Category Archives: World War One Centennial Commission

WWI DISPATCH December 2020

A newsletter from the World War One Centennial Commission.


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December 2020

Horses and Airplanes

French cavalry with an aircraft overhead, 1916. World War I was a time of incredible technological innovation and so is its remembrance in the 21st Century.

Technology & WWI: Then and Now

“’The soldiers rode into World War I on horseback and rode out in tanks and airplanes,’ is a popular quote about WWI. ‘The War that Changed the World’ was a driving force for incredible technology advancement and innovation. So it is only fitting that WWI’s remembrance should also be imbued with innovation,” writes Theo Mayer, Chief Technologist of the United States World War One Centennial Commission and The Doughboy Foundation. Click here to take a look at the 21st century technologies now being used for the remembrance and commemoration of WWI, including Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, podcasting, streaming, photogrammetry, 3D printing, and more.


Support the Doughboy Foundation
this giving season!

Doughboy Foundation figure

As you consider making donations this holiday season, we hope you will include the Doughboy Foundation in your year-end giving plans.

To give online, please visit the Doughboy Foundation web site here.

Checks may be made out to the Doughboy Foundation and mailed to:

The Doughboy Foundation
PO Box 17586
Arlington, VA 22216

Online gifts must be made by December 31st at 11:59pm EST and checks must be dated December 31 to receive 2020 tax credit.

With your support, we look forward to launching new initiatives in this next phase of the commemoration of and education about WWI in the new year.


Pershing’s Paths of Glory comes to life

Pershing's Paths of Glory poster

Joe Hartnett and Dayle Hartnett, Ph.D.of the Pacific Film Foundation recount the inspiration and evolution of the new film Pershing’s Paths of Glory, now available on DVD via Amazon.com, and to be available streaming on Amazon in 2021. The film is intended to help people understand the achievements of Pershing and his role in the defeat of the Central Powers in WWI. Click here to read all about how the movie came to be made, the process of filming on two continents, and the continuing importance of Pershing’s influence and legacy in the 21st century.


“Here is poetry’s abundance in the face of horror”

nternational Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology of Lost Voices

Connie Ruzich received a Fulbright Scholar award to live in England and research the ways in which poetry was being used in commemorations of the First World War. She collected “lost poems” from WWI and shared them in the Behind Their Lines blog, officially endorsed by the US World War I Centennial Commission. After six years, 250 posted poems, and over 500,000 views, the research from the blog has been extensively revised and published as a book: International Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology of Lost VoicesClick here to read more about the book and blog, what Ruzich learned from her research, and how poetry can provide “intimate views of war and destruction that can be otherwise too immense to grasp.”


Confessions of a Sledge Hammer Antique Truck Restorer

Dave Lockard

“Packard Dave” Lockard, long-time friend to the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, is an award-winning antique automobile/truck enthusiast who owns several World War I-era Packard military vehicles. We previously interviewed him on the occasion of his receiving two Antique Automobile Club of America national awards. Now Dave has written an “auto” biography of sorts to tell the tale of his acquisition of the WWI-era Packard vehicles, and his restoration odysseys during the past three quarters of a century. Click here to get started on the inside scoop about how a self-professed “pathetically incompetent” vehicle restorer came to be the owner of so many showpiece antique vehicles, for which he gives credit to his “amazing & giving friends” over the past fifty years.


The Hidden History of First Black Women to Serve in WWI U.S. Navy

Golden Fourteen

When Jerri Bell first wrote about the Golden Fourteen, their story only took up a sentence. These 14 Black women were the first to serve in the U.S. Navy, and Bell, a former naval officer and historian with the Veteran’s Writing Project, included them in a book about women’s contributions in every American war, co-written with a former Marine. But even after the book was published, Bell couldn’t get their story out of her head. “It made me kind of mad,” Bell says. “Here are these women, and they were the first! But I think there was also a general attitude at the time that the accomplishments of women were not a big deal. Women were not going to brag.” Click here to read more about how Bell was to track down the documents that acknowledge the lives and work of these Black Navy women in World War I.


