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 eternal light memorialThe Eternal Light Flagstaff in New York City's Madison Square Park honors those victorious forces of the United States Army and Navy who were officially received at this site following the armistice and the conclusion of World War I. The New York Life Insurance Company is marking its 175th Anniversary on 2020 with a series of articles about the company's history. The associations and clubs formed in the crucible of World War I laid the foundation of New York Life’s ongoing humanitarian outreach.

WWI marked the birth of New York Life’s volunteerism and commitment to humanity 

via the New York Life Insurance Company web site

When the United States entered World War I in April of 1917, New York Life shared the nation’s fighting spirit and rallied to help mobilize America’s troops. The company offered its deep financial and human resources to support the war effort. And the volunteerism born then—from fundraising to moral support to military service—would live on as an abiding value for decades to come.

Throughout the conflict, the company’s financial contributions were easy to quantify: New York Life bought nearly $90 million in low-yield war bonds throughout the war, amounting to more than $1.8 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars. And company leaders encouraged policy owners to do the same.

The human contribution was enormous, too. A total of 192 men from the home office, 170 field employees, and 340 agents—702 men in all—left the company for military service. With so many New York Life staffers in uniform, the company earned its own chapter within the newly formed American Legion: NYLIC Post no. 503. To offset the burden of their sacrifice, the company initially paid those entering the armed forces the difference between their military and company salaries.

Evidence of New York Life’s deep moral commitment showed up in lots of everyday ways. The steward of the Home Office cafeteria insisted on keeping the names of all the “boys” serving in the military on his list. “Just a bit of sentiment,” The Nylic News explained. But the gesture really meant, “Your place is ready for you when you come back, and God grant that it may be soon...” The Nylic News also regularly featured letters “From the Boys ‘Over There’” to maintain strong ties with their New York Life family back home.

Read the entire article on the New York Life Insurance Company web site.

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