WWI DISPATCH December 18, 2018

Another item from the World War One Centennial Commission.


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December 18, 2018

Personalized Display

Limited Edition Coin Display will honor
your relative’s World War I military service

You have only nine days left to purchase the limited edition US Mint World War I Commemorative Coin from the U.S. Mint. You can also buy the coin in combination with our specially-designed display stand, personalized with information about your WWI ancestor. This will make a wonderful collectible Christmas 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 hereSupplies are limited. Proceeds from the sale of the coin and display stand go towards funding the building of the National World War One Memorial in Washington DC.


“They Shall Not Grow Old” Special U.S. National Archives video posted on YouTube

NARA logo

The premiere screening of the Peter Jackson WWI film “They Shall Not Grow Old” in the United States took place last week at the U.S. National Archives in Washington, DC, on Monday, Dec. 10th. The screening was hosted by the British Council, the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities. As part of the event, a remarkable after-screening panel-discussion took place. That panel discussion has been made available by the U.S. National Archives. Click here to read more, and to watch the video of the insightful panel discussion.


“All they would ask is that we should never forget what they gave.”

Peter Stassen

You may remember meeting Peter Stassen in another article earlier this year.  SGT MAJ Peter Stassen is a retired member of the Belgian Army, who lives near the American Cemetery in Flanders Field. Some time ago, he and his family volunteered to adopt the grave of one of the soldiers buried there, SGT Willis Burnworth, from Bremen, Ohio. That simple act of kindness has turned into an incredible adventure for SGT MAJ Stassen and his family. They have done deep research into unit histories, genealogy, they have looked into the stories of people who served and died with SGT Burnworth. They have recruited others to help with the volunteer program, etc. A great culmination of their effort came this autumn, when SGT MAJ Stassen and his wife traveled to the United States to participate in commemoration events for SGT Burnworth in his hometown. We had the opportunity to meet with SGT MAJ Stassen at the Commission office during his travel, and to talk to him about this remarkable journey.


Muskogee, Oklahoma Doughboy statue is restored, rededicated for WWI Centennial

Muskogee, OK Doughboy statue

A Doughboy statue in Muskogee, Oklahoma originally brought to memorialize the service of the Five Civilized Tribes during World War I has been restored and re-dedicated. Located at the Montgomery VA Medical Center, the restoration included adding a small monument extending that memorialization to all veterans who have served in all wars. The restoration of the Memorial was welcomed by area residents and veterans, who gathered at the re-dedication ceremony for the statue. “We have to make sure our children and their children understand what this statue means,” said State Representative Chuck Hoskins at the ceremony.  Click here to read more about the restoration process for the sculpture, and the support of local individuals and organizations for the project.


“The monument is a lasting cultural testament to the early pioneers of military aviation”

WWI Aviation Memorial

After two years of intensive effort, the League of World War I Aviation Historians dedicated a monument to World War I Airmen at the Memorial Park of the National Museum of the United States Air Force (NMUSAF) near Dayton, Ohio on 21 September 2018. The League initiated the project in 2016 after noting there was no monument at the Park to the U.S. Airmen who served at the Front during the Great War. Robert Kasprzak of the League has written a thoughtful retrospective of the two-year project, the challenges met and overcome, and the dedication ceremony which brought the League’s effort to fruition.


“I’m very proud of what we produced.”

Mike Hanlon

Historian Mike Hanlon has been a WW1CC volunteer since the Commission’s earliest days. He has been a frequent contributor to the weekly Sync Call and Podcast, and social media postings. A noted Battlefield Tour Guide, Mike led dozens of tour groups and official staff rides through the major sites in France, Belgium, Italy, and Germany during the Centennial period. He is also a formidable publisher, with a number of web sites and magazines focused on World War I. Mike has been interviewed previously in these pages (see here and here). Now, with the Centennial of the Armistice passed, he takes a look back the five-year World War I Centennial commemorative period, and reflects on the activities therein. Click here to read Mike’s thoughtful retrospective on the Centennial Commemoration.


The Khaki Road of Yesterday: Lessons
from my grandfather’s World War I book

John B Kane

Gus Zimmerman’s grandfather, John B. Kane, an architect who lived in the Philadelphia area, died when Gus was twelve years old, having never discussed his time in the service during WW1 with Gus or his mother, Sashie. But when Sashie was an adult, she discovered a book he wrote to her when she was ten years old. The “little story” was typed on fragile onion skin paper, written as though he were telling his young daughter stories about his military service. Now Gus, his wife LaWanda, and Sashie have brought the faded typed text into the twenty-first century in a book titled The Khaki Road of Yesterday. Click here to read more about the unexpected volume, and the lessons John learned in WWI that still resonate today.


Jackson poster ad

Only one date left in December to see
this remarkable World War I film!

