Monthly Archives: December 2019

WWI DISPATCH December 2019

A newsletter from the World War One Centennial Commission.

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December 2019

National WWI Memorial Is Under Construction!

Construction Launch 2019

(December 12, 2019) Key leaders joined the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission on the site of the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC to mark the start of construction. (Left to right) National Park Service Acting Director David Vela; Commission Special Advisor Admiral Mike Mullen; Commission Chair Terry Hamby; Commission Special Advisor Senator John Warner; and U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.

Construction Permit received for the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC; first phase work is now underway

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission has received a building permit from the National Park Service (NPS) for the first construction phase of the new National World War I Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC.

Key leaders gathered on the Memorial site on December 12 to mark the start of construction, including Commission Chair Terry Hamby, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, National Park Service Acting Director David Vela, Commission Special Advisors Senator John Warner and Admiral Mike Mullen, and others.

The first phase of construction will be a 360-day project to rebuild the former Pershing Park, and prepare the site for the eventual installation of the Memorial bronze sculpture when it is completed. The building permit was awarded after the Memorial design was approved by the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission earlier in 2019.

Click here to read more about the construction kickoff, and the road ahead to complete the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.

Honor the Doughboys with Year-End Gift

Come Along Wave

It’s been an an incredibly dynamic year for the Doughboys. In late August, sculptor Sabin Howard moves his studio from the Bronx to Englewood, NJ to accommodate the “full size” sculpting of the 58 foot long, 38 character bronze relief sculpture called “A Soldier’s Journey”. The final Memorial design is approved, and first phase construction has begun. It is your continued support that is making all this possible. So we ask you to please include the new World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C. in your tax-deductible year-end giving. Click here to donate today!

Valor Medals project will advance in 2020

valor medal wave

The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, signed on December 20, requires the service secretaries to re-examine the records of African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, Jewish American, and Native American veterans of World War I who earned medals for valor, and decide whether any of them should be upgraded to the nation’s highest military honor. The Valor Medals Review Task Force, a joint project by the World War I Centennial Commission and the George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War at Park University in Parkville, Mo., has identified World War I service records that the service secretaries can use to determine whether they should be reviewed further to be considered for the Medal Of Honor. Click here to read more about this long-sought opportunity to be sure no Doughboy deserving the nation’s highest honor is left overlooked.

Spokane community unites to restore neglected World War I Memorial bridge

Spokane bridge WWI memorial

Spokane, WA Daughters of the American Revolution chapter member Rae Anna Victor was chatting with a local historian about the Argonne Bridge in the Millwood section, noting “how sad it was that the plaques had been taken off the Argonne Bridge because now hardly anyone knew the origins of the name. Both of us agreed that it needed to be rectified.” From this seed sprouted an amazing grass roots project that culminated in a new memorial dedicated on November 11, 2019. Click here to read more about this project “joining the past to the present, and moving on into the future” that has many lessons for other groups looking to rescue and restore local World War I memorials across the nation.

VFW Post 287 marks 100th Anniversary by honoring World War I namesake

Cpl Sahler

Pennsylvania historian Joseph Felice was driving along Main Street in Coatesville, PA earlier this year when he noticed banners lining the sidewalks, placed there by Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 287 in honor of Coatesville area men and women who served their country past and present. One banner in particular grabbed his attention: it read “Wellington G. Sahler, Killed in Action, 1918, Died in the Battle of Argonne Forrest.” Click here to read how Felice’s piqued interest resulted in a new understanding and appreciation of Sahlar, his friend Lance Eck, and the story of how and why VFW Post 287 got its name after World War I.

Greenwood, MS American Legion Post 29 named after three World War I heroes

American Legion Post 29 namesakes

American Legion Post 29 in Greenwood, Mississippi bears the name of three World War I veterans who all sacrificed their lives during the Great War. The three officers (one an aviator, two infantrymen) were killed in action in 1918 during the final month of combat in World War I, but thanks to the support of Greenwood’s American Legion Post 29, the stories of these three heroes will live on in perpetuity. Click here to read more about these three heroes: Lt. Samuel R. Keesler, Jr., Cpt. Henry W. Hamrick, and Lt. Gordon Gillespie.

