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.

 

Answering the Call Full Cover 26FEB copy

Answering the Call: Erie County, Pennsylvania in World War One
We Remember… 

By the Erie County, Pennsylvania, World War One Centennial Committee, and Editors Mary Jane Phillips Koenig, Susan Mueller, Ann Silverthorn, and Bill Welch
Special to the Doughboy Foundation web site

In 2018 thirteen people, including teachers, veterans, historians, members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, all from varying backgrounds, thought that Erie County should be commemorating the American engagement in World War One. Each of us had a distinct connection to war.

Our first action was to raise money to erect a memorial dedicated to those 199 men with links to Erie County who made the ultimate sacrifice in the World War. After a successful county wide campaign, recognized by veterans and other citizens alike, the memorial was erected and dedicated in May 2019. The Bells of Peace initiative was adopted in 2018 and “World War One Wednesdays,” a series of lectures was presented in 2019 to help the public understand Erie’s part in the war, at the front in Europe and the home front.

The idea to write a book about the county’s part in the war emanated from those projects and the committee received a grant for $15,000 for creating the book.
Now this 175-page commemorative book, Answering the Call: Erie County, Pennsylvania in World War One will be available on May 25, 2021, the launch date. The writers and editors who contributed to this book did so without compensation and all proceeds will go to the perpetual maintenance of the World War One Memorial and grounds at Erie County Veterans Memorial Park on State Street in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Few events in history have created such change as the First World War and the effects are still relevant today. Answering the Call, Erie County, Pennsylvania in World War One, examines how the people of Erie County met the challenges of that war, whether in the military or at the home front. From those who did enter the military to the industry surging to support the war effort, Erie County served and there was great heroism and sacrifice on all fronts. This book resonates nationwide, giving us a way to connect to the distant past, to learn from it, and to remember and honor those who “answered the call.”

What else does the book include? There are biographies of the 201 men with Erie County connections who died in the war and chapters about the local infantry regiments of the 28th Division and the local machine gun regiment of the 80th Division. Other parts of the book cover Erie’s Gold Star mothers, the area Red Cross chapter, how Erie County women supported the war, the 1918 flu pandemic in Erie, when a German U-boat visited Erie after the war, a list of over 2300 men and women from Erie County who served in the military during the war, and much more!

 

Pipe Dream“The Hello Girls,” a musical about America’s first female soldiers in World War I, was developed in Johnson City and performed at the opening of the National World War I memorial in Washington, D.C. 

WWI Memorial opening ceremony features song developed in Southern Tier 

By Lorena Maggiore
via the Pipe Dream (Binghamton University, NY) web site(

On April 16, the World War I Memorial site in Pershing Park, Washington, D.C., was unveiled in a livestreamed ceremony of the Inaugural Raising of the Flag. The event covered the history of World War I and included numerous speakers whose family members served in the war. Viewers learned about the “Doughboys,” the “Hello Girls” and other veterans who gave their service to the country. The Binghamton community played a role in this, as a song about the “Hello Girls,” which was written in Johnson City, was performed at the ceremony.

The “Hello Girls” were a group of America’s first women soldiers. “The Hello Girls” were bilingual in French and English and served the American Expeditionary Forces as telephone operators during World War I. The “Hello Girls” connected over 26 million calls, joined the Signal Corps and worked at the frontlines in 1917. In 1918, 223 of the women were sent to work at Army Switchboards across Europe. The Department of War denied the “Hello Girls” veteran status. The “Hello Girls” made an effort for recognition as veterans for nearly 60 years until Congress granted them veteran status in 1977.

A number from Peter Mills and Cara Reichel’s musical “The Hello Girls,” was presented in the livestream. The song, “Making History,” details some of the efforts made by the “Hello Girls” during and after World War I. Naima Kradjian, chief executive officer of Goodwill Theatre Inc., a nonprofit organization restoring the Goodwill Theatre in Johnson City, spoke of the cooperation between the Goodwill Theatre, the Schorr Family Firehouse Stage in Johnson City and the Prospect Theater Company in New York City.

“We had been partnering with the director Cara Reichel since 2007, and she is the director and also the lyricist for ‘The Hello Girls,‘“ Kradjian said. “Around 2015 we started to partner directly with Prospect Theater Company. And then in 2018, she contacted us and [Reichel] wanted to see about bringing ‘The Hello Girls’ up for them to do a staged reading and work out some problems they were having.”