Fathom Events has partnered with Warner Bros. Pictures to bring Academy Award® winner Peter Jackson’s poignant WWI documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” to select cinemas on December 17 and December 27 only.

The film is presented in 2D and RealD 3D. The acclaimed documentary is an extraordinary look at the soldiers and events of the Great War, using film footage captured at the time, now presented as the world has never seen. By utilizing state-of-the-art restoration, colorization and 3D technologies, and pulling from 600 hours of BBC archival interviews, Jackson puts forth an intensely gripping, immersive and authentic experience through the eyes and voices of the British soldiers who lived it.  For tickets, visit FathomEvents.com


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

peace conference

Episode #101
Highlights: The Aftermath Part II

Part II of a special 2-part series examining the immediate aftermath of the Armistice signing.

Preview of coming attractions – Host | @00:35

Gold Star Mothers – Candy Martin  | @02:45

American Battle Monuments Commission – Mike Knapp | @10:35

Three Key impacts of WWI – Sir Hew Strachan | @18:00

The Cost of a Seat at the Table – Mike Shuster | @24:55

The effect of WWI on tUS policy – Professor Michael Carew | @28:55


Literature in WWI This Week

Wwrite Blog Logo

1918. The Peace Christmas.

By Connie Ruzich

During the last two years of the WWI Centennial, Connie Ruzich and her blog Behind Their Lines, which shares lesser-known poetry of the First World War, have generously teamed up with WWrite with timely posts.

Ruzich excels at drawing the past and present together by linking current events with pivotal moments from 1914-1918. Her archival work into the lost poetic voices of WWI has served as an incredible resource, providing discussion and research on international lost voices, poems written by those on the home front, and poetry that has been neglected in modern anthologies. In 2020, Ruzich will go from digital to print as she publishes her anthology, International Poetry of World War I: An Anthology of Lost Voices, with Bloomsbury Academic Press.

This week, we have come together once more and WWrite has the pleasure of featuring her important post on a VAD nurse on duty in France, who writes of “Christmas, 1918”, the “Peace Christmas”Read this powerful post that discusses the soldiers remaining on overseas duty and the devastated countryside “feeling for her frozen heart.”


Doughboy MIA for week of Dec. 17

Samuel Roach

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Monday’s MIA this week is Private Samuel Roach. Born February 12th, 1886, in Bradford, Ohio, Private Roach was an employee of the E.C. Atkins Saw Works in Indianapolis when he enlisted in the U.S. Army on October 16th, 1917. Sent to Ft. Thomas, Kentucky for muster, he took his training at Washington D.C., where he was assigned to Company D, 6th Engineer Regiment, 3rd Division. He left for overseas on December 6th, 1917, and was killed in action on March 29th, 1918 near Villers Bretonneux. He is memorialized on the Walls of the Missing at the Somme American Cemetery, Bony, France. Interestingly, he was initially reported to the state of Indiana as having been returned and interred at Arlington national Cemetery.

Would you like to help us delve further into what happened to Samuel Roach? Why not donate ‘Ten For Them’ to Doughboy MIAand 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

Navy ¼ Zipper Fleece Sweatshirt

Navy Blue ¼ Zipper Fleece Sweatshirt

Inspired by the iconic image of a U.S. Doughboy, you can wear your American pride with this Made in the USA ¼ zipper fleece sweatshirt. An informal term for a member of the U.S. Army or Marine Corps, “doughboys” especially used to refer to the American Expeditionary Forces in World War One. Largely comprised of young men who had dropped out of school to join the army, this poignant lone silhouette of a soldier in trench warfare serves as a reminder of those who sacrificed so much one century ago.

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 Small and Medium. Proceeds from the sale of this item will help to fund the building of the national World War One Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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


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George Ormond, Sr.

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

George Ormond, Sr.

Submitted by: Valerie Ormond {granddaughter}

George Ormond Sr. was born around 1899. George Ormond served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service

Lessons from a Humble Warrior

by Valerie Ormond

George Ormond’s pale blue eyes watered until the day he died. But he never complained about the Great War. Word was that mustard gas got him, but in those days, people didn’t talk much about injuries, follow-on treatment, or post-traumatic stress. My grandfather died when I was 21, about the same age he was when returning from the war. I wish I’d had adult conversations with him about his experiences, but it’s obviously too late. He likely didn’t realize how interested people might be in a blue-collar kid from Brooklyn’s renditions of his encounters on the front lines.

One of my earliest memories of my grandfather taught me a valuable lesson. I was five-years-old, in my front yard, and he watched me kill a bug.

“Why did you do that?” he asked.

“Because it was going to bite me,” I answered.

“But it wasn’t bothering you.”

And I realized he was right. I felt so ashamed, but I learned from his short training session. This war-hardened man taught me in a few sentences to be sensitive to each life.

Read George Ormond, Sr.’s entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family’s Story of Service here.


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