How I Found Austin & How He Found Me

Austin in the Great War

For Robert Eugene Johnson, the author of Austin in the Great War, it started out as a beguilingly simple question about his father, Austin Johnson: “My family always longed to know what happened to Austin during the Great War. When I retired I resolved to find out.” That resolution led him on a remarkable journey that started with “only the barest facts about my father’s time “over there” and ended up with a book that shed light on both his father’s experience and the history of a half-forgotten component of the American Expeditionary Forces. Click here to read the whole story about the many “goosebumps” encountered in the journey to discover and tell the whole story about Austin in the Great War.

French village of Saint-Parize-le-Châtel commemorates WWI American presence

Hospital at Nevers

The small French village of Saint-Parize-le-Châtel (just south of the city of Nevers—former site of the Service of Supplies of the American Expeditionary Forces in WWI) still commemorates the American presence in their area where the huge Mars-sur-Allier Hospital Camp was located during 1917-1919. Click here to read a message from mayor, the head of the local historical society, and the designer of the historic route around the former U.S. Hospital, which tells of how citizens from the village continue to honor the American men and women who were killed during the First World War.

Doughboy MIA for December 2019

DOughboy MIA Generic image

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

This month Doughboy MIA would like to thank everyone for their contributions throughout 2019. It is through your generous donations that we are able to continue our work, and you will begin seeing more results of this work as 2020 progresses. We have several cases in the works and have made conclusions in several more more, and these will all be featured in coming editions of Doughboy MIA of the Month.

We took on a big job when we launched Doughboy MIA several years ago, and it has been a hard pull getting started, but we have made progress and that was only possible via YOUR donations and the hard work of our volunteer team.

Thanks! And blessings to you and yours this holiday season. 2020 promises to be a big year for us, and that means for you, too. Keep those donations coming and know we are ever grateful. The size doesn’t matter – the feeling behind it does. Together we will continue to try and make a full accounting of our missing Doughboys until a determination has been made for them all and any that might still be found are.

A man is only missing if he is forgotten – and together we’ll keep them from being forgotten.

A Happy New Year to you all.


Rob Laplander and the whole Doughboy MIA team.

Would YOU like to be a part of our mission of discovering what happened to our missing Doughboys from WW1? Of course you would, and you CAN! Simply make a donation to the cause and know you played a part in making as full an accounting as possible of these men. Large or small doesn’t matter – that you cared enough to help does. Visit to make your tax deductible donation to our non-profit project today, and remember:

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Official WWI Centennial Merchandise


World War I Centennial Commemoration Collector’s Bundle $29.95

Collect all commemorative coins and lapel pins in one purchase!

  • Coins: Each piece is die-struck, bronze alloy, with nice gravity (unlike cheaper zinc coins)
  • Enamel inlay provides premium detailing and finish
  • Each coin and pin comes with its own commemorative packaging, adding value and gifting appeal.

This collection includes a WWI Centennial Coin, Centennial Lapel Pin, Bells of Peace Commemorative Coin, Bells of Peace Commemorative Lapel Pin, and U.S. Victory Lapel Pin. Originally sells for $34.35, now only $29.95.

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

Lilly Endowment donates $5 million to WWI Memorial

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission has announced a $5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to the Doughboy Foundation in support of the campaign to build the first-ever National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Lilly Endowment

One of Lilly Endowment’s founders, J.K. Lilly, Jr., served in World War I and rose to the rank of captain in the medical supply service of the American Expeditionary Forces.

Click here to read more about this wonderful donation to the National World War I Memorial.

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Charles Wilhelm Gärtner (Gardner)

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of

Charles Wilhelm Gärtner (Gardner)

Submitted by: Charles R. Gardner {Grandson}

Charles Wilhelm Gärtner born around 1892. Charles Gärtner 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

This is the Story about my grandfather, Charles Wilhelm Gärtner, his participation in WW1 and ends after the War with his marriage to my grandmother Anna K. Wolff. Charles Wilhelm Gärtner, participated in the “The Great War”.

Here is what I’ve discovered about him and that “War”.

