gas masks Riveters African American Officers African American Soldiers 1 doughboys with mules pilots in dress uniforms The pilots Mule Rearing

Welcome to the Georgia WWI Commission

"To Honor, Educate and Commemorate"

Aris Theatre events commemorate WWI

ARIS Remembers 1918 - 2018.  November 2 - 18, 2018 7 Stages Theatre Back Stage

The Aris Theatre presents “Not About Heroes,” a play by Stephen MacDonald, directed by Frank Miller, November 2-18 at 7 Stages Theatre Back Stage, 1105 Euclid Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307.
Shows are Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. It is the story of a young English soldier, Wilfred Owen, sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital in June 1917 for treatment of shell shock after four months in the trenches in France. There he met Siegried Sasson, a well-known poet. His friendship with Sassoon inspired Owen to write what is thought of as the finest poetry to come out of World War I. Tickets available at www.aristheatre.org.

 

Berrien County Otranto and Doughboy Exhibit

Statue of the OTRANTO DOUGHBOY in front of the exhibit

In commemoration of the centennial of the wreck of the troop ship Otranto on Oct. 6, 1918, the Berrien County Historical Foundation has developed a new and permanent exhibit.  The display may now be viewed in the old Berrien County Courthouse in downtown Nashville, Ga.  The exhibit was produced completely by volunteers and private donations -- no tax dollars were utilized.  It will be dedicated during centennial ceremonies on Oct. 6, 2018 and will be open to the public hereafter.  For information contact Bryan Shaw, curator, Berrien Historical Foundation, P.O.Box 417, Nashville, Ga. 31639, e-mail onearmshaw@mchsi.com

 

WWI Display in atrium of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport hosts this striking display on the World War I Centennial in a prominent area of its main atrium from July 2018 through summer 2019. Prepared by the Georgia World War I Centennial Commission with the support of experts from the Atlanta History Center and the National Archives, the display includes uniform items and equipment worn by a Georgia soldier on the Western Front, the draft cards of prominent Georgians such as Ty Cobb and William Hartsfield, photographs of training bases in Georgia, original period Atlanta Journal newspapers, and other artifacts that tell the story of The Great War in Georgia.

The Georgia World War I Centennial Commission acknowledges with sincere appreciation the efforts of Kevin Edmiston of the Atlanta History Center and Nathan Jordan of the National Archives in preparing and installing this impressive display.

Picture fo the entire WW1 display at Hartsfield-Jackson International AirportTwo airport visitors observe the displayUS army issued wool jacket and German Picklehaube helmetPicture of standard US army issue eating utensils and dishesUS Army trench boots, foot powder box, shaving kit, first aid tinPicture of German Picklehaube helmet

 

History Day Grand Award Winner Visits Centennial Observances in France

Article and photos courtesy of the Thomasville Times-Enterprise and Georgia Humanities.

Trip of a lifetime: TCCHS’ Reese tours WWI sites in France
Staff report jacketnews@tcjackets.net 14 hrs ago

Brooklyn, with Doughboy re-enactors dressed in ww1 attireSummer is a time when many families go on vacation to popular destinations such as beaches, theme parks, and visiting relatives in other states. However, one Thomas County Central High School student had a family trip of a very different class, one that put them directly in the footsteps of history.

Senior Brooklyn Reese, her parents, and her chosen history teacher were treated to a once in a lifetime guided tour to some of France’s World War I historic battlefields and locations. Reese won the trip as part of the Georgia World War I Centennial Commission special award she earned during National History Day Georgia competition in April.

Reese’s one word to sum up her trip: amazing.

“This was the trip of a lifetime and went way above my expectations,” she said.

The Georgia World War I Centennial Commission, who sponsored the trip to commemorate the 100th anniversary of U.S. involvement in WWI, partnered with Georgia National History Day to award the trip to the high school student with the most deserving NHD project on a WWI topic.

Reese’s project was about the Hello Girls, U.S. Army Signal Corps female telephone operators and translators who were on the front lines in France during WWI.