VA county Supervisors Vote to Replace Segregated WWI Memorial Plaque

Loudoun County plaque

A memorial in the courthouse square to Loudouners who died serving in World War I will be replaced with one that does not segregate those service members by race. The plaque, on a stone monument, lists 30 names. Three of those are at the bottom of the plaque, separated by a line—the three Black people on the list, Pvts. Ernest Gilbert, Valentine B. Johnson and Samuel C. Thornton. The memorial was erected 1921, three years after the war, donated by the American Legion. Click here to learn how the plaque will be replaced with a new one with all of the names listed together.


Wheeling Park Doughboy in WV has his rifle back after year of restorations

Wheeling, WV Doughboy

Over one year later, the Doughboy statue in Wheeling Park in Wheeling, WV is back, and near a century old, is looking better than ever after a restoration. Covered in dents, bird droppings, rust head to toe, a missing rifle and a hand poorly reattached…the elements were not kind to this 88-year-old figure, but Wheeling was. Click here to read more about how individuals and local foundations raised a whopping $21,000 to fix the Doughboy, a cost the friendly city deemed deserving as he stands to remind the Ohio Valley of all who fought for our freedom in World War I.


Curious about World War I memorial, Washington State woman researches the names set in stone

Whidby Island, WA Memorial

Although she had walked by the World War I memorial numerous times when she still lived on Whidbey Island, Candace Nourse-Hatch didn’t know who put it there or the stories of the men on the stone monument. Nourse-Hatch’s great-uncle, Harry Nourse from the Maxwelton area on South Whidbey, is one of the eight men from Island County who died during their military service in World War I. They are memorialized on a stone monument in front of the Island County courthouse, right across the street from Coupeville Town Hall. Click here to read how Nourse-Hatch collected biographical and military service information about each of the men over the course of a year, and what she learned about them and the war in which they served.


Lynbrook’s Doughboy Monument, 100, once center of ‘village civil war’

Lynbrook's Doughboy Monument

In this day and age when some want to take down statues from past generations and wars, Lynbrook has its own statue that has stood for 100 years, as of this past October. However, the statue did cause some controversy in the 1930s, with one newspaper saying it caused a “village civil war.” That statue is the veteran’s Doughboy Monument (also called the Soldiers and Sailors monument in the 1920s), a statue of a World War I soldier which stands on a small plot of an island in Saperstein Plaza behind Lynbrook’s Long Island Rail Road station. It is the centerpiece of the village’s war monuments. On the four-sided pedestal below the statue are the names of 15 local soldiers killed in action in World War I. Click here to read more about the many travels and final installation of the Doughboy.


Port Jervis, NY rededicates World War I monument to veterans

Port Jervis, NY WWI monument

As many people celebrated Veterans Day in quiet ways on their own due to pandemic restrictions, Port Jervis, NY Mayor Kelly Decker and a small number of local musicians carried out a brief, socially distanced rededication at at the town’s Skinners Park. In 1940, the 20-ton granite disc monument was “dedicated to the memory of the living and dead from WWI” This November’s rededication included the addition of a perpetual flame and a bronze plaque naming the 34 Port Jervis men who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty during World War I. Click here to read more about the history of the monument, and how the recent rededication ceremony took place.


WWI-era U.S. submarine found frozen in time on ocean floor by N.J. dive team

WWI-era U.S. submarine off NJ

A post-World War I-era submarine has been found on the ocean floor near the Delmarva Peninsula and appears to be fully intact and upright, a salvage rescue company said. The vessel is believed to be a decommissioned U.S. Navy R-8 class submarine sunk during a practice bombing exercise in 1936. “The discovery is historically important because R-8 is one of few American submarines resting in [accessible] East Coast waters that had yet to be located,” a statement from Atlantic Wreck Salvage said. Click here to read more about the submarine discovery, and when the wreck, currently “in pristine condition,” will be explored further to finalize the identification.