This was his birth name and he does not change it until 1919. The World War started in July 28, 1914. The United States declared war on the Axis Powers later, in April 6, 1917. In June 5, 1917, Grandpa was working for the “Automatic” Sprinkler Corporation of America in New York City. They sent him to Atlanta, Georgia where he then lived. His job was “Sprinkler Engineer” and maybe the small factory manager. He worked in the Caudler Building (it was small building according to local historians), Atlanta Branch, in the city (Atlanta Georgia). He lived at the Atlanta YMCA. He was single, 25 years of age, of medium height, medium build, gray eyes, and black hair.

On June 5, 1917, he filled out a Draft Registration Card (#756). A year later (April 27, 1918) he was drafted in Atlanta, Georgia. He told his boss “Good bye” or maybe sent a letter to the New York City Headquarters to inform them and waits for his replacement to come. Once released from his job, bags packed, he walked to the Atlanta Recruiting Station and boards a bus for the 13-14 mile trip to Camp Gordon, named after the Confederate General John Brown Gordon. Camp Gordon, northeast from Atlanta, was the receiving station in this area (Georgia & Alabama) for Army induction. Today it’s the current site of the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport.

Read Charles Wilhelm Gärtner’s entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family’s Story of Service here.

A Survey That Could Win You $100!

A survey from one of our fellow Canadian organizations in the Bay Area that local members should consider completing.

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Happy Boxing Day from Canadian Studies

An item we received yesterday from a fellow Canadian organization in the Bay Area.  We thank the Canadian Studies Program at University of California, Berkeley for featuring the Royal Canadian Legion so prominently.  Our partnership over the past few years has been one that we have cherished.

Happy Boxing Day from Canadian Studies
Greetings and happy holidays! On behalf of the Canadian Studies Program at UC Berkeley, we are sending highlights from our 2019 activities, and asking you to join us in supporting the Program as the year comes to a close.
This fall, Canadian Studies hosted an exciting series of events related to the 2019 Canadian Federal Election. We kicked things off in October, hosting an election Debate Party amid the Halloween decorations. After the event, UC Berkeley student Pascal García-Monpetit was interviewed live from Ottawa by Canadian Public Affairs Channel (CPAC). The next day, renowned University of British Columbia professor Richard Johnston gave a Colloquium presentation titled “Understanding the Canadian Federal Election Campaign.”
Then, on Election Night, Canadian Studies hosted an Election Results Watch Party on campus, featuring a delicious tray of Montreal Smoked Meat. Over 60 guests attended, including Berkeley students, local Canadian expats, and wayward Canadian travelers who found us on Google. The next day, our election marathon came to a thoughtful close with Dr. Eric Guntermann’s Colloquium talk offering a “Post-Mortem” of election results.
The Columbia River Treaty, which the U.S. and Canada are renegotiating, was a highlight of our 2019 research efforts. Last Spring, Canadian Studies Affiliated Professor G. Mathias “Matt” Kondolf organized a workshop on Adaptive Management and the Future of the Columbia River Treaty. Two dozen scientists, legal experts, and First Nations leaders assembled in Berkeley to discuss smarter biological management strategies of this international river, and composed a resolution urging the binational negotiating team to incorporate these practices into a modernized Treaty. In December, UC Berkeley Hildebrand Fellow Tyler Nodine delivered a Colloquium talk summarizing the group’s work on this important topic.
The 3rd Annual Canadian Family Thanksgiving was co-hosted at UC-Berkeley’s Alumni House by Canadian Studies and the Digital Mouse Lounge. Over 100 guests enjoyed a night of Canadian food, entertainment, and community. The event also kicked off the Royal Canadian Legion US Zone Branch 25 (SF Bay Area)’s 2019 Poppy Campaign in support of veterans. Canadian Studies proudly served as an official Poppy Distribution Point through Remembrance Day.
Canadian Studies also supported the research of four outstanding UC Berkeley Graduate Students this year through our Edward Hildebrand Fellowship, which supports graduate students traveling to Canada to conduct original research on Canadian topics. Current Hildebrand Fellow Julie Gorecki is researching the worldwide links between gender and climate change, with a specific focus on Indigenous women in Canada. Recent Hildebrand Fellows are now teaching at Yale and the University of the Fraser Valley, supporting the next generation of students.
Since 1982, the Canadian Studies Program at UC Berkeley has played a vital role in advancing knowledge of Canada, while serving as a hub for the Canadian community in Northern California and intellectual thought on Canada-U.S. affairs. Looking ahead to 2020, our Faculty leadership and Advisory Board have set a goal of further advancing new Canadianist research. To that end, we are putting out a special call for donations to support a U.S.-Canada postdoc with expertise in migration. This will mark the first time that Canadian Studies will host a postdoc, and we are confident that this effort will raise the profile of Canadian research at Berkeley, and complement other Canadian Studies programs like our Hildebrand and Sproul fellowships. We are excited to support this new initiative, and are ourselves pledging 25% more than last year’s giving to support Canadian Studies in attaining this goal. We rely on donations for over 90% of our budget, and your donations are very likely tax deductible.*
We wish you a happy holiday season, and remain grateful for your ongoing support.
David Stewart & Pavan Dhillon
Fundraising Co-Chairs
*UC Berkeley is a Revenue Canada Prescribed University and an Internal Revenue Service 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so contributions made to Canadian Studies max be tax-deductible on American and Canadian federal income taxes (consult your tax professional).
Canadian Studies Program
213 Moses Hall #2308 WEBSITE | EMAIL
Canadian Studies Program | Univ. of California, Berkeley, 213 Moses Hall #2308, Berkeley, CA 94720


