Doughboy monument rededicated at Summerville's Memorial Day ceremony 

By Doug Walker
via the Northwest Georgia News web site 

Chattooga County residents turned out in large numbers to mark Memorial Day early May 29.

Summerville GA Doughboy memorialSummerville Mayor Harry Harvey (left) and Chattooga County Historical Society leader Gene McGinnis admire the Spirit of the American Doughboy monument, rededicated Saturday, in the Veterans memorial section of Dowdy Park in Summerville.A special ceremony was held to rededicate the Spirit of the American Doughboy monument as part of the veterans memorial in Dowdy Park in downtown Summerville.

The monument had been located in Trion for decades before it was moved to the Chattooga County Memorial Home near Pennville in 1988. It now graces the county seat.

Georgia’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Thomas Carden was the keynote speaker but the real heroes of the event were several Word War II veterans and a number of the children of World War I soldiers.

William E. Henderson served with the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946. He was with a unit that built submarine nets to trap Japanese submarines.

Harold “Bud” Dempsey served with the U.S. Army in Italy from 1944 to 1946.

“I was drafted,” Dempsey said “I don’t volunteer for too much.”

Dempsey was with an infantry unit attached to the Fifth Army under Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

“I got over there just before the war ended,” he said.

Audrey Croft sat in a wheelchair on the front row with a framed picture of her father, J.J. Copeland, one the veterans of WWI whose name is inscribed on the Doughboy monument. Croft proudly answered questions about her father and had pictures made with Carden prior to the program.

 

Presentation banner(left) Terry Hamby, Chair of the U. S. World War I Centennial Commission, and General Mark Milley, USA, 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stand at attention from the reading of the Citation for Hamby's Distinguished Public Service Award  at the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. (right) Milley pins the medal on Hamby.  

WWI Centennial Commission Chair receives Distinguished Public Service Award from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 

holding folderTerry Hamby and General Mark Milley display the Citation for the Distinguished Public Service Award  that Hamby received.

Terry W. Hamby, the Chair of the United States World War I Centennial Commission, received the Distinguished Public Service Award from General Mark A. Milley, USA, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a ceremony May 28, 2021 at the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.

 The award was presented in recognition of Hamby's "extraordinary contributions as the Chairman of the World War I Centennial Commission." In particular, the award highlighted Hamby's leadership of the Commission "to completion of its mission to build the United States National War Memorial in Washington, DC. "

Hamby was appointed to the Commission by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He was elected Chair on September 13, 2017.

Hamby is a Viet Nam veteran, serving in the Naval Air Wing during the conflict. After discharge he joined the US Army Reserve, retiring with 26 years of service in 1993. 

Hamby is part of a family filled with a tradition of military service, with his Great Grandfather serving in the Civil War Union Army, his Grandfather was in the Army during WWI, his father served in the Army Pacific Theater during WWII, his son served in the Navy during the Persian Gulf War, and his grandson is now serving.  Hamby's grand uncle was killed serving in the Army in WWI.

As a result, Mr. Hamby has dedicated his life to serving and honoring our U.S. military and is a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

During his four years of membership and leadership, Hamby led the World War I Centennial Commission through the design approval proceess and fundraising effort that ultimately earned the Commission a construction permit for the National World War I Memorial in 2019.

Construction of the Memorial began in December, 2019, and the Memorial was opened to the public on April 16, 2021 during the First Colors Ceremony.

 

FoldingMembers of Boy Scout Troop 400 in Richmond, VA carefully fold flags which were flown over the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC on April 16, 2021, the official opening of the memorial to the public. The flags were folded to be placed in presentation cases like the one at right. 

Virginia Boy Scout Troop lends hands to help honor Americans who served in WWI 

A Boy Scout troop in Richmond, Virginia, over a century old itself, lent its hands recently to help acknowledge those whose help enabled the April 16, 2021 opening of the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC honoring the 4.7 million Americans who served their nation in uniform 100 years ago.