Kradjian said that Reichel and Mills wrote one of “The Hello Girls” songs while traveling to Johnson City and the cast came to Johnson City for a week where they worked on and performed a staged reading of the first act and part of the second act of “The Hello Girls” at the Firehouse Stage. The musical was performed as a part of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ (ASCAP) Musical Theater Week at The Kennedy Center in 2019 and the Prospect Theater Company’s IGNITE Series concert at the Peter Jay Sharpe Theater at Symphony Space in 2020. Kradjian said that these events helped raise money for building a World War I monument.

“The [World War I Centennial Commission] and [The Doughboy Foundation] got in touch with Reichel and Mills,” Kradjian said. “They were looking for ways to get people to think about [World War I]. They did a Kennedy Center tribute, a concert version [and] some performances during Fleet Week for the head of the Navy, and then they were asked to do this which is quite an honor.”

Kradjian said she was glad that “The Hello Girls” musical helped contribute to memorializing World War I veterans at a national level. She also said she was proud that the Johnson City theaters were able to provide a space for “The Hello Girls” musical to be developed.

“It’s pretty amazing to have something created in our space that is then in the nation’s capital, paying honor at such a prestigious event,” Kradjian said. “I’m so proud that it’s part of a national conversation. Something that was performed, that song [‘Making History’] was performed, for the very first time in front of people in our space.” 

 

National Parks Traveler nama world war i memorialnps 1025The World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C., is now open to the public/NPS 

National Parks Traveler: World War I Memorial Is Open In Washington 

By NPT Staff
via the National Parks Traveler web site

The World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C., has opened, honoring the 4.7 million Americans who served the country during the great war and the 116,516 who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

The American flag was raised over the memorial last Friday during its formal unveiling. The First Colors Ceremony featured recorded remarks by President Joe Biden and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. A full recording of the event is available online.

“The National Park Service is proud to be a part of the raising of the American flag over the memorial that honors the Americans who served this country during World War I,” NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge said. “This memorial joins a nationally significant group of parks, monuments, and memorials that commemorate and tell the stories of the American experience, and I encourage everyone to join me in honoring the service and sacrifice of the heroes who served their country in the First World War.”

Built by the United States World War I Centennial Commission and designed by architect Joseph Weishaar, the memorial features a statue of Gen. John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces during the war; the Peace Fountain, a cascade of water behind an excerpt from the poem “The Young Dead Soldiers Do Not Speak” by Archibald MacLeish; engraved quotes and references to theaters, campaigns and battles in which American forces participated; and exhibits about the role of the United States in World War I.

The memorial’s central feature, a sculpture titled “A Soldier’s Journey,” is scheduled for installation in 2024. The 58-foot-long bas-relief sculpture by Sabin Howard will feature 38 figures depicting the journey of a recurring American soldier and representing the larger American experience of World War I.

The memorial is located at the former Pershing Park, 1.76-acres along Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 14th Street NW and 15th Street NW, across from the White House Visitor Center. The World War I Memorial builds on the original design of Pershing Park, dedicated at the site in 1981 as the American Expeditionary Forces Memorial.

“The time is long overdue for the World War I Memorial to take its rightful place among the memorials of the nation’s capital that pay tribute to the men and women who served and sacrificed in America’s armed conflicts,”  said Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks.  “The National Park Service is honored to serve as a keeper of America’s stories, and to care for this incredible memorial at which we honor those who served both “Over There” and on the home front in World War I.”

The World War I Memorial is open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. National Park Service rangers provide programs for visitors and answer questions. Additional information and photographs of the new memorial are available online.

 

Smithsonoan a1fac44f 5e9c 4971 b2b6 de757ebcf98dhiresproxyRendering of the National World War I Memorial's wall of remembrance, which is set to be installed in 2024 (National Park Service) 

How D.C.’s Newly Unveiled WWI Memorial Commemorates the Global Conflict 

By Livia Gershon
via the Smithsonian.com web site

 More than a century after World War I drew to a close, a long-awaited memorial commemorating the global conflict has opened to the public in the nation’s capital. As Lolita C. Baldor reports for the Associated Press (AP), the Great War is the last of the United States’ four major 20th-century wars to receive a memorial in Washington, D.C.

