WWI DISPATCH November 14, 2017

update subscription preferences

View this in your browser

Dispatch header 800 - 061217

November 14, 2017


Commission hosts Ceremonial Groundbreaking for WWI Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC

Speakrs Four

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking for America's World War I Memorial on Thursday, November 9, 2017 at the memorial's site, Pershing Park.

Among the featured speakers for the event (at right, top to bottom) were U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and Centennial Commission Chair Terry Hamby.

For the ceremonial groundbreaking, the keynote speakers used presentation-shovels to turn soil that came to the ceremony from the Meuse-Argonne battlefield in France. Meuse-Argonne was the site of the largest military battle in the history of the United States military, and involved over one million service members. 26,000 Americans were lost in the battle.

The Centennial Commission used the event to announce that they had received leadership gifts from two of America’s leading veteran service organizations, the American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Each of the organizations made donations in the amount of $300,000, to be used for the creation of the new national-level memorial.

The groundbreaking ceremony received broad coverage nationally, internationally, and locally in Washington, DC media.

Sandra Pershing

Sandra Sinclair Pershing, the granddaughter-in-law of General John Pershing, who led the American Expeditionary Force to Europe in World War One, penned an eloquent guest opinion piece in The Hill newspaper, noting that "It would be inconceivable to Gen. Jack Pershing that a century ago he would be told the men under his command would not have a memorial to their sacrifice in the nation's capital when the centennial of that conflict would finally arrive."

Read more articles about the groundbreaking ceremony here.

Outdoor exhibit of striking images of WWI battlefields at Pershing Park until December 8

Fields of Battle

The experience of American soldiers in the Great War is documented in a free outdoor special centennial exhibition, Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: The Doughboys, 1917-1918, which debuted Wednesday in Washington DC's Pershing Park. The exhibition features the incredible contemporary photographs of Michael St Maur Sheil, depicting the battlefields of the Western Front where the Doughboys fought. The exhibition, co-curated by the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, opened in conjunction with the ceremonial groundbreaking for America's World War I Memorial. Read more about this amazing WWI battlefield photo exhibition here.

"Belgium will never forget the sacrifices made by American soldiers"

Belgian unit

The Embassy of Belgium has a remarkable new World War I exhibit that has been traveling across the United States. It tells a unique story of a unique military unit, that had adventures unlike any other, during the World War I period. The Expeditionary Corps of Armored Cars (often called ACM) was a military division formed by Belgian volunteers during WWI. It was sent to Russia at the request of the Tsar to fight the German Army on the Eastern front and distinguished itself in battle in Galicia in 1915. After the Bolshevik revolution, the ACM corps found itself in hostile territory and reached the US through Siberia and China. The exhibition consists in 19 banners (4 dedicated exclusively to their journey in the USA). We caught up with two members of the Belgian Embassy staff, who worked with the exhibit -- Gaëlle Powis de Tenbossche, and Carl Vander Maelen. They took a few moments to tell us all about it.

Trains and Traction restoration of historic World War I American Rail Cars in France


An amazing group of people in France have been working on an amazing project to remember the American troops who helped France 100 years ago. Calling themselves Trains and Traction, they are railway enthusiasts who have spent countless hours restoring an original American Army World War I-era railway boxcar, for eventual display & exhibit. The rail car was left behind in France, and was a ruin when discovered by the group a few years ago. Olivier Jaubert (shown at left working on a boxcar) is the Director of Heritage for the Trains and Traction Foundation, and he told us about his team, and what they have done.

Delaware honors its WWI Servicemen with new Memorial at State Capitol

Governor John Carney

One hundred years after America’s entry in the Great War, just to the south of Delaware’s Legislative Hall where the General Assembly meets, stands the nation’s most recent WWI monument, commemorating The First State’s citizens who served in the United States Armed Forces in the conflict. A two-year effort produced the stately granite monument which was unveiled on a cool November 4th before Governor John Carney, other elected officials, residents and visitors. Read more about the Delaware monument and the dedication ceremony here.

WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast

Podcast Logo

The WW1 Centennial News Podcast is about WW1 THEN: 100 years ago this week, and it's about WW1 NOW: News and updates about the centennial and the commemoration. 

Available on our web site, iTunes, Google Play, and TuneIn.

POWs in WW1

Episode 45

POWs in WW1 | @01:30

The war on the eastern front is over - Mike Shuster | @11:15

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - Gavin McIlvenna | @15:50

Speaking WW1 “Dingbat” | @22:40

100C/100M, Wheaton IL - Nancy Flannery & Rob Sperl | @24:15

The Millionaire’s Unit - Dr. Marc Wortman | @30:50

North Dakota WW1 Centennial Committee - Darrell Dorgan | @38:00

Warrior in Khaki - Native American Warriors - Michael and Ann Knudson | @44:15

WWrite Blog - Pierre Lemaitre’s, The Great Swindle | @51:20

The Buzz - Native American History Month | @52:25

Wwrite Blog Post This Week

Wwrite Blog Logo

WWrite Blog Twitter Feed Launched!

Stay up to date with the latest writerly WWI posts and events!

Today, WWrite launched its Twitter Feed that will be linked to the blog. These Tweets will replace the weekend updates and will appear regularly. The Twitter account is just getting off the ground and will continue to evolve and improve over the coming months. We will also be working to link it to all relavent information on the WWI site. All suggestions welcome at jennifer.orth-veillon@worldwar1centennial.org. Please find us at: @orthveillon, #WWrite 

For more details see this week's post in the WWrite Blog.

Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Fleece sweatshirt

Navy Fleece Sweatshirt: $46.00

Head into the Holiday season and gatherings with the family, warm, snug and totally commemorative! This fleece sweatshirt top is not only comfortable, but also features the Centennial Doughboy Icon.

Sweatshirt features: Navy with white doughboy embroidery. 80% cotton/20% polyester,  9.5 Oz. High quality heavy weight pre-shrunk fabric. Sweatshirt has ¼ zip pullover with cadet collar and silver metal zipper. Ribbed cuffs and waistband with spandex. Cover-seamed arm holes. Mens’ sizes available M – 2XL (Small and XL are currently sold out)

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial.

Take advantage of the
Matching Donation by the
Pritzker Military Museum and Library

Double Your Donation - Soldiers

Harry Shankman

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org

Harry Shankman

Submitted by: Ronald Miller

Harry Shankman served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1917/1919.

Harry Shankman’s W.W.I. Service History

PFC Harry Shankman: Private First Class, E-2, Service #1390206

Member of Company "L" (4th Platoon) . . . of the 3rd Battalion . . . Of the 132 Infantry Regiment . . . of the 66th Brigade . . . of the 33rd "Prairie" Division.

The 33 DIVISION (The Prairie Division) was comprised of the troops from the Illinois National Guard. They trained at Camp Logan, TX then sailed for France in May 1918. The 33rd served with the Australians at the Amines sector, and was represented by units at Verdun and at the Meuse-Argonne. As a division, the 33rd Division spent 27 days in active sectors and 32 days in quiet sectors. It captured 3,987 prisoners-a record for a National Guard Division - and advanced 36 km (22 miles) against the enemy while sustaining 989 battle deaths & 6,266 wounded.

Most combat operations were either about 70 miles north of Paris, or about 135 east of Paris.

Read Harry Shankman's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.