As part of the activities after the recent Father & Son Hike, Troop 400 folded flags that were flown over the Memorial so that they could be placed into presentation cases for the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission World War I Memorial Donor and Patron Recognition Program. The flags will be given to those individuals and organizations which played essential roles in the Commission's seven-year campaign to get the memorial approved, designed, funded, and constructed.

"On April 16, 2021, the World War I Centennial Commission celebrated the Inaugural Raising of the Flag of the United States of America over the newly constructed National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC," said Meredith Carr, Deputy Director of the World War I Centennial Commission. "Directly following the ceremony, the WWI Centennial Commission flew 100 flags over the Memorial on its opening day. These flags will be presented to our major donors, Special Advisors, and champions in the Pentagon and Capitol Hill."

But before the flags could be presented, they had to be folded neatly in a prescribed manner for placement in presentation cases. 100 flags take a lot of folding. That's where Troop 400 stepped in to help.

“Troop 400's origins go back to 1913, so we predate WWI", says Scoutmaster William "Billy" H. Parrish IV, who along with his three sons is an Eagle Scout in Troop 400. “To be chosen for folding the flags for the World War I Memorial Donor and Patron Recognition Program is a special and unique honor. The Scout Oath includes doing your duty to your Country and it is fitting that as a Scout Troop we honor those who served.”

Journey Home Album CoverRecorded by Vocal Arts DC in 2018, The Journey Home commemorates the centennial of World War I and advocates for the long-awaited national memorial to those who served in the war.

John Brancy and Peter Dugan Release The Journey Home: Live from the Kennedy Center

On May 28, 2021 Vocal Arts DC in collaboration with Avie Records released The Journey Home: Live from the Kennedy Center. Inspired by the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, the concert, which sold-out at the time, explores timeless themes of longing, loss, love, and the search for peace in the wake of catastrophe.

Musical selections range from Schubert's Der Wanderer, to Vaughan Williams' Songs of Travel, as well as popular tunes and art songs by composers and poets who died in the war. The concert is performed by Grammy Award winning baritone, John Brancy, and pianist (and host of NPR’s From the Top), Peter Dugan in a 2018 live performance from the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater.

The concert was presented by Vocal Arts DC and the General Delegation of Flanders to the United States. Brancy and Dugan will also release a single and music video from their performance of, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” from the album. Upon its release, the album can be found on all major streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play.

Accompanying the album, the duo has released a film of the performance, which includes interviews with historians and military personnel. The film also explores the long overdue process of creating a national memorial to World War I in Washington, DC, including interviews with the United States WWI Centennial Commission and a rendering of what the completed monument will look like. The National World War I Memorial has just opened in Pershing Park in Washington, DC, although the bronze sculpture, which will be the largest in the northern hemisphere, will not be completed for another three years. The film was scheduled to be aired over Memorial Day Weekend on WNET’s All Arts Channel. More information about the streaming options for this performance can be found at www.journeyhomealbum.com.

 

 Resized DH4 on truck with honor guardThe World War I DH4 aircraft arriving at Wichita Airport is greeted by an honor guard from McConnell Air Force Base, and a saluting battery from the US Army's 130th Field Artillery Brigade in Wichita. The historic World War I DH-4 aircraft, identical in every way to the one Lt. Erwin Bleckley flew on his legendary flight that earned him the Medal of Honor, will serve as a living memorial to Wichita's greatest aviation hero. Photo courtesy of Grant Schumaker.

DH 4 on truckThe 50th Aero Squadron, DH-4 #6 aircraft is now in Wichita, Kansas where it will be restored to flying condition & stationed as it’s future home. This historic aircraft represents the US Air Service(USAS), 50th Aero Squadron based at Remicourt, France, where on Oct 6, 1918, Lts. Goettler , pilot & Bleckley, observer, were killed in their DH-4, #6, aircraft while on their 2nd mission of the day in attempting to locate the 308th Infantry Battalion, 77th Division, in the battle of the Meuse-Argonne.