Baking During a Time of Crisis

Bakers in Paris 1918

In World War I, food scientists around the nation focused on bread making as essential to winning the war. Government commissions studied baking and milling to economize both the process and nutritional value, recognizing that wheat, having been essential in European food aid prior to U.S. entry into World War I in April 1917, was one of the major energy sources for Americans both “over there” and on the home front. Click here to read more, and learn how feeding more than 4 million Americans serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, while continuing to supply agricultural provisions for allies, was a tactical feat that relied upon military precision and a broad base of support among the population.


Doughboy MIA for December 2020

DOughboy MIA Generic image

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

For our MIA article this month, Doughboy MIA is going to take the opportunity to introduce you all to some of the changes coming to us and our program in 2021. Many of you will have received an email recently asking your basic level of interest in what it is we do. Your response was overwhelming and appreciated! It is heartening to know how much America still cares for her lost sons from the war that changed the world! As we move forward through this new year, expect to learn more about us and what we will be doing.

First off though, this month we would like to address the main questions we face in our work: why, and why now? The ‘why’ encompasses a complex answer. First, it’s about commemoration. Commemoration is our primary focus; It isn’t all about recovery of remains, but it IS about making an accounting. First and foremost, we look at the cases and try to make a determination as to what happened to these men. We have technology that can cross match details – they had shoe boxes of index cards and paper files to sift through. Our #1 goal is to tell their stories and keep them from being forgotten, researching and recording these men and what happened to them. There is no full record of them and this is a travesty that has stood for too long. No more will these men be forgotten if we can help it – and we will. As our motto states: a man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our secondary mission is attempted recovery of remains, if the situation appears possible. Today we have technology available to us that make the search beyond anything they could have dreamed of following the war. With that in mind the question of ‘why’ then begs the answer ‘why not’?

Yet the biggest reason for making any attempt at bringing them home boils down to one main reason really. America made a promise to her soldiers and families in 1917: she would bring everyone home. This was America’s first major overseas operation. For the very first time we were going to send a major force to fight on foreign shores and there were many in the public with grave concerns about our involvement in what was generally considered a ‘European affair’. To that end, America assured the public that she would care for her soldiers properly – dead or alive, we would all come home. However, following the war the number and type of casualties we would incur in France and Belgium posed the US with the herculean task of caring for 116,000 dead in just 19 months; 56,000 of these in combat. Public opinion had shifted as well, with a little over half of the families (59%) wanting their loved one brought home and the rest believing it was right to leave them in France beside their comrades. In the end, of the 75,000 burials in France only 31,000 would stay.

This included MIA’s. Between 1919 and 1932 the GRS went to extraordinary lengths to find the missing (most of whom were buried in battlefield graves that were just never located; contrary to popular belief most were not ‘blown to bits by shell fire’) and identify the recovered remains that went as unknown. Their efforts were truly heroic and ongoing, exhausting every avenue available at the time. Beginning in 1932 the GRS took one last look at each and every file of a missing serviceman, making one final attempt for them before systematically closing the files. By 1934 all the files were closed, the cemeteries overseas were closed to further interment, and all search efforts were suspended. They had done all they could to keep the promise. The names of the missing were commemorated on the Tablets to the Missing at each of the US cemeteries overseas as a permanent memorial.

Since then a few sets of remains have turned up over the years and the military did what was proper for these men. It must be remembered: they are still United States service personnel and thus the responsibility of the US military. To that end the military still has a responsibility to them and a promise to keep to their families. Many families were devastated by the loss of their loved one, particularly as they were never ‘found’. Time and again we at Doughboy MIA talk to current relatives that know the family history – that the loss left a hole in the family felt to this day. To that end, Doughboy MIA remains aware of the responsibility of America to these families. These men deserve a named grave for the simple fact they lost their lives in the service of their country and were promised we wouldn’t leave them behind. Again, if they had had access to the tech back then that we do now, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The passing of the years does not eliminate the responsibility we have to these soldiers and their families.

That brings us to the ‘why now’? Basically it’s because this is very likely the last window of opportunity there will be. The tech is here now; that is what drew us to the possibility of recovery. But hand in hand with that is the fact that in another 20-30 years any remains recovered will likely be far too degraded for a positive DNA sampling, despite advances in tech. Further, by then yet another generation will have gone by. As each generation comes and goes, the legal line of DNA in a family stretches and thins. In another generation of two we won’t be able to successfully gain a legal DNA sample from a bloodline. Thus, this window of opportunity we currently face today is likely the last opportunity for these men, and that window is closing. What kind of country would we be if we had that last opportunity and let it go by?

