WWI DISPATCH January 29, 2019

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January 29, 2019


January 1, 2019 Memorial Header

Revamping Pershing Park: Giving World War I Remembrance Its Due

Federal City Council

The United States World War I Centennial had the opportunity last week to brief the Federal City Council (FC2 ) in Washington, DC on the new National World War I Memorial in the nation's capitol. Commissioner and Vice Chair Edwin Fountain, and Commissioner Tod Sedgwick led a discussion with FC2 Trustees about plans to build the Memorial in Pershing Park. Click here to read the extremely positive response from the FC2 on the briefing, and the organization's call for FC2 members to "get involved" in the Memorial project.

Senators Tester, Blackburn Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Honor "Hello Girls"


U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) are honoring the groundbreaking service of the women who connected American and French forces on the front lines of World War I. The Senators introduced the bipartisan Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal Act to award the women of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, dubbed the "Hello Girls," with the Congressional Gold Medal for their service and subsequent 60 year fight to be recognized as veterans. The Hello Girls were recruited after male infantrymen struggled to connect calls quickly or communicate with their French counterparts. Despite their outstanding service and the military oath they took, the Hello Girls were denied veteran status and benefits when they returned home. It wasn't until 1977, 60 years after the first Hello Girls took the Army oath, that Congress passed legislation to retroactively acknowledge the military service of the women in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Click here to read more about this new legislative initiative to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the "Hello Girls" that will "honor their service as well as their fight for recognition.”

American Legion supports review of minorities' World War I valor medals

Valor Medals review web site logo

The American Legion magazine's February 2019 issue will carry a full-page article detailing the Legion's support for the United States World War I Centennial Commission-sponsored Valor Medals Review Task Force. This is the first systematic  review of World War I veterans who may have been denied a Medal of Honor due to racial or ethnic discrimination. The Valor Medals Review Task Force is starting with the records of approximately 70 African-American soldiers -- in particular, those worthy of the nation's highest military award who may have been downgraded to a Distinguished Service Cross or received a French Croix de Guerre with palm. Click here to read more about the Valor Medals Review Task Force, and the Legion's full support for its efforts.

Philadelphia Family Gets Back Grandfather’s World War I Keepsake Thanks to Purple Hearts Reunited

2nd Lt. Donald A. McClure

Three weeks ago, the nonprofit Purple Hearts Reunited reached out to the McClure family in West Chester, PA, letting them know that they found something that belonged to them. In a letter home to Pennsylvania, 2nd Lt. Donald A. McClure (left) described the severe leg injury he had suffered in World War I. The letter came from France. The year was 1918. McClure was 22. McClure's descendants weren't aware that Lt. McClure received a WWI Wound Certificate, and like many, don’t know how it left the family. But inside of a West Chester home, the honor was returned. Click here to read the entire story, and watch the video as a bit of World War I history was returned to a veteran's family.

How the flu wiped out 675,000 Americans after World War I

Libby O'Connell

Commissioner Libby O'Connell of the United States World War 1 Centennial Commission is the chief historian emeritus at the History Channel. She picked up her historian's pen to craft an article last week for the New York Post newspaper about the still mystifying outbreak of influenza during World War I that killed millions worldwide, including some 675,000 Americans, 43,000 of them Doughboys. Click here to read more about the viral carnage of the influenza pandemic, and how the specter of a pandemics like the World War I episode, in new and virulent forms, isn’t a remote historic footnote 100 years later.

Peter Jackson’s “They Shall Not Grow Old” marches on: Warner Brothers releasing widely across North America

The Shall Not Grow Old Title poster

Warner Bros. Pictures is widening the front for Peter Jackson’s widely acclaimed World War I documentary, “They Shall Not Grow Old.” The studio will expand the release of the film to 500 theaters across 150 markets throughout the U.S. and Canada, beginning on Friday, February 1, 2019, with special pre-shows the evening before.  The Warner Bros. release comes following the film’s hugely successful Fathom Events dates, which yielded record-setting results. “They Shall Not Grow Old” took in $8.34 million, making it the highest-grossing U.S. Cinema Event release ever. Click here to read more about the broad release of this epic World War I documentary, including how to buy tickets.

