North Dakota WWI Centennial Events Planned
The centennial of the end of WWI is fast approaching. There will be major events across the state beginning the end of September and seminars will be sponsored in the major cities across the state. Dates and times are mentioned on our website at ww1cc.org/nd. WWI North Dakota Centennial Chairman Darrell Dorgan says the group would like you to participate in the momentous event.
Dorgan notes, “We originated the idea of having bells toll and sirens ring on the morning of November 11 at 11:00 a.m. across the nation and state. The National WWI Centennial Commission is now asking all states to participate. We are asking communities across North Dakota to be involved in this tribute by ringing bells and blowing sirens the Morning of November 11 at 11:00 a.m. Details on the event will be released shortly.”
North Dakota WWI committee members have also formally requested that County Veterans Services Officers work with local veteran’s organizations to read the names of the more than 1,300 North Dakotan’s who died in WWI, most in the just last six months of the war in the trenches of France. The committee has requested the names of those who died to be read aloud from the steps of the county courthouse or a place of public gathering, in their county of residence, when the bells are done tolling.
Groups that have events planned to commemorate WWI are also asked to contact the WWI Centennial web site so the events can be listed. The web site manager is Mike Gayette at Gayette@gmail.com. Our website is ww1cc.org/nd and your WWI Centennial events on our list on our website.
A list of those who died during the ‘War-to-End-All-Wars’ will be posted on our website in Mid-September, and those who perished in the fight for freedom will be listed by county and city. The updated list has been compiled by noted historian Barbara Handy-Marcello.
The North Dakota WWI Centennial Committee has also received great support from the North Dakota Humanities Council for a series of community events leading up to the armistice ending WWI, 100-years ago on November 11. We will sponsor lectures and community discussions in six cities during October and the first week of November. Susan Wefald or Darrell Dorgan will moderate each of the events and Susan and the North Dakota Humanities Council to fund the project.
The programs will begin with a 10-minute video presentation with an overview of WWI. That will be followed by a 20 to 30 minute talk about WWI; how it began, how the US became involved, the effort on the home-front, North Dakota's participation, the impact on the world today. That will be followed by 30 minutes of audience Q & A.
The schedule provides for events in Williston on October 16, and MSU Prof. Joseph Jastrzembski will lead the program in Williston and Minot the following night. Both programs will be held in the public libraries and begin at 7:30 p.m.
Prof. Al Berger from UND will lead the Grand Forks lecture on October 23rd at the Grand Forks Public Library at 7:30 p.m.
Prof. Tom Isern will headline the October 24th event in Fargo at the Fargo Public Library at 7:30 p.m.
Prof. Carol Barrett will conduct the Jamestown gathering on October 30. The Jamestown lecture will be held at the Old Stutsman County Courthouse and begin at 7:30 p.m.
Historian Barbara Handy-Marcello leads the Bismarck event on November 7. The Bismarck gathering will be held at the Heritage Center and begin at 7:30 p.m.
Prairie Public Radio has agreed to provide several hours of air-time on November 11th for a conversation about WWI. Many stories written by our committee members about the war will likely be used. They are also considering some programming on television leading up to and on November 11.
Dorgan says, “We look forward to working with groups to help publicize the events of 100 years ago to remember the ultimate sacrifice made by millions across the world and thousands of others from North Dakota
WWI Living History Performances in North Dakota
Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit known for producing educational performances across North Dakota, brings George Frein in his latest performance as the novelist Erich Maria Remarque.
Remarque wrote one of the all-time great war novels in All Quiet on the Western Front. It spilled out of him after years of dealing with the horrors he faced in World War I. The novel's criticism of war lead to the Nazi party burning Remarque's works and forcing him to flee the country. He came to the United States in 1947 and resumed his writing career.
George Frein taught philosophy at UND for 29 years. He's portrayed many characters, including writer Mark Twain, novelist Herman Melville, and historian Henry Adams. His newest performance as Remarque is not to be missed!
Performance dates and additional information can be found at the Humanities North Dakota website and the High Plains Chautauqua website.
North Dakota in World War I
The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission was created by an Act of Congress in 2013. Members of the 12-member Commission were appointed by the President and the leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the National World War I Museum. All four living former Presidents have agreed to serve the commission as honorary chairmen
The Commission’s mission is to plan, develop, and execute programs, projects and activities to commemorate the Centennial of World War I (WWI).
Over the next five years the North Dakota World War One Centennial Commission (NDWW1CC) intends to follow the directives of the national organization to:
- Develop educational programs targeted at a variety of audiences and delivered through a variety of broadcast, print and digital media, with the goal of teaching North Dakotans about the country’s most forgotten war.
- Organize activities, events, and symposia to commemorate American involvement in “the Great War” as it pertains to North Dakota
- Establish a National World War I North Dakota website, and bring attention to the thousands of World War I memorials in communities across the state that honors Americans who served in the war.
- Serve as a clearinghouse for the collection and dissemination of information about events and activities related to the North Dakota Centennial Commemoration
Over the next three years, the NDWW1CC will serve as the lead organizer for the nation’s commemorative events and will coordinate the activities of thousands individuals and institutions as they tell the story of the Great War. The commission’s mission is to raise awareness of and give meaning to the events of a hundred years ago, using educational experiences and programming for all ages.
The commission will use the Centennial as a timely and essential opportunity to educate the country’s citizens about the causes, courses and consequences of the war in North Dakota; to honor the heroism and sacrifice of those Americans who served in our state; and to commemorate through public programs and initiatives the centennial of this global event.
The NDWW1CC seeks participation of academic institutions and faculty in development of educational programming, broadcasting, print and digital media as it pertains to North Dakota. Appointments are given by the current North Dakota committee members.