“The National World War I Memorial is a depiction of what happened 100 years ago, when soldiers boarded ships bound for France, determined to bring to a close what they thought would be a war to end all wars,” said Daniel Dayton, executive director of the World War I Centennial Commission, during a virtual ceremony held last Friday, per Michelle Stoddart of ABC News. “By themselves they of course couldn’t end all war, but their courage and sacrifice did indeed bring a decisive end to a conflict that had killed millions.”

Though the official opening ceremony and raising of the first flag at the site took place on Friday, Stars and Stripes’ Carlos Bongioanni points out that the central element of the memorial remains unfinished. A roughly 60-foot-long, 12-foot-tall bas-relief sculpture titled A Soldier’s Journey, the wall of remembrance is scheduled to be installed in 2024. For now, a canvas featuring sketches showing the future sculpture stands in its place.

The wall is the work of sculptor Sabin Howard. Per Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times, its 38 figures tell the story of a reluctant soldier who returns home a hero—a tableau that reflects the nation’s turn from isolationism to a position of global leadership.

“Starting from the left, the soldier takes leave from his wife and daughter, charges into combat, sees men around him killed, wounded, and gassed, and recovers from the shock to come home to his family,” notes the National Park Service (NPS) on its website.

“The National World War I Memorial is a depiction of what happened 100 years ago, when soldiers boarded ships bound for France, determined to bring to a close what they thought would be a war to end all wars,” said Daniel Dayton, executive director of the World War I Centennial Commission, during a virtual ceremony held last Friday, per Michelle Stoddart of ABC News. “By themselves they of course couldn’t end all war, but their courage and sacrifice did indeed bring a decisive end to a conflict that had killed millions.”

Though the official opening ceremony and raising of the first flag at the site took place on Friday, Stars and Stripes’ Carlos Bongioanni points out that the central element of the memorial remains unfinished. A roughly 60-foot-long, 12-foot-tall bas-relief sculpture titled A Soldier’s Journey, the wall of remembrance is scheduled to be installed in 2024. For now, a canvas featuring sketches showing the future sculpture stands in its place.

The wall is the work of sculptor Sabin Howard. Per Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times, its 38 figures tell the story of a reluctant soldier who returns home a hero—a tableau that reflects the nation’s turn from isolationism to a position of global leadership.

“Starting from the left, the soldier takes leave from his wife and daughter, charges into combat, sees men around him killed, wounded, and gassed, and recovers from the shock to come home to his family,” notes the National Park Service (NPS) on its website.

The monument is located in an area previously known as Pershing Park. Now designated as a national memorial, the space incorporates an existing statue of General John J. Pershing, who commanded the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) sent to fight on Europe’s Western Front.

In addition to the design and construction of the memorial elements, the $42 million project included the reconstruction of the park, which had fallen into disrepair. The park is also a recreational facility used by tourists and local residents.

 

Coffee or Die photo 1556046905 2508233aea86 scaled 

New World War I Memorial Unveiled in First Colors Ceremony 

By Mac Caltrider
via the Coffee or Die web site

It’s been more than 100 years since Pvt. Henry Gunther fixed his bayonet and fatefully charged a German machine-gun nest. He was acting alone, trying desperately to salvage a tarnished reputation. As both Americans and Germans cried out for Gunther to stop, he rushed forward until a burst from the enemy guns struck Gunther in his temple, making him the last official casualty of World War I.

Coffee or Die 175606934 1857761897732433 2145317978255738951 n 1024x682The new World War I Memorial’s temporary canvas artwork. Photo from World War One Centennial Commission/Facebook.

Gunther was just one of about 3,000 men to die after the Treaty of Versailles was signed. Although the treaty marked the official end to the conflict, it took six hours for news of the war’s end to spread across Europe. Among those tragically killed in the final moments of the cataclysm were 320 Americans. Until now, those casualties, along with the more than 116,000 other Americans killed in the war, did not have a proper memorial in Washington, DC.

On Friday, the new World War I memorial was revealed during a “first colors” ceremony. The ceremony kicked off with “To the Colors,” played on Gen. John J. Pershing’s personal bugle. As the melody echoed throughout the nearly 2 acres of Pershing Park, Old Glory was hoisted over the memorial for the first time. 