From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

A Century in the Making: An Interview with National WWI Memorial creative team Joe Weishaar and Sabin Howard


In Episode 105 of the WW1 Centennial News Podcast, which aired on January 11th, 2019, we heard from two people who are integral to the creation of the National WWI Memorial: lead designer Joe Weishaar (top left) and sculptor Sabin Howard. We honor the veterans of every other major conflict of the 20th century in our nation's capital, except World War I. To fix that, the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission's capstone project is the creation of the memorial. During the centennial of the armistice, we held events in D.C. at the site of the future memorial. At one of these events, Weishaar, and Howard spoke about the evolution of the project and how they got together. Click here to read a transcript from the event.

Remembering Veterans: Erin Fehr

Erin Fehr

On January 11th's edition of the WWI Centennial News Podcast, Episode 105, archivist Erin Fehr of the Sequoyah National Research Center (SNRC) at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, spoke with host Theo Mayer about the new "American Indians in World War I" section of the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission web site. The encyclopedic web site commemorates the service of American Indians in the Great War. Click here to read a transcript of the entire interview.

WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast

Podcast Logo New

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 siteiTunesGoogle Play, PodbeanTuneInStitcher Radio on Demand.  Spotify  listen on Youtube. New - Comment and ask questions via twitter @TheWW1podcast

Boarding for the voyage home.

Episode #107
Highlights: New Nations, New World.

Host: Theo Mayer


  • The News 100 Year Ago in the Official Bulletin - Host | @02:05
  • Tempestuous Voyage Home - Dr. Edward Lengel | @15:55
  • A Seat At The Table: Yugoslavia - Host | @19:25
  • Communist Revolution in Germany - Mike Shuster | @22:40
  • First into German: Sgt. Roy Holtz - Host | @26:40(Courtesy of Robert Laplander)
  • The Next Step for the Sculpture - Sabin Howard | @34:10
  • National History Day WWI Education - Cathy Gorn | @41:45
  • Speaking WWI: Cup ‘O Joe - Host | @49:45
  • Hello Girls Musical Cast Album - Host | @51:35

Literature in WWI This Week

Wwrite Blog Logo

WWrite 2-Year Review
Part 5

The last installment of the WWrite 2-Year Review! Since January 2017, WWrite has published a diversity of writers' voices and stories from past and present. This week, part 5 takes a look at the following categories of posts: The Enemy; Allied Memorials; Native Americans; Colonial Soldiers; New WWI Art, Music, Poetry, and Fiction; Scholarship and Teaching. Read the fascinating ways international writers, scholars, and artists have commemorated the centennial at WWrite this week!

Behind Their Lines

behind their lines

The Extra

The double suicide of American twin sisters Dorothea & Gladys Cromwell occurred Jan 19,1919. Their deaths provoked widespread public debate concerning the mental effects of war work on women volunteers. Read about Gladys Cromwell's poem "The Extra"

Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Coin Display

United States Mint WWI Commemorative Coin and Display

The US Mint stopped selling the World War I Commemorative Coin on December 27, but you can still purchase the limited edition silver dollar in combination with our specially-designed display stand, personalized with information about your WWI ancestor, from the Centennial Official Merchandise store. This package makes a great collectible gift for family members and descendants of those who served in World War I. Personalization can include: rank, full name, enlisted date, deceased date, unit/decorations, battles, cemetery, etc. If you already purchased the Commemorative Coin from the US Mint, you can order just the personalized display. Both the combo set and display alone are available at here. Supplies are limited.  And remember: proceeds from the sale of this item go towards funding the building of the National World War One Memorial in Washington DC.

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

Double Donations Ambulances

Dalton Ranlet

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

Dalton Ranlet

Submitted by: Linda Gagen {niece}

Dalton Ranlet was born around 1900. Dalton Ranlet served in World War 1 with the United States Army . The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1917.

Story of Service

My uncle, Dalton Ranlet, lied about his age to enlist in the 11th Engineers (Railway), which was one of the first regiments to go to France. In November 1917 he died in the Battle of Gouzeaucourt, which was the first time an American unit fought as a unit in World War I. His body was lost in the rubble and not recovered until 1955. He was then buried in the Somme Cemetery, without notifying the family.

My mother was born three years after Dalton’s death and grew up hearing stories of her brother’s service and death. In 2012, I learned that he was buried in France while researching family history. That discovery began a long process of searching for records both in the United States and France to learn more about Dalton.

Over time I met the citizens and officials for Gouzeaucourt, who expressed an interest in creating a memorial to the 11th Engineers. With the help of my friend Leo, we located the 11th Engineer Battalion Association, who gladly funded the construction of a memorial.

Read Dalton Ranlet's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.