Michigan's World War 1 Centennial Commission Final Report 2018
SUMMARY FINAL REPORT
Michigan World War I Centennial Commission
December 21, 2018
Table of Contents
Michigan in World War I 4
Report of the Commission 5
Public Act 97 8
This report was adopted by the Michigan World War I Centennial Commission at its final meeting on December 7, 2018.
Senate Bill 248 was approved by the Governor and took immediate effect on July 13, 2017, as public Act 97. The Act created the Commission and tasked it with aiding the State of Michigan in commemorating the role that Michiganders played in the First World War, which began in 1914 and lasted into 1919. No appropriations were approved for the effort.
Members of the Commission were appointed as follows. On July 21, 2017, Speaker of the House of Representatives Tom Leonard announced his appointment along with Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof. On October 27, 2017, Governor Rick Snyder announced his appointments. The Act sunsets on December 31, 2018.
Members of the Commission would like to thank Governor Rick Snyder and the leadership of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs for their support of the Michigan World War 1 Centennial Commission..
Additional thanks go to Susan Mennenga from the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, the MidWest Project Manager for the World War 1 Centennial Commission.
Michigan in World War I
A total of 873,383 Michigan men registered for military service under the selective service acts; 135,485 were inducted. Some 5,000 Michigan men were killed in battle or died of disease while in the service; 15,000 were wounded.
On the home front, “Michigan contributed mightily with her fields and factories toward winning the war.” Women played a large role through many roles including working in factories.
Before service in World War 1, the Michigan National Guard was expanded by the U.S. War Department. The Michigan Guard merged with members of the Wisconsin Guard to form the 32nd (“Red Arrow”) Infantry Division on July 18, 1917, with Michigan furnishing 8,000 troops of all arms. Michiganders served in other units such as the First Michigan Ambulance Company, which was incorporated into the 42nd (“Rainbow”) Division as Michigan's representative. Michigan also provide three volunteer units, the 16th Regiment of Engineers (Railway), Base Hospitals 17 (Harper Hospital ) and 36 (Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery). The North Russian Expeditionary Force (A.N.R.E.F.) was part of the National (Draftees) Army and had a majority of the men from Michigan.
Report of the Commission
At 10 a.m. on Friday, December 14, 2017, Michigan’s World War 1 Centennial Commission was called to order by Major General Gregory Vadnais. After introductions elections were held for Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary. Dennis Skupinski became Chair, Mark Sutton became Vice Chair and Shelly Kasprzycki became Secretary. The Commission will sunset on December 31, 2018.
The Michigan WW1 Centennial Commission’s website: ww1cc.org/Michigan is hosted by the U.S. World War 1 Centennial Commission at “no charge” and will be archived and in the Library of Congress.
The WW1 Centennial Commission set up the following committees: Government, Education, Veterans Organizations , Museums & Libraries, Home Front and Overseas.
The following events took place:
February 26, 2018: The members of the heavy metal band Sabaton were awarded the Certificate of Excellence for their music. The songs are about historical events and a number of them are about events during the World War. Challenge coins were given also along with the story of the Military Challenge coin.
April 12, 2018: Society of Automotive Engineers, World Congress, Cobo Center, Detroit. Dennis Skupinski presented a paper on the “Liberty Truck” along with a display.
April 14, 2018: The Tallis Scholars performed a War & Peace concert at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit. A World War 1 Color Guard was provided and Tartanius Flynn performed as a Four Minute Man.
May 28, 2018: White Chapel Cemetery, Troy Memorial Service for the American North Russia Expeditionary Force or the “Polar Bears”.
June 30, 2018: 100 Cities/100 Memorials sponsored by the Pritzker Military Museum & Library and the U.S. World War 1 Centennial Commission awarded to “The Survivor” Beaverton’s War Monument. Susan Mennenga (Pritzker & U.S.WW1 Centennial Commission) with Dennis Skupinski awarded the grant and certificate at the rededication ceremony.
August 4-5, 2018: The Michigan Military Heritage Museum in Grass Lake hosted “Over Here” Michigan’s World War 1 Centennial event. The Coe House had Home Front activities while the museum had music, displays and remembrance. The Brass Quartet from the 126th Infantry Regiment Band performed along with the River Raisin Ragtime Revue & The Dugouts. The WW1 Maquette, one of two, was also on display from August 4-19. Michigan was the first state to host it.