Piece of World War I history returned to Wichita, honors airman

By Anna Auld
via the kwch.com television station (KS) web site

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A piece of World War I history returned to Wichita Friday, May 28: an airplane that looks exactly like the plane Lt. Erwin Bleckley flew during his last mission during the First World War. The name “Bleckley” may sound familiar as Bleckley Street in Wichita is named for the airman who died on that final mission more than a century ago.

The plan with the plane, once it’s restored, is to have it displayed at Wichita’s Eisenhower National Airport, available for thousands to see and to learn a little about the plane’s history and why it’s important to Wichita.

There was a ceremony Friday to honor Lt. Erwin Bleckley. He died at the age of 23 on Oct. 6, 1918 on a mission to drop supplies from the sky. he later received the Medal of Honor for his bravery.

“This is a very big deal for the city of Wichita to bring this airplane home,” said Col. Phill Heseltine with McConnell Air Force Base.

Lt. Bleckley was born and raised in Wichita. He later joined the 130th Field Artillery. Many say he was the first volunteer for missions. The Bleckley Airport Memorial Foundation spent thousands of hours researching and planning to bring the historic plane back to the exact specifications of the airplane Lt. Bleckley flew on his last mission. It’s on the only DH-4 plane left in the world.

Now it’s real to the people of Wichita,” said Grant Schumaker with the Bleckley Airport Memorial Foundation.

 

 American Legion magazine 30918 0

June American Legion Magazine spotlights new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC

via the American Legion web site 

The June 2021 American Legion Magazine digital edition looks at the rocky road to citizenship through service, the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C., and more. The clickable digi-mag is available through MyLegion.org.

Non-members can download a PDF file of the Memorial article here.

In “Thank You, & Goodbye,” Ken Olsen talks with foreign-born veterans deported by the United States after it failed to grant them citizenship promised when they enlisted. For more than 100 years, The American Legion has fought for servicemembers and veterans to receive U.S. citizenship through military service.

•Following a live broadcast ceremony April 16, the new National World War I Memorial is open to the public. Read about the memorial’s commemorative elements, and then use the WWI Memorial Virtual Explorer and WWI Memorial Visitor Guide apps to explore the site. Plus, John D. “Jack” Monahan, The American Legion’s representative on the U.S. World War One Commission, previews “A Soldier’s Journey,” the Sabin Howard sculpture to be installed in 2024.

 

 nursesEula Bernice Butzerin and Susie Lee Welborn of Montana were two of more than 20,000 American Red Cross nurses mobilized in World War I.

To Find Their Brothers: The Trek of Two Montana Nurses in WWI

By Edward E. (Ed) Saunders LTC, U.S. Army (retired) Billings, MT
Special to the Doughboy Foundation web site

Note: May 6, 2021 was National Nurses Day.

In France the guns of war stopped, 11:00 a.m., November 11, 1918. The Great War ended. Its carnage unimaginable. Millions died, including eight million horses. The stench of rotting flesh the only smell. Explosions scarred the earth; rain and tears filled the craters. Birds flew endlessly looking in the emptiness for a tree, any tree, that remained upright with branches. It was as if God himself had collapsed in exhaustion pleading for His creation to stop. 

Into this wretched desolation, two weary women from Montana labored through mud and blood-soaked fields to find their brothers. The two were nurses, still in their twenties, but aged beyond measure. Battle weary from tending thousands of men torn by lethal lead and razor-edged shards of steel. Their hands worn from service; their souls scarred from death.

To Find Their Brothers 1Eula B. Butzerin
(U of Chicago)
Eula Bernice Butzerin was born in Wisconsin, 1891, and moved to Missoula, Montana, as a girl. Her father, Albert, was a railroad engineer and Montana state senator. Eula, an honor student, graduated from Missoula High School, and Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing, Chicago. She taught at present Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.

In 1918 the Kansas City Red Cross Nurses Association selected Eula as chief nurse. She joined Base Hospital 28 in Kansas City. In 1918 BH28 sailed for war in France, and began operations in Limoges.