You can help too. YOU can be a part of the solution with us. Simply consider making a tax-deductible donation to our non-profit organization and help make it possible to keep these men alive. Visit www.ww1cc.org/mia today to make your donation. You may also sign up there to get more information on other ways you may be able to help.

Above all remember: a man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Join us in helping keep them from ever being forgotten again.


Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Books

Lest We Forget: The Great War World War I Prints from the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. One of the nation’s premier military history institutions pays tribute to the Americans who served and the allies they fought beside to defeat a resourceful enemy with a lavishly illustrated book.  It is an official product of the United States World War One Centennial Commission and is a tribute to those who served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and what would become the Air Force. It serves as a lasting reminder that our world ignores the history of World War I (and the ensuing WWII) at its peril―lest we forget.

Honoring the Doughboys: Following My Grandfather’s World War I Diary is a stunning presentation of contemporary photographs taken by the author that are paired with diary entries written by his grandfather, George A. Carlson, who was a soldier in the U.S. Army during World War I. Jeff Lowdermilk followed his grandfather’s path through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany and returned with these meticulously crafted photographs and his own engaging stories that bring the diary to life for contemporary readers. Lowdermilk’s passion for World War I and military history began as a young boy when he listened to his grandfather tell his stories about serving as an infantryman– a “Doughboy”–in Europe during the Great War.

Proceeds from the sale of these books 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.


Virtual Explorer

Click or scan the QR Code below to download the Virtual Explorer App for the National World War I Memorial, and explore what the Memorial will look like when work is completed.

QR Code for Virtual Explorer App download


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Free Self-Contained WWI History Web Site on YOUR computer

Sources, lessons, activities, videos, podcasts, images

We have packaged all the content we created for “How WWI Changed America” into a format that is essentially a web site on a drive. Download the content onto any drive (USB, external, or as a folder on your computer), and all the content is accessible in a web site type format even without an internet connection. Click here to learn more, and download this amazing educational resource for home or classroom use.


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Henry Eugene Quinn

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

Henry Eugene Quinn

Submitted by: Diana Quinn Cotton {Granddaughter}

Henry Eugene Quinn born around 1899. Henry Quinn 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, Addendum, & Personal Notes

PFC Henry E. Quinn served as a company runner in Co. F 28th Infantry 1st Division, American Expeditionary Forces, United States Army, during World War I and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Croix de Guerre, and Victory Medal with Five Battle Clasps.

My grandfather, Henry Eugene Quinn, was born in Anniston, Alabama, on January 31, 1899. He was the fourth of eleven children of William Eugene Quinn (1865-1945) and Emma Langdon (Fowler) Quinn (1873-1963). He stood 5’ 8” tall, had red hair, blue eyes, a fair complexion, and was covered in freckles. His nicknames were “Bud” (at home) and “Red” (in the Army).

In his World War I memoirs, written many years after the war, Henry wrote:

“March 1917—Applied for enlistment at Monroe (LA), was examined by a colonel Dr. who was rather rough in criticizing my physical condition, stated that I looked like a picked chicken, etc., account of being so skinny. I was not use to such criticism & talked rather rough to him in return. Sgt. was in the background motioning me to hush, etc., but I said my say. Col. flared up & stated, ‘He will do Sgt—I will get a waver on his weight tonight.’ I was 11 lbs. under weight.”

Henry briefly returned to Swartz, LA, to inform his family he had joined the Army and to tell them goodbye. His father “shook hands & told me that I had been my own boss for some time, but now I had a real boss.”

Read Henry Eugene Quinn’s entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family’s Story of Service here.


Honor the Stories of Service of ALL Who Served.

Do Your Bit to Help Build the new National World War I Memorial.

Fundraising thermometer 12292020


Announcing the Doughboy Foundation iv

An item from the folks behind the World War One Centennial Commission.