October 1-2, 2018: Pritzker Military Museum & Library Chicago, Il. Dennis Skupinski represented Michigan at the States Caucus and U.S. World War 1 Centennial Commission meeting.
November 8, 2018: State Capitol Building, Lansing. Michigan World War 1 Centennial event for the state legislators. Mark Sutton acted as master of ceremony.
November 11, 2018: Detroit’s Veteran Day parade theme was World War 1. Bells of Peace National Bell Ringing Ceremony started at 11 a.m., bells rang 21 times. Jerry Benson coordinator.
November 17, 2018: A ceremony honoring Eugene I. VanAntwerp was held at the Michigan Military Heritage Museum. Mr. Van Antwerp was instrumental in making November 11th a National Holiday in 1938 as the National Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Originally, it was called Armistice Day honoring veterans of the World War but was changed by Congress in 1954 to Veterans Day to honor all those who served. A Special Tribute from the Governor, a Proclamation by the Mayor of Detroit and a Resolution by the Michigan Assembly were given to Mr. Van Antwerp’s four surviving children, Agnes, Dan, George and Dacia
During December 2018: Michigan World War 1 Centennial Commission paper items to be given to the state of Michigan archives. Michigan World War 1 Centennial Commission non-paper items will be archived but that decision has not been made yet.
The website will be copied (date unknown) and archived in the Library of Congress.
The recommendations from the summary report of the Michigan World War 1 Centennial Commission are:
1) That attention be given along with a mandate for planning of important anniversaries of military history events such as the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2 and Korea, 50th anniversary of the end of Vietnam, etc. The reason for this is to prevent what happened with the World War 1 Centennial namely; getting started too late, having to deal with legislation, not selecting the best and most talented people for the commission, just to list a few of the issues.
2) This responsibility be given to a regularly constituted workgroup to be composed of the following: a member of the a veterans organization, a representative of the Capitol Commission, an educator, a museum person, a business person and a historical/cultural foundation. A representative of the Dept. of Military & Veterans Affairs would facilitate this group, which could work with a newly formed or existing commission, as initiated via legislation or executive order. These seven people would work to create a pool of qualified candidates to serve on the various commissions and make sure that they are organized in advance of the anniversary. They would provide "Seed Money" for the commission and also serve as consultants. This subcommittee would meet a few times a year and provide quarterly or bi-annual reports. The Michigan Historical Commission may be the place for this subcommittee to reside. Besides having an existing organization from which it could be organized, staffed and overseen, it also has the ability to move quickly.
Joseph Calvaruso of Galesburg -- executive director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation; bachelor’s degree in management and economics from Albion College and a master’s degree in finance from Western Michigan University.
Christopher Causley of Eastpointe -- logistics specialist for the United States Army Tank Automotive Command; a founding member and president of the Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society Museum in Eastpointe; associate’s degree in automotive technology from Macomb Community College and a bachelor’s degree in military history from the American Military University.
John (Jack) Dempsey of Plymouth -- member of Dickinson Wright PLLC; former member of the Michigan Historical Commission; bachelor’s degree in social and political science from Michigan State University and a law degree from George Washington University. Grandson of a World War I veteran.
Edwin Fogarty of Hillsdale -- adjunct mathematics instructor at Jackson College and the great-nephew of a World War I veteran; bachelor’s degree in mathematics and psychology from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in mathematics and statistics from Wayne State University.
David Hales of Farmington Hills -- social studies consultant for Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency supporting K-12 teachers and schools in social studies curriculum, instruction, or assessment; previously served on the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission; bachelor’s degree in social studies and language arts and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Michigan State University.
Ken Hibl of Clare -- served as the Clare city manager for nearly 20 years and previously served 31 years of active service in the United States Army; bachelor’s degree in professional aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and graduate of the U.S. Army War College and the U.S. Army Installation Management Course.
Shelly Kasprzycki of Jackson -- executive director of the Michigan Humanities Council working with the board of directors to connect people, grants, programs, and communities to create quality cultural programs; bachelor’s degree in health administration from Eastern Michigan University and a master’s degree in public health education from Central Michigan University.
Dennis (Denny) Olson of Quinnesec -- served as Breitung Charter Township Supervisor for 14 years; chair of the Dickinson County Township Association; a board member of the Michigan Township Association, the Great Lakes Timber Professional Association, and the Michigan Association of Timberman; owner and operator of Olson Sand and Gravel, owns and operates a log truck, and U.S. Army veteran who served in the Vietnam War.