“Through research on the Hello Girls of WWI, I learned a lot about WWI,” she said. “Through this trip, I was able to go and see the battlefields where the battles I researched took place. For example, I was able to see battlefields that were part of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, one in which the Hello Girls worked tirelessly.”

Her chosen teacher was Christine Patton, now retired, who taught Reese ninth grade World History and acted as her NHD advisor for four years.

“It was an honor to be chosen to accompany Brooklyn,” Patton said. “Being able to visit and see historical places with a student who has a real passion for history is truly a gift. I can’t think of a better retirement present!”

The trip was July 24-31. Their tour guide was Dr. George Cressman, a military historian, longtime NHD judge and president of the Camp Blanding Museum Association.

While in Paris, the group stayed at the Hotel Mercure, located a block away from the Eiffel Tower.

“We got to see the Eiffel Tower all lit up,” Reese recalled. “It was sparkling like glitter. It was beautiful.”

One of the Paris locations that stood out to Reese was Les Invalides, a World Wars museum that begins with the Franco-Prussian War and concludes with the end of World War II.

“The French consider the Franco-Prussian War as one of the major causes of WWI,” Reese said. “The museum is also home to Napoleon’s tomb. There’s a chapel with four smaller chapels off to the side that overlooks his tomb.”

Other trip stops in Paris included sites like the Arc de Triomph and Notre Dame Cathedral, but most of the trip’s itinerary was dedicated to visiting WWI museums, monuments and battlefields around Reims, northeast of Paris.

Reese enjoyed visiting the Reims cathedral, which was almost completely destroyed by the Germans during WWI. 

“Reims was a city they had taken and the cathedral was used as an infirmary,” she said. “We saw photos of what it looked like before the war and after it was bombarded. They are still redoing much of the stonework.”

A professed “foodie,” Reese also enjoyed sampling the foreign cuisine.

“Every night we went out and ate supper in the city,” she said. “The cuisine there is amazing. It is so, so good. We went to very nice restaurants and we had dessert every night. Crème brûlée was my favorite. It’s just so good. It’s creamy, and then you have the sugar on top that is crispy … it was my go to desert in France. I’ll only eat it there.”

The group’s tour also included attending a memorial ceremony at Croix Rouge farm, where the 167th Infantry from Alabama fought an obscure but significant battle.

“It was amazing to visit places like Croix Rouge,” Reese said. “I learned about the battle that took place there …. I saw the fields on which the battle was fought and what remained of the farmhouse. While there, we saw flag bearers who were descendants of those who fought there. It was truly awe-inspiring.

Brooklyn Reese and traveling party in France with GA National Guard officials

Another stop of significance was the Verdun area. An experience Patton will never forget was their visit to the Fort Douaumont Ossuary. It contains the bones of unidentified soldiers who died at the Battle of Verdun.

“Through small windows you can see the actual bones of over 130,000 soldiers,” she said.

Patton describes the trip as incredible and says the Georgia World War I Centennial Commission treated them to a true once in a lifetime experience. Her favorite aspect of the trip was having a private tour guide and driver.

“We were absolutely given the royal treatment,” Patton said. “Yes, we were tourists, but having historian Dr. George Cressman with us made our trip very different than a normal group tour. Every aspect of our trip was so well planned that all we had to do was learn, appreciate and enjoy ourselves.”

A trip highlight for both Reese and Patton was the WWI Commemoration Ceremony at Oise-Aisne American Cemetery.

“It was very heartwarming to see civilians and military personnel from both the U.S. and France come together to remember the triumph and tragedy of 100 years ago,” Patton recalls. “It was interesting to see soldiers dressed in WWI uniforms, witness a flyover by WWI bi-planes, and hear artillery fire from cannons used during the Great War.”

Reese calls the cemetery amazing and loved visiting it. She describes the ceremony as inspiring and breathtaking. She says the stories from the French and Americans — recounted by representatives of the French government and American military officers — made the ceremony.

