WWI DISPATCH November 20, 2018

A newsletter from the World War One Centennial Commission

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November 20, 2018

Service at Washington National Cathedral on November 11 honors Americans’ service, sacrifices in World War I

WNC service November 11

It was the day of commemoration that we had all looked forward to — the Centennial of the Armistice. People filled Washington National Cathedral on Sunday 11 November, to honor Americans’ sacrifices in World War I. In a sacred service that recalled the thousands of lives lost and the joy that followed news of the armistice, members of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission and other officials paid tribute to a generation largely forgotten in the wake of later conflicts. At 11 a.m. – exactly 100 years after hostilities ceased, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month — the crowd fell silent and the cathedral’s bourdon bell tolled 21 times. Click here to read more about the sacred service, and other Commission activities in Washington, DC on November 11.

Bells of Peace Ring Across the United States on November 11, 2018

Bells of Peace at NWWIM&M

From Washington, DC, to Honolulu, HI, and everywhere in between, plus U.S. military facilities worldwide, and aboard ships at sea, Bells of Peace tolled on Sunday, November 11, in solemn remembrance of the nation’s sacrifices in World War I, and in honor of all veterans. Participating organizations and individuals numbered in the tens of thousands. Over 23,000 people downloaded the Bells of Peace Smartphone App. Among those who tolled bells were veterans’ organizations, houses of worship, veterans’ cemeteries, patriotic and civic associations, universities, national and state parks, museums, senior living homes, and even restaurants. The World War I Centennial Commission received proclamations from the states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia in support of Bells of Peace. Nationwide, 120 cities, counties, and towns also issued proclamations. Click here to read more about how Bells of Peace tolled across the nation and around the world.

NFL teams honor World War I veterans


Sunday, 11 November, was a day of remembrance around the world, for those who served and were lost during World War I. Among those who helped to mark the occasion were various teams from the National Football League. You see, Sunday 11 November was also NFL Gameday — which served as a great public platform to tell the story of our veterans. In Chicago, the Bears football team had special reason to mark the day, as the team’s original founder and owner, George Halas (left), served in the Navy during World War I. Click here to read more about how the Bears and other NFL teams helped mark the centennial of the Armistice in stadiums across the nation.

Doughboys remembered, saluted in 2018 New York City Veterans Day Parade

Doughboy color guard NYC parade 11112018

The East Coast Doughboys and the Long Island Living History Association were out in force November 11 to participate in the 2018 NYC Veterans Day Parade. The parade, produced every year by the United War Veterans Council, took on an important World War I theme, as it fell on the day of the Armistice Centennial. Some 110 living history reenactors mustered for the parade — to include people portraying Americans and Allies, soldiers, generals, nurses, and even WWI-era civilians. They brought with them a variety of gear, to include cars, trucks, and bicycles. Click here to read more about Doughboys on parade in NYC, and see spectacular photos of the participants.

A special Armistice tribute in New London, WI for a missing Doughboy

Laplander with McGrath plaque

Robert Laplander, Founder and Director of the Doughboy MIA project of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission, and author of Finding the Lost Battalion, was an honored guest of the family of MIA Doughboy Eugene Michael McGrath on November 11 in Wisconsin, to help unveil a plaque honoring the soldier at his place of birth.  Laplander’s 15 years of research to determine McGrath’s fate was the genesis of the Doughboy MIA effort, but his efforts had a powerful effect on McGrath’s family as well. Click here to read more about how the search for a missing Doughboy helped a family find itself again.

100 years after his death, family of Irish immigrant World War I soldier finally receives his Purple Heart

Pvt. Michael Walsh

U.S. Army Pvt. Michael Walsh’s family had waited over 100 years for this moment: the opportunity to honor their fallen hero. Walsh, an immigrant from Ireland, served with the American Expeditionary Forces in France through some of the bloodiest fighting of World War I. He would be one of the last men in his company killed during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in the fall of 1918 in which more than 26,000 Americans died. After Walsh’s death, his family was never told details about what happened to him during the war, and they were never given the medals that Walsh so rightfully earned. Thanks to the World War I Centennial Commission’s partner Purple Hearts Reunited, Walsh’s nieces and nephews — some now third generation — received his Purple Heart award in Glasnevin cemetery in Dublin last week.  Click here to read more about the long-delayed delivery of the medal to Walsh’s family, another successful chapter in the mission of Purple Hearts Reunited.

100 years ago – Breaking News of the ‘False Armistice’ rocks America

False Armistice

The ‘real’ Armistice agreement with Germany, signed on Monday 11 November 1918, finally ended the First World War with a cease-fire starting at 11 o’clock that morning. It was the last of the September-November 1918 armistices between the belligerents, and was celebrated with enormous joy and relief in the Allied countries. But four days earlier, on Thursday 7 November, false news of an armistice agreement had provoked similar rejoicing by millions of people across the world. Celebrated in France, Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, and probably elsewhere, this was the so-called False Armistice. Click here to read more about how misunderstanding created premature relief for warring nations. And see the Podcast article below for more information on the False Armistice.