Dennis Skupinski of Ann Arbor -- banker with Huntington Bank; a leader of the effort to commemorate the centennial of World War I in Michigan, producing Michigan’s World War I Centennial News Report since June of 2012; bachelor’s degree in zoology from Michigan State University.
James Spurr of Portage -- senior partner at Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, PLC; 36 years of experience practicing law and previously served on the Michigan War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission; president of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society; member of board of trustees of the Michigan Maritime Museum; bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Wayne State University Law School.
Mark Sutton of Eaton Rapids -- public relations director of the American Legion Department of Michigan; president of the Michigan American Legion Foundation; bachelor’s degree in finance from Walsh College.
Mike VerHulst of Grand Haven-- Exhibits Facilitator for the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven and has been curating exhibitions since 2014; bachelor’s degree in history and museum studies from Central Michigan University; latest exhibit titled Courage Without Fear: The Red Arrow Division in World War I: the exhibit focused on West Michigan’s contributions to the war and the role the Red Arrow Division played in securing victory for the allies. Appointed by Senate Majority Leader, Arlan Meekhof, Fall 2017.
Mark Wilson of Evart -- Public Works Director for the City of Evart; former United States Army infantryman; longtime advocate for historical preservation with an emphasis on cemetery and gravestone preservation, and restoration; provides hands on workshops as well as educational presentations on gravestone and cemetery preservation for municipal and private organizations; intimately involved with local history and Historical Societies; lifetime member of the VFW, and AMVETS organization. Appointed by Speaker, Tom Leonard, July 21, 2017.
Public Act 97
Act No. 97
Public Acts of 2017
Approved by the Governor
July 13, 2017
Filed with the Secretary of State
July 13, 2017
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 13, 2017
STATE OF MICHIGAN
REGULAR SESSION OF 2017
Introduced by Senators Warren, Colbeck, Rocca, Bieda, Ananich, Kowall, Conyers, O’Brien and Schmidt
ENROLLED SENATE BILL No. 248
AN ACT to create a commission to commemorate the centennial of World War I; to prescribe the powers and duties of the commission; to prescribe the powers and duties of certain state agencies and officials; and to repeal acts and parts of acts.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:
Sec. 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the “World War I centennial commission act”.
Sec. 2. As used in this act:
(a) “Commission” means the World War I centennial commission created in section 3.
(b) “Department” means the department of military and veterans affairs.
(c) “Veteran” means that term as defined in section 1 of 1965 PA 190, MCL 35.61.
Sec. 3. (1) The World War I centennial commission is created within the department.
(2) The commission shall consist of the director of the department, or his or her designee, and 13 members. The governor shall appoint 11 of those 13 members with the advice and consent of the senate, and the senate majority leader and the speaker of the house of representatives shall each appoint 1 member.
(3) The members first appointed to the commission must be appointed within 90 days after the effective date of this act.
(4) If a vacancy occurs on the commission, the governor shall make an appointment in the same manner as the original appointment.
(5) The governor may remove a member of the commission for incompetence, dereliction of duty, malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance in office, or any other good cause.
(6) The first meeting of the commission must be called by the director of the department. At the first meeting, the commission shall elect from among its members a chairperson and other officers as it considers necessary or appropriate. After the first meeting, the commission shall meet at least quarterly, or more frequently at the call of the chairperson or if requested by 7 or more members.
(7) A majority of the members of the commission constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at a meeting of the commission. A majority of the members present and serving are required for official action of the commission.
(8) The business that the commission may perform must be conducted at a public meeting of the commission held in compliance with the open meetings act, 1976 PA 267, MCL 15.261 to 15.275.
(9) A writing prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by the commission in the performance of an official function is subject to the freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246.
(10) Members of the commission shall serve without compensation. However, members of the commission may be reimbursed for their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties as members of the commission.
Sec. 4. The commission shall do all of the following:
(a) Plan, develop, and execute programs, projects, and activities to commemorate the centennial of World War I.
(b) Encourage private organizations and state and local governments to organize and participate in activities organized by the commission.
(c) Facilitate and coordinate World War I centennial activities throughout this state.
(d) Serve as a clearinghouse for the collection and dissemination of information about World War I centennial events and plans.
(e) Develop recommendations on ways to commemorate the World War I centennial in this state and provide a report on these recommendations to the director, the governor, and the legislature.
Sec. 5. The department shall assist the commission in carrying out its duties under this act.
Enacting section 1. This act is repealed December 31, 2018.
This act is ordered to take immediate effect.