“We listened to inspiring, impressive accounts of the war, some of which were in English and others were in French,” she said. “I witnessed two WWI era planes fly overhead, and then watched as people were called up for the wreath laying ceremony. At the flagpole in the center of the cemetery, the French flag flew beside the American flag. The ceremony put me in awe of the sacrifices made during WWI.”

Also, Reese had the opportunity to meet many military officials and dignitaries. For example, she conversed with the highest ranking commanders of the Georgia National Guard, executives from the U.S. Army Center for Military History, and the executive director of the American Battle Monuments Commission. She was able to speak with these delegates about her NHD project and her future plans.

brooklyn reese traveling party“It was interesting to talk to them, and I learned a lot from them as well,” she said.

It was amazing to meet the people she did while on her trip, Reese adds.

“One of the first people we met was Monique Seefried — director of the WWI centennial commission,” Reese said. “She was a major part in making the ceremony happen. It was very inspiring to meet her, to see all she has done and continues to do for the commission.”

Something that surprised Reese was how the scars of WWI are still visible in France.

“Lots of buildings there have bullet holes or shrapnel,” she said. “If you know what to look for, you can still see the trenches, but you can also see the shell hits. There’s grass growing, but you can still see the evidence and there are no trees. You can walk in the woods and still see the crater where an artillery shell hit. I didn’t expect it to be that scarred.”

This trip, the chance to see history up close, put the war’s human factor into perspective for Reese.

“Going over there really showed me the impact of war,” she said. “In class you get a lot of numbers and think a lot of men died, but when you go over there, you visit towns that were burned down or where families lost everyone. After visiting the cemeteries and seeing all those who are buried there, I truly saw that this war was horrible and that it killed so many young men.”

The experience also showed her the depth of human resilience.

“We (America) had a lot of men who died and we did send people over there, but for the French the war was in their literal backyard,” Reese said. “It was everywhere. It’s amazing that they bounced back from the war so quickly and then survived WWII. To see how the French are today and how they were during wartime, it shows you how war is terrible but how civilization can bounce back from it, which is really amazing.”

 

Georgia and the Great War

 Highlights from Russell Library Collections

Exhibition:  Georgia and the Great War

University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries

Russell Library Gallery

Hull Street, Athens, Ga.

August 2018 through January 10, 2019

Free and open to the public

 

Tybee Island to Host a Memorial Dedication Ceremony to Honor the Sinking of the H.M.S. Otranto

This event unfortunately has been cancelled because of the approach of Hurricane Florence. It is not anticipated to be rescheduled. We encourage you (when you can safely do so) to visit the site and view the impressive historical marker that has been installed commemorating the centennial of the Otranto tragedy.

DEDICATION CEREMONY Of a Historical Marker to the sinking of the Troopship H.M.S. Otranto with 470 lives lost. Saturday, September 15, 2018 10:00 a.m. Fort Screven Museum at Battery Garland Meddin Drive, Tybee Island, Georgia American Legion Post 154 Color Guard Jason Buelterman, Tybee Island Mayor Reading a Proclamation from Governor Nathan Deal Lunch and Social Gathering 11:30 a.m. | American Legion Post 154 Screening of Islay: For Those in Peril 2:00 p.m. | Tybee Post Theatre

TYBEE ISLAND, Georgia (June 22, 2018) - The community of Tybee Island, Georgia, welcomes the public to attend a memorial dedication ceremony for a historical marker at Fort Screven in  honor of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the British Troopship, H.M.S. Otranto, followed by a special screening of the BBC Documentary, Islay, For Those in Peril. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15 at the Fort Screven Museum at Battery Garland in Tybee Island.

In September 1918, 2nd Lt Samuel E. Levy was ordered by the Commander of Fort Screven to lead a group of new recruits to the Western European Front following America’s entry into World War I. Levy departed Fort Screven with 574 Coastal Artillery Corps (CAC) officers and enlisted recruits and traveled to New York where they boarded the British Troopship, H.M.S Otranto. bound for port in Liverpool.