Thank you for participating with us in the World War I Centennial commemoration and the creation of the National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C. Your interest and enthusiasm helped make everything we accomplish possible.

Giving Tuesday, 2020 marks an exciting “Next Step” in the long-term remembrance of WWI and those who served on our behalf and for our Nation.

Today we are launching the Doughboy Foundation Annual Fund. This campaign will support important programs that commemorate the experience of the Doughboys, remember and honor all the men and women who served their nation in World War I, and inspire all Americans to continue to understand and learn about their own connection
to World War I.

We believe every American has a role to play in our vision to keep faith with the American Doughboy, and these programs will only be possible through the collective philanthropic contributions of patriots like you.

Thank you for helping to keep the memory of WWI alive through your previous involvement with the World War I Centennial and the National WWI Memorial in Washington, D.C. I hope you will consider being a founding supporter of The Doughboy Foundation.

Gifts of all sizes are very meaningful in honoring WWI veterans.


Give Today


Our programs

Reach Memorial Visitors:

Taps is envisioned as a key moment each day after the WWI Memorial opens. A ship’s bell begins to toll reverently, drawing visitors’ attention. A bugler smartly raises a historic instrument. It is General John J. Pershing’s own bugle, generously donated to the Foundation by Sandy Pershing, the General’s granddaughter-in-law. The sonorous tones of Taps waft through the Memorial, a solemn reminder of what was paid in the name of Freedom and Democracy by those who are honored at this sacred site.

Bugler plays taps at memorial on Generals bugle

Reach Across America: 

WWI commemoration extends beyond the borders of the Nation’s capital. There are literally thousands of local WWI Memorials in every county and community across the country. A grass-roots remembrance like the annual Bells of Peace National Tolling at 11am local, each Nov. 11, is a great example as it engages and reminds tens of thousands to remember the War that Changed the World.

Bells of Peace National Bell Tolling

Reach New Generations:

Applying 21st century tools to address this early 20th century moment is a key strategy. There are no living veterans of WWI, and the living memory of children and grandchildren  is fading.

To keep the memory and lessons of WWI relevant, the Doughboy Foundation has taken the bold and innovative step of applying contemporary technologies to inspire new generations to learn about WWI. The WWI Memorial Virtual Explorer is an iOS and Android app that offers a virtual field trip to the National Memorial as it brings the story of WWI to life on smartphones using the engaging power of Augmented Reality.

Virtual Explorer screen shots

These are examples of what the Doughboy Foundation is doing now and with your help,
will be expanding in the days, months and years ahead. Thank you for your support in the commemoration of the WWI centennial and I hope that we can count on your participation in continuing to honor the Americans who served in WWI as we move beyond the centennial.

Sincerely,
Philip G. Mazzara
President & CEO
The Doughboy Foundation

In Flanders Fields Poem vs2


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WWI DISPATCH November 2020

An item from the World War One Centennial Commission.


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November 2020

Sculpture_WABC

Earlier this month, WABC-TV in New York City broadcast a story on the crafting of the sculpture for the National World War I Memorial. The television crew interviewed sculptor Sabin Howard and World War I Centennial Commission Commissioner Libby O’Connell in Sabin’s New Jersey studio. Click the image above to watch the video and read the article on the WABC web site.

Save the Date this “Giving Tuesday” for the Doughboy Foundation

Doughboy Foundation logo giving tuesday

We proudly announce that on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, the Doughboy Foundation (DBF) will join the global movement “Giving Tuesday,” that helps people and organizations transform their communities and the world. In tandem with this day, the DBF is expanding its mission of stewardship to support the National WWI Memorial, and the remembrance of all those who served and sacrificed in WWI; to keep the story of the War that Changed the World in the minds of all Americans so that the 4.7 million who served in the U.S. Armed Forces in #WW1 will never again be relegated to the mists of obscurity. This exciting time of Doughboy Foundation expansion will bring new programs and activities to all Americans to facilitate knowledge, understanding, and remembrance of WWI and all those who served. As many of you know, the Doughboy Foundation has been working hand-in-glove with the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission for the past 5 years as we commemorated  #WWI, and have been building the National WWI Memorial site in D. C., scheduled to open in Spring of 2021. Please look for an email on Dec. 1, Giving Tuesday, about how you can help launch this next phase of commemorating WWI.