Wreaths Across America: Mission Matters – December 2019

The monthly newsletter from the Wreaths Across America organization.

Click to view this email online.

On behalf of the Wreaths Across America organization and its extended family of volunteers and supporters across the country, we want to thank YOU for your support of the Mission to Remember the fallen, Honor those that serve and their families and Teach the next generation the value of freedom.

With each of the 2.2 million sponsored veterans’ wreaths placed on Dec. 14 by nearly 3 million volunteers, an American hero’s name was spoken out loud so they would not be forgotten. There was also an opportunity to teach, not just the children, but the communities as a whole, about their local history and heritage.

As we head into this holiday season, may we all take the time to remember and thank those who served and sacrificed protecting our freedoms, as well as those currently serving, so that we can celebrate as we wish in the land of the free because of the brave.

Wishing you all a safe, and joyous holiday season!

Wayne Hanson, Chairman of the Board
& Karen Worcester, Executive Director
Wreaths Across America

National Wreaths Across America Day 2019
To view or submit photos from this year’s National Wreaths Across America Day, please follow the link below!
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Advancing the mission overseas – Luxembourg and the Netherlands!

2019 also saw the continued expansion of the mission overseas with the placement of more than 13,000 veterans’ wreaths on the headstones of our WWII heroes laid to rest at Luxembourg American Cemetery and Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial. These locations were fitting given the recent 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge as most of those resting in the two cemeteries were casualties of this battle.

We are proud to continue to expand this mission until one day, all those who served and sacrificed for our freedoms are honored.

It’s never too early or too late to give the gift of remembrance. Sponsor a $15 veteran’s wreath today as a gift for the holidays and ensure an American hero is honored next December.

Find a Location near you or Local Fundraising Group to support by visiting

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Monthly Features

Everyone Plays A Part
The 10 balsam bouquets comprising each veteran’s wreath are symbolic of so much to us at Wreaths Across America. Represented here by hands, they demonstrate the many ways individuals and communities come together to Remember, Honor and Teach.

Here is a small sampling of some amazing stories captured over the last couple of weeks. Thank you to all who played a part, on Dec. 14, and all year long. #PlayAPart2019.

Wreaths Across America 2019 – Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery

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Will’s Wreaths: Plainfield boy on mission to honor each grave at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery

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Many showed up to remember Vietnam veteran who died with no known living family member

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Wreaths Across America – Florida National Cemetery – Bushnell, FL

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WMAR-2 News joins Wreaths across America at Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery

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Arlington National Cemetery – Wreaths Across America 2019

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