The H.M.S. Otranto collided with another British Troopship on Oct. 6, 1918 in a severe storm, killing 470 of the 1,025 US and British servicemen on board, resulting in the single greatest loss of life in troop transport during World War I. Of the 358 American casualties, more than 130 were from Georgia. The collision took place off the coast of Isle of Islay, Scotland, and the ship subsequently struck a reef off the rocky shore, broke in half and sank.

A memorial of the dead stands in Isle of Islay, Scotland, and a statue commemorating the American dead stands in Nashville, Georgia. A third memorial marker was dedicated in Sylvania, Georgia, in 2017 by the Georgia Historical Society and the VFW. Due to the number of troops from Fort Screven, Georgia, a memorial is being dedicated on the grounds of Fort Screven to mark the 100th anniversary of the tragedy and to honor those that perished in the service of their country.

The ceremony will include a Presentation of Colors by the American Legion Post 154 Color Guard, remarks from Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman, and other dignitaries and families of descendants.

Guests are welcome to attend the ceremony on Sept. 15 at 10 a.m. A light lunch and refreshments will be provided following the ceremony at the American Legion on Veterans Drive. A special screening of the BBC Documentary, Islay, For Those in Peril will be begin at 2 p.m. at the Fort Screven Post Theatre.

 

Georgia History Day 2018 - WWI Awards

The Georgia World War I Centennial Commission at its June 2018 meeting recognized two students who won its top awards in the National History Day Georgia 2018.  In partnership with the Georgia Humanities Council, the Centennial Commission sponsored special awards for outstanding research on WWI. 

The junior division recipient is Daniel Wright of Monroe, Ga.  He produced a documentary on the Treaty of Versailles, entitled “An Unpeaceful Treaty: How the Paris Compromise Ignited Conflict”,  https://youtu.be/XTxWh10HcD4 .  Daniel, his teacher and family receive a trip to Washington D.C. to participate in WWI Centennial activities.

The senior division recipient is Brooklyn Reese, of Thomasville, Ga.  She produced a display and presentation on “The Hello Girls of WWI”.  These French-speaking American young ladies were recruited by the United States Army to operate the telephone system in France for the military and their soldiers.  Brooklyn, her teacher and parents receive a trip to France to visit important WWI sites and participate in Centennial activities.  

Funding  for the Commission’s participation in Georgia History Day, and for these awards, was provided by a grant from the Georgia Veterans of Foreign Wars.

With the two recipients are Dr. Billy Wells, Chair of the GA WWI Centennial Commission, and Ms. Laura McCarty, President of Georgia Humanities.With the two recipients are Dr. Billy Wells, Chair of the GA WWI Centennial Commission, and Ms. Laura McCarty, President of Georgia Humanities.

GA History Data Awards 1Brooklyn Reese with her “Hello Girls of WWI” exhibit.

 

Georgia World War I Centennial Commission Donors


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Georgia Power

John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Foundation, Inc.

Numerous generous individuals

 

Georgia World War I Centennial Commission

Contact: georgia@worldwar1centennial.org

Commission Members

  • Mr. Scott Delius, Atlanta
  • Mr. Rick Elder, Sylvania
  • Mr. Samuel Friedman, Atlanta
  • Mr. Thomas Lacy, Peachtree City (vice-chair)
  • Dr. John Morrow, Athens
  • Dr. Billy Wells, Dahlonega (Chair)

Executive Director:

Dr. Thomas H. Jackson, Jr., University System of Georgia

Federal Commissioner for Georgia

Dr. Monique Seefried, Atlanta

Commission Associates

  • Dr. Lamar Veatch, University of North Georgia
  • Mr. Keith Antonia, University of North Georgia

 

Next Meeting:

Date to be determined

Future Meetings:

None schedule at this time.

"Pershing" Donors

Founding Sponsor
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