Eula’s brother, Leroy “Roy”, a student at the University of Montana in Missoula, enlisted in the Army, May 1917. Roy was a sergeant in the 4th Engineers on the front lines. Lethal war gas killed him, 26 Sep 1918. History does not record when Eula got the news.

After the war and still in France, Eula began nearly a 300-mile trek to find her brother: Roads destroyed, railroads wrecked, destruction everywhere. She hired a French guide and together they labored northeast through battlefield after terrible battlefield.

Eula found a supply sergeant in Roy’s unit. The sergeant apparently told Eula the general location of Roy’s grave. Eula and the guide pressed on, mile after mile; asking directions from anyone in the area. In time they found Roy’s grave, marked with a stick and his dog tags hanging from it.

Eula’s thoughts are not known when she found her brother’s grave. But they were united once more. Eula never gave up on her brother. Roy is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, France. A white cross shows his home state of Montana.

Eula returned to America and received degrees from Columbia University, New York City. She was director of public health at the University of Minnesota, and professor of nursing education at the University of Chicago. Eula was later the national director of American Red Cross nursing projects, and international nursing liaison with the American Red Cross.

She never married or had children. Eula died 27 July 1978 in a retirement home near Seattle, Washington. Eula was cremated; her ashes scattered in the redwood forests of northern California. Apparently Eula does not have a memorial marker or veterans headstone anywhere.

 

2 Film Still Roberto Duran Kevin Collins Nelson in Souilly with ReenactorsRoberto Duran (left) and Kevin Collins-Nelson (with rifle) on location in Souilly, France with World War I reenactors. during the filming of Pershing's Paths of Glory. 

General Pershing was inspiration for film cast member joining USAF, becoming pilot

By Dayle Davidson Hartnett, Ph.D., Producer, and W. Joseph Hartnett, Director, Pershing's Paths of Glory
Special to the Doughboy Foundation web site

Photography by Jason Dixson Photography, www.jasondixson.comRoberto Duran at the film premiere. Photography by Jason Dixson Photography, www.jasondixson.comRoberto Duran, a Captain in the United States Air Force, is currently flying for Air Force Special Operations Command, and living at Duke Field, Florida, in the northern panhandle of Florida.

After Duran graduated and before he was commissioned, he auditioned for and was cast in Pershing’s Paths of Glory, a documentary film which features Pershing Rifles, a Pershing Angel, and Blackjacks who travel and mark incidents in the life of General John J. Pershing, the great World War I Commander of the American Expeditionary Forces.

Duran, a Pershing Rifleman from Texas and college graduate from Louisiana State University, was a serious, stabilizing force among the diverse group of high energy, military cadets still in secondary school.

He enjoyed interacting with Kevin Collins-Nelson, his stalwart counterpart also a college graduate and Pershing Rifleman from California who had graduated from Shaw University. They had long conversations and talked about everything, especially their shared experiences in the Pershing Rifles.

Duran joined the cast to experience in person the places where Pershing’s victories and achievements occurred, as well as to be a witness to the aftermath of the serious consequences of WWI. Clearly visible in both France today and in WWI home museums, are the trenches, unearthed, unexploded bombs and soldiers’ personal belongings.

 

In the Trenches 

In The Trenches of World War I 

via The Friends of the Frankfort Public Library (IN) web site

The Friends of the Frankfort Public Library invites you to “In the Trenches of World War I” during the month of May. We have been working with several entities to bring you compelling stories of WWI and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier located in Arlington National Cemetery. These month- long programs are in conjunction with the Friends Annual Meeting that will be held on May 14 at 6 p.m. in the Elizabeth O’Rear Skanta Theatre. Social distancing and masks are required.

THURSDAY, MAY 6

Please join us on Thursday, May 6 at 3 p.m. (EST) for a virtual presentation by military historian and best-selling author, Patrick O’Donnell. He will discuss one of his latest books, The Unknowns, The Untold Story of America’s Unknown Soldier and WWI’s Most Decorated Heroes Who Brought Him Home. O’Donnell illuminates the saga behind the creation of the monument and animates the tomb by giving voice to those who served in WWI.

