WWI DISPATCH May, 2020

A newsletter from the World War I Centennial Commission.


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May 2020

WUAS News 9 report 05142020

Reporter John Henry of WUSA News 9 Television in Washington, DC presented an excellent report on May 14 concerning the status of ongoing construction progress at the new National World War I Memorial, and the planned but postponed dedication of the new Eisenhower Memorial. Click the image to read his story and watch the video.

Memorial Virtual Explorer app gets new look, new contents, public beta status

The National World War I Memorial Explorer augmented reality (AR) app, with great input from the initial beta testers, has been updated with expanded content, more functionality, and a new lead image and updated logo.

App update photo 05272020

The app has now expanded to public beta, and we’re able to accommodate many more testers with a simplified request process.

More content is in production including Tanks, Military Battles, The life and family of General John J. Pershing, Artillery, a 360° Photosphere travel experience at the US Cemetery in Flanders, and a second exploration in the style of the “Sinking of the Lusitania” called “War in the Skies”.

We will be updating the existing beta release based on tester feedback in the next couple of weeks.  If you haven’t volunteered to join our beta tester army, click here to sign up now!


National World War I Museum and Memorial Sets June Reopen Dates

Nat WWI Museum square

The National WWI Museum and Memorial will reopen to its members on Monday, June 1 and to the general public on Tuesday, June 2. “We have monitored the COVID-19 situation closely during the past few months and, in accordance with guidance from public health officials at the local, state and federal levels, we are ready to reopen America’s official WWI Museum and Memorial,” said Dr. Matthew Naylor, National WWI Museum and Memorial President and CEO. “We’ve spent considerable time developing a comprehensive reopening plan that allows for people to visit one of the world’s great museums and memorials in a safe and welcoming environment.” Click here to find out more about the Museum’s plans and protective protocols to get visitors into the Kansas City facility again next week.


“To keep the memory of her father’s generation alive.”

Samuel Hart age 14

Samuel W. Hart was only 14 years old when the United States of America entered the First World War on April 6, 1917.  Hart  “borrowed a pair of long pants from a friend of mine and proceeded to the Navy recruiting station and told them I was 16. I was sworn in on April 10th.” This was just the beginning of a remarkable story of service in two World Wars that included being aboard the Navy troop ship USS President Lincoln when she was sunk by a German U-Boat in WWI, the aftermath of which earned one Navy officer the Medal of Honor.  A century later, his daughter Ava has stepped forward to remind Americans of this amazing story, and the patriotic service of her father and his older (there were none younger!) fellow Americans who stepped forward to answer the nation’s call to war in 1917. Click here to read Samuel’s incredible story, and his daughter’s reminder that we should remember his service, and that of his fellow World War I vets, a century later.


In May of 1918, William Henry Johnson became “the One-Man Army” in WWI

WIlliam Henry Johnson mug

On May 15, 1918, William Henry Johnson fought off scores of Germans single-handedly in the Forest of Argonne in France, a performance that earned him praise from former President Theodore Roosevelt ,who eventually called him one of the “five bravest Americans” to serve in World War I. But Johnson, an African American, did not receive the Medal of Honor from his nation until a century after his extraordinary heroism. Click here to read more about Johnson’s courageous service and the long effort to get him the recognition he deserved.

Writing in the New York Post on Memorial Day, Rich Lowry discusses Johnson’s heroism in the context of  how African American soldiers, from the Revolutionary War to the 20th Century, “were always fighting a two-front war — against the enemy in battle and against prejudice at home.” Click here to read Lowery’s entire timely Memorial Day reminder of this “long African American military tradition of exceptional devotion.”


Who are these people on these plaques?

Plaque

Connecticut USAF veteran Jeff DeWitt undertook a personal project in 2019 to find and photograph the plaques on local war memorials that listed only the names those who died during wartime service.  He found that “What struck me most about it all was how little I knew about each of those people. It was then that I decided to tell their stories.” On the Norwalk WWI Memorial, “One plaque has only the names of those who died in service 1917 to 1919. I recognized three people on that plaque who are namesakes of our VFW and American Legion posts in town. The rest were a complete mystery to me.” Click here to read how DeWitt went about solving those 100 year-old mysteries, and bringing forgotten stories of service to light again.


Two pandemics separated by a century

Flu Cases

“The current pandemic we are living in provides us a window into an earlier time 102 years ago,” writes Paul LaRue of the Ohio WWI Centennial Committee.. “On Memorial Day of 1918 the United States was in the midst of the Spanish Influenza Pandemic.” Click here to read Paul’s article about the Fayette County, OH service members lost to the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.

Writing in the Washington Examiner newspaper, J. Mark Powell notes that “a deadly combination of war and pandemic” made October 1918 the deadliest month in our nation’s history. Click here to read the entire story about how “More U.S. citizens died then than ever passed away during any 30-day stretch before or since.”

