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‘General Pershing’ graces Great Gatsby Inaugural Ball

By Anthony C. Hayes
via The Baltimore Post-Examiner

Though set in the Roaring Twenties, the restless spirit born of World War One reverberates in the characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s epic novel: The Great Gatsby.

Shuey at Great Gatsby Inaugural Ball 374 630x310David Shuey in the persona of General John Pershing.at the Great Gatsby Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC.Narrator Nick Carraway, for example, first recognizes Jay Gatsby as an officer who served in his division during the Great War. And it is revealed by Jordan that Gatsby became obsessed with Daisy Buchanan while she was doing volunteer work with officers who were heading overseas.

Knowing these important connections, Paul Ervin of the Twenties tribute group Dardanella reached out to Chris Isleib of the United States World War One Centennial Commission. The correspondence which followed opened the doors of Dardanella’s Great Gatsby Presidential Inaugural Ball to representatives of the non-profit organization. Much to everyone’s delight, the call was ultimately answered by actor David Shuey who appeared at the ball in the persona of General Pershing.

The Great Gatsby Presidential Inaugural Ball – a non-partisan Roaring Twenties event – was held last Friday night at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. The sold-out event featured period-correct costumes, Prohibition-era cocktails, and Jazz Age dancing with music by three different bands which were spelled throughout the night by classic gramophone recordings.

The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of America’s involvement in World War I. April 6th is the actual date, when Congress declared war against Germany and its allies. A new World War I Memorial – which will honor the 4.7 million American men and women who served in the war – is being developed by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission. The memorial will be located in Pershing Park – a 2-acre site in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue, right next door to the White House.

Of the 4.7 million American men and women who served in the war, 2 million Americans were deployed overseas. Of those 116,516 of these men and women never made it home. More Americans were lost in World War I than in the Vietnam War and the Korean War combined.

The Baltimore Post-Examiner had interviewed David Shuey by phone back in 2015, for a piece about the World War One Memorial; so catching up with him in person at the Great Gatsby Ball was a timely treat.

Read the whole article on the Baltimore Post-Examiner web site.

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