When the first Unknown Soldier was laid to rest in Arlington, General John Pershing, Commander of the American Expeditionary Force in WWI, selected eight of America’s most decorated, battle- hardened veterans to serve as Body Bearers. He chose them for their bravery and to tell the larger story of America’s role in World War I. – The Unknowns

A Zoom link to this virtual program will be provided within three days of the presentation on the library’s website: myfcpl.org and Facebook.com/myfcpl. Please email your questions for the author to Mindy at memswiller@myfcpl.org by May 1. Also, by registering for this program, you will receive an email with a link to easily access Zoom. Please let us know if you have any technical questions. O’Donnell’s presentation will be available on the library’s website from May 6 through May 31.

MAY 7 – JUNE 2 THE GREAT WAR: FROM RATION LINES TO THE FRONT LINES EXHIBIT

The Indiana Historical Society’s (IHS) traveling exhibit, courtesy of Kroger, explores the roots of WWI, America’s entrance into the war, Indiana’s contributions to the war effort, the evolution of warfare, the role of Hoosier women both at home and abroad, the construction of the American Legion building and the Indiana War Memorial, and more. In addition to the IHS exhibit, we will have enlargements of historical photos and memorabilia courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute,

Indiana War Memorial, National Archives, VFW Post #1110, Clinton County Historical Museum, and a replica of a WWI Trench. This exhibit will be on display in the Anna and Harlan Hubbard Gallery.

FRIDAY, MAY 14

A Call to Honor: The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Replica. In honor of the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a half-scale replica of the Tomb will be on display outside in front of the Frankfort Library, May 14 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (In case of rain, the replica will be moved inside to the Circulation Area.) The Tomb replica will be staffed at all times to answer your questions and is owned and managed by the Americanism Committee of the Exchange Club of Rome, Georgia. The Indiana Patriot Guard will be escorting the replica to the library the morning of May 14, from the downtown square to the library. This exhibit is sponsored by Frankfort VFW #1110. 

 

World War 1 America Exhibition Comes to Irving Archives and Museum 

via the Irving Archives & Museum (CA) web site

foreveryfighterawomanposter 1920wWWI America invites audiences into a nuanced understanding of World War I as a transformational event in American history, a compressed and convulsive time of social, economic, and political change, a lens through which to understand what it means to be “modern.”

WW1 America is on view April 9 through May 30, 2021 at Irving Archives and Museum.

Although it was fought thousands of miles away, the war transformed the United States from a relatively provincial power on the world stage to a full-fledged global, military-industrial leader, held together by a newly powerful federal government and charged with confident patriotism. This is the America that dominates popular memory: the saturated hues of patriotic posters, jubilant crowds at Liberty Loan rallies, the ranks of manly Doughboys, and hearty choruses of “Over There.”

And yet there were darker sides of the American experience during the years 1914 to 1919: entire swaths of US cities engulfed in racial conflagrations; workers striking by the millions; women demonstrating in the streets demanding the right to vote; immigrants harassed and deported; dissenters and “hyphenated” Americans pursued, surveilled, jailed, or lynched; and violent disagreements about the nature of civil liberties.

The American stage during and just after World War I witnessed sharp challenges to virtually every familiar boundary—those of citizenship, gender, race, class, nationality, generation, culture, not to mention traditional assumptions about foreign entanglements.

As the war came to an end, making the “world safe for democracy” may have actually seemed easier than making democracy even possible for millions of Americans at home.

And if the war did not have a precisely causal effect on social change during the period—for issues such as woman suffrage, African American migrations, Prohibition, labor struggles—it was nonetheless always in dialogue, sometimes violently, with the day’s upheavals, shaping the nation in profound and lasting ways. Indeed, so many issues from this period cascade down the years to our own time.

 

 RMS Lusitania coming into port possibly in New York 1907 13 cropRMS Lusitania coming into port at New York in 1907. The sinking of the Cunard ocean liner occurred on Friday, May 7 1915, during WWI, as Germany waged submarine warfare against the United Kingdom which had implemented a naval blockade of Germany. The sinking had an disproportionate effect on American public opinion, and played an important role in bringing the United States into the Great War two years later.