From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

100 Years Ago: Run-Up To The Armistice 

False Armistice reaction NYC

From November 11th’s WW1 Centennial News Podcast, Episode 97: Theo Mayer takes us through the dramatic events of the week leading up to November 11th, 1918. With her allies already out of the war, Germany’s government begins to break down. Negotiations between the Allies and Germany continue for several days. Finally, on the 11th, the War That Changed the World ceases and the Allied nations celebrate. Click here to read a complete transcript of this podcast.

The Armistice 

Daily Missourian close clip

Few documents in history can match the significance of the Armistice, the agreement that officially ended the Great War on Allied terms. Clearly, the Armistice represented a massive blow to German prestige, and together with the Treaty of Versailles, exacted a heavy punishment on a broken nation. Sadly, the peace that began with the signing of the Armistice would be shattered just two decades later. Click here to hear the entire Armistice, as read by host Theo Mayer in Episode 97 of the World War 1 Centennial News Podcast:

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

Sacred Service Special Image

Episode #98
Sacred Service

This special episode brings you the inspiring sound of World War I Armistice Day Sacred Service, a multi-denominational service honoring the Centennial of the WWI Armistice, from the WWI Centennial Commission in partnership with Washington National Cathedral.

Download the Sacred Service program (a keepsake in its own right) at this link.

Literature in WWI This Week

Wwrite Blog Logo

A Story of Regeneration – Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River”

According to writer Brandon Caro, Ernest Hemingway’s “Two Big-Hearted River,” tells the tale of WWI soldier who comes home and seeks to regenerate his soul after the prolonged trauma of combat through the story of a fishing trip.

In this week’s WWrite post, Caro, who is the author of the novel,Old Silk Road, and has published in The New York Times, The Daily Beast, and  Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art,  talks about the ways this story resonates with his own experience as a veteran of Afghanistan. 

Read Brandon Caro’s compelling post,  “A Story of Regeneration – Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River” at WWrite this week!

Behind Their Lines

behind their lines

Remembrance Day, 1921

Across time and national boundaries, veterans have often returned from war only to face economic hardships that seem to minimize their sacrifices.  “Remembrance Day, 1921” poignantly gives voice to dead soldiers who sympathize with their comrades who have survived war.  .

Doughboy MIA for week of Nov. 19

Private Lorton Register

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Monday’s MIA this week is Private Lorton Register. Born in Gilmer County, Georgia, Lorton Webster Register entered the Regular Army at Ft. Thomas, Kentucky, on April 15th, 1917. Attached to the 18th Infantry/1st Division, he was among the first troops to set foot in France. He was killed in action on the night of March 1st, 1918, while at a listening post ahead of the lines. Nothing else is currently known about this case.

Would you like to help us solve Private Register’s case? Can you spare ten dollars? Then why not give ‘Ten For Them’ to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.

Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Lest We Forget Book Cover

“Lest We Forget: The Great War” is brand new way for you to help build America’s WWI Memorial, in Washington DC. At the same time, you get to enjoy a very special, colorful, inspiring and lasting souvenir of the centennial!

The book features nearly 350 high-quality images, an introduction by Sir Hew Strachan and text by historian Michael W. Robbins. The project is dedicated to the Centennial and produced by The Pritzker Military Museum and Library along with the WW1 Centennial Commission.

Importantly, when you get this visual remembrance of the “War that Changed The World”  – a full ½ of the proceeds go to building the Memorial!

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

Coin Display

You can now purchase the limited edition US Mint World War I Commemorative Coin, in combination with our specially-designed display stand, personalized with information about your WWI ancestor. This will make 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 have 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 hereSupplies are limited. Proceeds from the sale of this item go towards funding the building of the National World War One Memorial in Washington DC.

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John August Kiecker

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

John August Kiecker

Submitted by: Janet L. Rajala {Grand Niece}

John August Kiecker born around 1890. John Kiecker 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

John August Kiecker served as a corporal in the American Expeditionary Force of the U.S. Army under General John J. Pershing. Although I have few records of his service, the following is an excerpt from a letter he wrote to his nephew, John Lietzau, (my uncle) on April 20, 1919 from Quernignyrot, France.

“Well, John, I am still in France but soon will leave for Germany where we’ll enter the occupation troops and therefore have to hold our end down until everything is settled. The first peace treaty is supposed to be signed by the 25th. Inst. probably the soldiers will be lessened according to peace negotiations. Just think today it is Easter sunday and no eggs for today. Eggs, milk and sweet deserts you don’t get in the army. Yesterday we had a beautiful day, sunshine all day, mind you. This occurs not often in France. I must tell you that I am teaching school here in the army and therefore am not drilling at present. Four boys from our company got a discharge from the Army and now be home or on their way home.”

Read John August Kiecker’s entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family’s Story of Service here.

This email was sent on behalf of: World War One Centennial Commission · 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW #123 · Washington, DC 20004


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