 years with the Air National Guard while being deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan. Her late husband Colonel Wallace E. Jarboe also served many years in the U.S. Air Force. Mrs. Jarboe is immensely proud of her family’s service and dedication to the nation, but the story she wished to share with the Commission is her father’s story.
Mrs. Jarboe’s father Samuel W. Hart was born on August 27, 1902, in Henderson, North Carolina. At the time the United States of America entered the First World War, Hart was only 14 years old. Despite his age, Hart was determined to join the war effort, and on April 10, 1917, Hart (misrepresenting his age) enlisted in the Navy as an Apprentice Seaman. Hart enlisted only four days after America’s declaration of war against Germany, and soon was off to basic training.
Upon completing his training, Hart was sent to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for his first posting, but became ill and was hospitalized. Once he had recovered, Hart was reassigned to the U.S.S. President Lincoln, a former passenger ship built by the same company that produced the Titanic. The President Lincoln was re-commissioned as a troop transport ship on July 27, 1917, and soon set sail across the Atlantic with the mission of bringing wounded American soldiers home. Hart and his fellow sailors completed four trips across the Atlantic between Brest, France, and New York City without incident. The fifth voyage across the Atlantic however, would turn out to be it’s last.
Read more: Jarboe interview Samuel W. Hart
A plaque on the World War I memorial in Norwalk, CT listing the names of the local men who died in service from 1917 to 1919.
Who are these people on these plaques?
Jeff DeWitt, CMSgt, USAF (retired)
Chairman, Advisory Military and Veterans Liaison Committee, Norwalk, Connecticut
My hometown of Norwalk, Connecticut has a strong, deep history of love and respect for veterans. Our Memorial Day parade is one of the cornerstone events of the year that brings out residents in droves to pay respect to veterans. As a 26-year veteran myself, it’s a great place to live knowing that level of patriotism gets passed from generation to generation.
Jeff DeWitt Around town are plaques and monuments that recognize all veterans by name. Then there are plaques that name only those who died during wartime service. In 2019 I made a point of finding those plaques and at that point in time, simply took pictures of each one. What struck me most about it all was how little I knew about each of those people. It was then that I decided to tell their stories.
Certainly, this patriotic city needs to know the back story of each of them. It’s just a name on a plaque with little meaning except for the surviving family members that know of them. It is said that people die twice. The first time is when the physical self is no longer breathing. The second time is when nobody is left that knows the story of your life. My goal is to prevent the latter.
In 1921, our city was gifted a cannon by the French government. The cannon was captured by the Germans from the French and then retaken by American troops. It was to have been mounted in a park in Paris but was sent to the United States by mistake. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post Commander Joseph W. Lockhart, had a friend in the French government and convinced him to donate the cannon to the City of Norwalk.
With all the pageantry befitting an event such as this, the cannon was officially presented to the city by M. Casenave, Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States from the French government. It is a gift From France to Norwalk as a token of America’s service in the war.
The cannon sits on a concrete base. Surrounding the base are plaques with names of residents who served during World War I. One plaque has only the names of those who died in service 1917 to 1919. I recognized three people on that plaque who are namesakes of our VFW and American Legion posts in town. The rest were a complete mystery to me.
There I was, over 100 years later, knowing that I had to find out who they were. Simple questions like where did they live in town, were they married or have children, what branch of service were they in, what was their job in the service, how did they die, where did they die, and more. A story that needed to get told.
Read more: Who are these people on these plaques?
A statue of Henry Johnson is displayed in the Arbor Hill neighborhood in Albany, NY in July 2014.
Two-front warriors: Remember the centuries of heroism of African-American soldiers
By Rich Lowry
via the New York Post newspaper web site
While serving as a sentry with French forces in the Argonne Forest in 1918, a black American private fought off German attackers. Unfazed by his wounds, he hurled grenades until they ran out, shot his rifle until it jammed, used his rifle as a club until it broke and finally used a bolo knife until reinforcements arrived.
The French recognized Henry Johnson’s heroism with a Croix de Guerre, while the United States gave him the Medal of Honor — posthumously, almost 100 years later.
Johnson is a part of a long African American military tradition of exceptional devotion to a country that, through its history, denied blacks their rights and discriminated against and humiliated its black soldiers.
These were the men of the iconic 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War and of the Harlem Hellfighters in World War I, of the Buffalo Soldiers on the frontier and of the legendary Tuskegee airmen in World War II.
They were always fighting a two-front war — against the enemy in battle and against prejudice at home. They were fighting to prove their mettle and that they were as — or more — American than their white countrymen.
They hoped that their patriotic commitment would loosen the grip of racist repression, and they were disappointed, often cruelly so. Still, they volunteered and, when given the opportunity, fought.
Read more: Two-front warriors: Remember the centuries of heroism of African-American soldiers
The World War I Memorial in the Lawrencevilel section of Pittsburgh, PA was covered in red paint with a spray-painted message on the base of the memorial, reading “June 19, 1986, Glory to the day of heroism” on the Sunday evening before Memorial day. The message was accompanied by a number of hammer and sickle symbols. The phrase has been used by some groups in reference to 1986 Peruvian prison uprisings by imprisoned Maoist revolutionaries.
Fundraiser started for WWI memorial vandalized in Lawrenceville
via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper (PA) web site
This story was updated at 11:24 a.m. on May 26, 2020.
A fundraiser has begun for the nearly century-old Doughboy statue and war memorial in Lawrenceville that was vandalized with splotches of red paint on Memorial Day.
City workers spent part of their holiday on Monday scrubbing and cleaning the statue, and now a GoFundMe page has been established to fund ongoing maintenance and future restoration needs of the statue at Penn and Butler streets, which has long been maintained by community volunteers.
“This fundraiser is set up to make a positive out of a negative act,” said organizers with the Lawrenceville United group, which set up the fundraiser. The initial goal is $10,000.
The statue was covered in red paint with a spray-painted message on the base of the memorial, reading “June 19, 1986, Glory to the day of heroism.” The message was accompanied by a number of hammer and sickle symbols. The phrase has been used by some groups in reference to 1986 Peruvian prison uprisings by imprisoned Maoist revolutionaries; more than 250 people died.
Pittsburgh officials, including Mayor Bill Peduto, and residents of the neighborhood expressed shock and outrage after the vandalism was discovered Monday morning.
“This is not Pittsburgh. Whoever did this. Please leave. Today,” the mayor tweeted.
Read more: Fundraiser started for World War I memorial vandalized on holiday in Lawrenceville