Why was the Sinking of the Lusitania so Controversial?

By Allyn Lawrence
Staff Writer

If you asked people a reason for the United States of America entering the First World War, one of the most common answers would be the sinking of the RMS Lusitania. On May 7, 1915, this British ocean liner was spotted and torpedoed by a German U-Boat off the coast of Ireland. The ship sank within eighteen minutes, leading to the death of 1,198 individuals, 128 of whom were American. One Washington State newspaper, issued six days after the ship’s sinking, cited an American citizen describing the attack on the Lusitania as “nothing short of savagery.”i Indeed, the sinking of the Lusitania enraged the American public. German/American relations suffered immediately following the event. The sinking helped to motivate the United States of America to join the world conflict two years later in April of 1917.

WWI Article Image 2The Wreck of the SS SussexHowever, the Lusitania was not the only passenger ship destroyed during World War One. From 1914-1918, over 6,000 Allied and neutral ships were sunk by U-boats of the Triple Alliance. The German Navy specifically targeted close to 50 foreign passenger ships as a part of its military campaign, using direct ambushes and underwater mines to sink enemy vessels.

On August 19, 1915, the Germans targeted and torpedoed the SS Arabic, a White Star ocean liner en route to New York from Ireland. 44 people died when the ship sank.

In November of the same year, the HMHS Britannic suffered a catastrophe when the ship hit a mine left by the German Navy near the Greek island of Kea. 30 lives were lost.

And in 1916, a German U-boat fired upon the SS Sussex (a French passenger ferry) in the English Channel, leading to the death of 50-100 individuals.ii

Obviously, the Lusitania was just one of the thousands of ships sunk by the German Imperial Navy during World War One. Yet, to this day, it is remembered as a major precipitant of the United States joining the war. Why is this? Why was the sinking of the Lusitania so controversial? Why was this event so important?

 

 OReillyMary Boyle O’Reilly’s syndicated stories about the destruction of Louvain and the plight of Belgian refugees appeared in hundreds of newspapers in September 1914. Author Chris Dubbs has written a new book chronicling how O'Reilly and other American women journalists covered the Great War. 

Viewing World War I through the eyes of its journalists

By Chris Dubbs
Special to the Doughboy Foundation web site

I occupy a narrow slice of scholarship in the history of World War 1—its journalism. Having so focused a view on such a vast subject means that I filter all the drama of WW1 through the reporters who covered it. For example, I would not write about the German invasion of Belgium in August 1914 in military terms, but about how the war correspondents reported it. How Irvin Cobb took a taxicab from Brussels in pursuit of the war and became embedded with German army or how Mary Boyle O’Reilly witnessing the destruction of Louvain and then walking with refugees through the devastated region to neutral Holland gave the world its first glimpse of the human toll of the invasion.

81hhAgX5CGLMy fourth book on WWI journalists will appear in April 2021—American Women Report World War I: An Anthology of Their Journalism. A fourth book on WW1 journalists, you ask? Would not three, or two, or even one, have been enough?

I thought at one point that if I wrote a book about the journalists of WW1 and then edited a follow-up anthology of their work—which I did—I would have covered the topic to my satisfaction. Afterall, I had retrieved from articles, autobiographies, letters, scholarly works, and archives the wonderful adventures of these journalists and coaxed from the material their unique personalities.

I had explained how World War 1 served as a proving ground for many of the news-gathering strategies and news-controlling practices that were largely duplicated in World War II and in other wars since. Those two books demonstrated the value of viewing the Great War through the lens of journalism, with its ability to set the larger social frame on the conflict. Job done. Dust off my hands. Move on.

But an alarming thing happened while I was working on that follow-up anthology. I realized that I had made a mistake when writing my first book. For the past few years, and the past two books, I have been on a mea culpa mission to make amends for what I got wrong.