Preparations Underway for Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial in 2021

1921 Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (SHGTUS) Centennial Committee is preparing for the 100th anniversary of the burial of an Unknown American Soldier who fought and died in World War I and is buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. On the 11th Hour, of the 11th Day, of the 11th Month in 2021 Americans will pause to recognize those who have sacrificed and those who will sacrifice in the future in the defense of America’s freedom and democracy.  “It is important to remember that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is not just about World War I, but it is about every individual who has ever served – or will ever serve – and America’s promise to them that they will never forget them,” says SHGTUSP resident Gavin McIlvenna. “The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier fosters a unifying national identity that transcends our differences of politics, race or religion, and we have applied our best efforts to plan, develop and initiate a number of activities suitable for this solemn occasion of national importance.” Click here to learn more about the plans for the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


Celebrating Thanksgiving amid a pandemic. Here’s how we did it in 1918 – and what happened next

Thanksgiving headlines 2018

More than 200,000 dead since March. Cities in lockdown. Vaccine trials underway.  And a holiday message, of sorts: “See that Thanksgiving celebrations are restricted as much as possible so as to prevent another flare-up.”  It isn’t the message of Thanksgiving 2020. It’s the Thanksgiving Day notice that ran in the Omaha World Herald on Nov. 28, 1918, when Americans found themselves in a similar predicament to the millions now grappling with how to celebrate the holiday season amid the coronavirus pandemic. “Every time I hear someone say these are unprecedented times, I say no, no, they’re not,” said Brittany Hutchinson, assistant curator at the Chicago History Museum. “They did this in 1918.” Click here to read more in this USA TODAY article about the eerie similarities between two Thanksgiving observances one hundred and two years apart.


What Thanksgiving Dinners Looked Like During World War I Rationing

sailor with drumstick

In 2020, it’s safe to say most of us just experienced a highly unusual Thanksgiving. Between eschewing gathering with family and friends to making do with different dishes due to food supply issues, it has seemed like one of the weirdest holiday seasons to date. But not so long ago, before the nation was grappling with the novel coronavirus, the United States was battling another foe: the Central Powers of World War I. As WWI raged on, Americans experienced five Thanksgivings during wartime before the Treaty of Versailles was signed, meaning that things looked decidedly different at the holiday dinner table. Click here to read more about what Americans were eating for Thanksgiving during WWI, including some eyebrow-raising items.


One of America’s Finest Hours in Humanitarian Aid is Little-known Today

Yanks Behind the Lines cover

Today, whenever there are civilians anywhere in the world in harm’s way—from a natural disaster to an armed conflict—the nearly universal response has been: “America will help.” That was not the case before World War I (1914–1918). Prior to that horrific conflict—and long before US aid programs such as the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift, and the Food for Peace program—America was better known as a nation of shopkeepers more interested in the bottom line than in saving strangers in need. Author Jeffery Miller explores what helped alter that view: the American-led, nongovernmental CRB, which, working with its Belgian counterpart, the Comité National de Secours et d’Alimentation, helped save from starvation nearly ten million Belgian and northern French civilians trapped behind German lines during the four years of World War I, making it the largest food relief program the world had ever seen. Click here to learn more about how the CRB began the redefinition of how the world saw America, how America perceived its role in the world, and how worldwide humanitarian aid would be administrated in the future.


Thank-you letters from Belgium in 1915 point back to unlikely Minnesota hero

James Ford Bell

Handwritten by Belgian school girls caught in the middle of an adult clash, the letters from 1915 are frank and brimming with gratitude. Germany had invaded their country, British allies mounted a blockade to starve out the German soldiers, and millions of innocent Belgians faced starvation at the outset of World War I. A traveling exhibit of these translated letters — “When Minnesota Fed the Children of Europe” — visited the Mall of America in Minneapolis in October.  The girls’ letters were written generally to their American peers, but two unlikely men with Midwestern ties were pivotal players behind the massive relief effort that helped feed 150 million Europeans a century ago, from 1914 to 1923. Click here to read about the two men, one very well-known, the other known better now for his post-war business legacy that is still in operation today.