As today, in cities across the nation, dealing with the flu pandemic took center stage a century ago.  The WTTW television station recently looked into the question of “How Did Chicago Deal With 1918 Spanish Flu?”  The Hudson Heritage Association in Ohio was recently “Looking back at ‘displays of humanity’ in Hudson, OH” during the Spanish Flu Pandemic. The Oregon Historical Society asks “From Whence Did it Come and to Where Did it Go?: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic in Oregon.”  The Knoxville History Project explores “Knoxville & The Spanish Flu: How 1918 was the same–and very different.”  And the Phillips Academy in Andover, MA reflects on “Lives lost and the country at a standstill: A look back back at the 1918-1919 Spanish Influenza and its impact on Phillips and Abbot academies.


The 1918 Flu Pandemic Killed Millions. Why Is Its Cultural Memory So Faint?

Flu nurse

After writing in 1918 to question why “the ‘forgotten’ 1918–19 flu pandemic had so little effect on culture, policy, and public memory in the decades after killing between 50 million and 100 million people,” author Rebecca Onion notes that in the time of SARS-CoV-2 “I find this historical phenomenon even harder to understand..” But, says Onion, perhaps literary scholar Elizabeth Outka has part of the answer. Click here to read Outka’s analysis of how “the pandemic wasn’t ‘forgotten’—it just went underground” and that the work of many notable authors of the period “was deeply affected by the flu in ways that aren’t so immediately obvious.”


Quarantine leads Virginia military expert to chaplain’s WWI pandemic efforts

Regis Barrett, OSB, Chaplain, U.S. Army

All he wanted was a little COVID-19 distraction, but the century-old photo of a military chaplain took an Albemarle County man on a 102-year time trip to a different state during a different deadly pandemic. In the time of COVID-19, with everyone warned to stay home as much as possible, military historian Art Beltrone found himself with a lot of time and home projects on his hands. He began to see the portrait of the chaplain in a different light.  Click here to read more about his research, and how “It turned out that he played into the 1918 pandemic in a big way.”


PA World War I Statue To Be Restored

Fallsington ststue

A statue of a World War I infantryman in Falls Township, PA’s Fallsington section will be restored. The limestone Doughboy statue that sits atop a small memorial at the intersection of Yardley Avenue, New Falls Road, Main Street, and West Tyburn Road has become weathered and damaged over the years. Acid rain and pollution have taken their toll on the statue erected to recognize the veterans and casualties of World War I. Click here to read more about the community restoration project for this century-old monument.


Battleship that survived both World Wars and atomic blasts is rediscovered

USS Nevada

The wreck of the World War I U.S. Navy battleship USS Nevada has been located 75 miles off the coast of Hawaii at a depth of nearly three miles. It’s a significant discovery, as the battleship represents one of the most storied vessels in U.S. history, having survived World War I, the attack on Pearl Harbor and a kamikaze suicide attack during World War II, and atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. USS Nevada was deliberately sunk by the U.S. Navy in 1948, but the vessel’s precise resting place was unknown, until now. Click here to read more about the rediscovery of a ship built over 100 years ago that continued to affect shipbuilding design for half a century later.


Doughboy MIA for May 2020

DOughboy MIA Generic image

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

World War One.

It was the first war where America made the promise: ‘Everyone comes home – nobody gets forgotten.’

And in the years following the war, America did her best to keep that promise to the best of her ability.

One hundred years later, Doughboy MIA has 4,452 reasons to continue that work.

Join us on a webinar Friday, May 29, and learn about The Who, The Where, and The Ways and Means behind what it is we do.

“A Man is Only Missing if He is Forgotten” is the slogan of Doughboy MIA, and after this webinar you’ll understand the efforts to ensure that all the MIA are properly remembered, and how you can be a part of the effort.

Click to Register for the Webinar

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 www.ww1cc.org/mia 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

Coin set

2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar Set

No longer available from the U.S. Mint!

These Official World War I Centennial Silver Dollar Sets are still available here on the WWI Centennial Commission’s online gift shop.

NOTE: Each set comes with 2 separate coins. Each set will accompany the Official Doughboy Design alongside your choice of Military Branch.

“The United Mint certifies that this coin is a genuine 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar, minted and issued in accordance with legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President on December 16, 2014, as Public Law 113-212. This coin was minted by the Department of the Treasury, United States Mint, to commemorate the centennial of America’s involvement in World War I. This coin is legal tender of the United States.”

Proceeds from the sale of this item will help build the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.

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


Memorial Camera

You can keep track of progress at the new National World War I Memorial through construction site time lapse video, or a live video feed from the site. Click here to take a look, and also find out how you can help finish this national tribute to the 4.7 million Americans who served, and the 116,516 who did not come home from World War I.


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Walter Wave Miguel

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

Walter Wave Miguel

Submitted by: Laurie Button {I have been researching him for 30 years – it’s a long but wonderful story.}

Walter Wave Miguel born around 1887. Walter Miguel served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service

Walter Wave Miguel (3802505) was born to Henry and Nellie Miguel in Arnolds Park, Iowa on Oct. 5, 1887. He was drafted and called into service July 22, 1918.

Wave received his training at Camp Pike near Little Rock, Arkansas before sailing for France on the Katoomba from the Port of New York Sept. 1, 1918. He was originally assigned to Company H of the 330th Infantry, but was transferred to the 5th Division’s 11th Infantry, Company L in mid-to-late October 1918.

Read Walter Wave Miguel’s entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family’s Story of Service here.


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