In my defense, I was not the first historian to make this mistake. In fact, the mistake has been such a routine occurrence through the ages that it has only in recent decades even been acknowledged as a mistake. While compiling that anthology of WW1 reporting (with co-editor John-Daniel Kelley) and reviewing hundreds of war articles, from hundreds of sources, I realized that I had shortchanged the role of women.

I remember the exact moment when the hammer blow struck me. I was reading a series of articles written by Mary Roberts Rinehart in the summer of 1915, for the nation’s largest circulation magazine, the Saturday Evening Post. On the strength of a January-March 1915 visit to Belgium, England, and France, Rinehart pulled off one of the most extraordinary bits of reporting in the entire war. At a time when journalists were still forbidden from entering the war zone, Rinehart arranged with the Belgian Red Cross to get carte blanche access. She slogged through the muddy trenches on the Yser Front and got bombed in Calais. She saw the wounded in Belgian hospitals and explored the British and French zones. She arranged first-in-the-war interviews with the King and Queen of Belgium, British Queen Mary, as well as the commanders of the British and French forces.

It’s impossible to exaggerate just how incredible was Rinehart’s accomplishment and the window on the war she offered to the Post’s two million readers. Or, how well she demonstrated that being a woman was no bar to being an effective war correspondent.

“Give me an opportunity, I will do it” - Dr. Frank E. Boston & WWI 

By George Whitehair
Special to the Doughboy Foundation web site

I had just finished compiling a fun and upbeat book of short stories highlighting the contributions of immigrants, entitled We Are You, with plans to dedicate the book to all first responders, as well as to unsung heroes. A good friend of mine, Dr. Francis Jeyaraj, a well-known and popular local pediatrician, mentioned to me that I might want to add Dr. Frank Boston, the founder of what is now the Abington-Lansdale Hospital (located in the suburbs of Philadelphia), to my list.

Charles BostonDr. Frank BostonAs I delved into his story, I quickly realized I had the opportunity to raise awareness for a one of a kind physician, who served his country and his community and may be the first veteran African-American in the US to start both a hospital and ambulance corps, both of which are in operation today. Dr. Boston was the son of a Civil War veteran, a veteran himself after serving as a military surgeon in WWI.

He returned to Philadelphia after the war to operate a medical clinic for British and American War veterans. He then settled in a small town outside of Philadelphia, where he founded the Elm Terrace Hospital and a separate ambulance corps. The hospital has since grown into a 140-bed acute care general hospital operated by Jefferson Health, providing a comprehensive range of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services with over 700 employees, and a diverse staff of more than 300 active physicians.

Dr. Boston also formed a First Aid Emergency Squad, which would eventually become known as the Volunteer Medical Services Corps (VMSC) and helped design their insignia. The ambulance corps now has 3 stations with coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. He achieved all of this during the 1930s, at a time when our country’s racial history was especially troubling. Somehow Dr. Boston rose above all of that to become a beloved country doctor remembered for his compassion and dedication.

With the recent anniversary of 9/11, I started to compile all of the research I had done on Dr. Boston, as well as the research provided to me from the Lansdale Historical Society, the State Historical Society of Iowa and some suggestions from the Chief Historian of the American Battlefield Trust.This led to research into World War I, where I discovered the World War I Centennial Commission and, in addition to reading the extensive collection available at their web site, I began to review records I could locate on Dr. Boston and his remarkable service to his country during WWI. 

Francis (Frank) Erdman Boston was born in Philadelphia to Charles A. (born 1846) and Julia M. (born 1853). His Father was a Civil War veteran who served in the 12th Regiment, Pennsylvania Cavalry (113th Volunteers) of the Pennsylvania volunteers and was in the battle of Winchester,VA in 1864, where he blew the bugle for the calvary charge.

After the Civil War, Charles Boston remained in Philadelphia and worked as a janitor, and eventually owned a barber shop on Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia. Julia Boston, Dr. Boston’s mother, who was part French and part Native American, worked as a hairdresser. She is credited with teaching young Frank the healing powers of herbs and natural remedies that would also influence his career path.

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