The flag used for the ceremony has its own impressive history. It was the same flag flying over the Capitol when the United States first joined World War I in 1917. Later, it flew over cemeteries in Europe housing Americans killed in the war and eventually made its way back to the US where it flew over the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri.

 

Pershings OwnMembers of a military ceremonial honor guard march off followed by members of the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" at the conclusion of a dedication ceremony for the World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Friday, April 16, 2021. 

Another national memorial comes to DC, this time to pay tribute to those who served in World War I

By Carlos Bongioanni
via the Stars and Stripes newspaper web site 

WASHINGTON — It’s officially open, but the new World War I Memorial in the nation’s capital is far from complete.

The central design element for the $42 million memorial is a roughly 60-foot long, 12-foot high sculpture wall that will feature nearly-life-size men and women, depicting various aspects of wartime life. But the sculptures won’t be completed and added to the wall until 2024. In the meantime, a canvas with artists’ sketches of the future sculpture hangs on the wall.

The site for the new memorial was previously known as Pershing Park, and some elements of the old park have been preserved and incorporated into the new. A statue of Gen. John J. Pershing and two memorial walls with engravings of pertinent information about the war remain on the southeast corner of the memorial. Known as the General of the Armies, Pershing returned home a national hero after he commanded the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front in World War I.

When Pershing Park was built, the general was the main focus of the park named after him. The new memorial seeks to expand the scope of the tribute to include a broad array of people who served during the war.

In a “first Colors” ceremony on Friday, the U.S. flag was raised over the site for the first time, as the former city park took on an elevated status as a “National” memorial, although the National Park Service will not be responsible for the memorial’s upkeep.

The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and a ceremonial military honor guard were on hand as military members raised the flag, and an Army musician played taps on a bugle that belonged to Gen. Pershing. Soon after, two F-22 Raptors roared overhead to pay tribute.

Attendees at Friday’s event were treated to about an hour of prerecorded remarks from celebrities, politicians and a number of influential people who helped bring the memorial to fruition. President Joe Biden noted how fitting it was to recognize the sacrifice of those who went through the “horror” of a war that involved, among other things, chemical weapons and gruesome fighting from trench to trench.

“In some ways, the Great War shifted America’s thinking about ourselves and redefined our place in the world,” Biden said.

Marine veteran Chris Kuhns and his wife, Gabrielle, volunteered to attend the event as World War I reenactors. He wore a WWI-era Marine Corps uniform, while she wore an outfit to portray a Salvation Army Doughnut Girl.

“This is incredibly important to both of us. We both have family members who fought in the war,” said Chris Kuhns. 

 

MemorialWEBWorkers install a World War I memorial at Veterans Memorial Park in Port Arthur, TX. 

Texas WWI memorial finds home at local park

By Russel Buss
via the panews.com web site (Port Arthur, TX) web site

It was the late summer of 2018 when then-Port Arthur News editor Kenneth Stickney published a story about David Williams, Hamilton Smith Post 797 and the World War I Memorial hidden behind a chain link fence.

Ken wanted people to know about 1918, Veterans Day 100 years later, the Memorial and Port Arthur History.

It is now 2021, Mr. Williams has passed away without his last wish.

But here is the rest of the story.

George Newsome and Russel Buss were members on the Port Arthur Rotary’s “The International Avenue of Flags” Display 2015. In 2018 they read Ken’s article and had a plan.

They dug up the history of the 1932 dedication of the Memorial. In a heart beat George said he could easily move it. Where? Downtown? No. A better location — The War Memorial on Highway 73. A perfect date to have it there would be the 100th year anniversary of WWI.

Many Calls were made to the Texas State American Legion and Jefferson County District 2, which maintains the memorial on Highway 73.

Calls, calls, delays, delays and no approvals.

“Hey George: Pick it, move it! In time for the WWI tribute and then ask forgiveness.” But Time ran out for 11/11/2018! Now what?

Memorial Day 2021 will bring a need for grieving, memorials for COVID, and to honor WWI.

“Hey George: Memorial Day lets’ relocate it”

The WWI Memorial is now resting at the site on Highway 73.

County commissioners Darrel Bush and Michael Sinegal were instrumental in moving and setting it.


Russel Buss of Port Arthur is a member of the Port Arthur Rotary Club. 


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