Michael Neiberg remembers the World War I roots of Veterans Day

Veterans Day flag

Writing on the US Army War College web site, historian Michael Neiberg recalls that “The first Veterans Day (then called Armistice Day), on November 11, 1919, was a solemn and serious event commemorated worldwide. The First World War left behind an estimated three million widows and six million orphans, in addition to eight million men killed in combat and unknown millions more who died in the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. Marking the one-year anniversary of the end of the fighting gave people a chance to honor all of the victims, military and civilian alike, of this terrible war.” Click here to read more about how Armistice day changed from a WWI-focused commemoration to a day remembering all Americans who served their nation in uniform during war and peace.


Springfield, Illinois park renamed for World War I hero Otis Duncan

Otis Duncan

The Springfield Park District board voted in September to rename a near north side park after Otis B. Duncan, the highest-ranking Black officer to serve in the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War I. “It gives us an opportunity to honor someone who is truly worthy,” park board president Leslie Sgro said of Duncan, before the vote. “I just love the idea we put forward this individual who has long been overlooked, I believe. His star is starting to shine in our community, as it should have for a century, but better late than never.” Click here ti learn more about Duncan, the American Legion post named in his honor, and the events that led to the vote on the 147th anniversary of Duncan’s birth.


Meet Mary Muirhead of Elgin, Illinois and the World War I Army Nurse Corp

Mary Muirhead's World War I dog tag

American nurses have a long and fabled history of selfless service during the most critical times of war. The nursing professionals’ contributions ultimately became the justification for a permanent female nurse corps, and when the United States entered World War I, there were only 403 Army nurses on active duty. But by November 1918, the number rose to 21,460. Mary Muirhead, born and raised in Elgin, IL, was one of those nurses. Click here to learn more about how she was one who answered the call for nurses to serve in the U.S. Army and naval hospitals and with base hospitals.


Grave marker dedicated to Buffalo Soldier who served in World War I

Bugler American Legion

A Buffalo Soldier from Toledo, OH who served his country during World War I finally got the sendoff to heaven he deserved. John M. Fields, a black Army private who served in France and was honorably discharged on July 21, 1919, had been buried at Forest Cemetery with no grave marker since dying on Dec. 28, 1960. That changed on Veterans Day this year.  Click here to read more, and learn how The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution took up the cause and got Private Fields the grave marker he deserved 60 years later.


A Plainfield, NJ World War I Story Reaches “Across the Pond”

US-Irish flags

In May 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, TAPinto Plainfield published an article announcing the Drake House Museum’s online exhibit entitled “Plainfield During WWI and the Influenza Pandemic.” That article, it turned out, would connect the past to the present. Leanne Manna, a Trustee at the Drake House, curated the exhibit and posted it online. Rutgers University Intern Stephanie Quartsin and Nancy Piwowar helped to research and document the veterans. The article included the name of one casualty, Martin J. Kane, and a relative of his, who lives Ireland, found the article about the online exhibit. Click here to read more about how a family’s inquiry was answered, and the pieces of a puzzle over 100 years in the making were fitted together.


Minnesota family recovers century-old letter from World War I

Minnesota letter

A century-old letter written by a Nobles County, Minn., World War I veteran is in the hands of his granddaughter, thanks to a casual conversation among distant cousins at a family gathering. Henry Slater penned a letter home to his Wilmont, Minn., family on June 15, 1918, from somewhere in France. That the letter is now in the hands of Slater’s son, Jim, and granddaughter, Barb (Slater) Froiland, is a story in itself.  Click here to read more and learn how this letter home from the Great War has now found its way home again.


Reflections on “The Songs of World War One” Program from 1917 to 1919

Cecelia Otto

In March of 2017, Cecelia Otto debuted a concert program titled, “The Songs of World War One”. Writing on the americacansongonline.com web site, Otto notes that “I knew that people would learn and enjoy the program, but I had no idea how it would be received. It was a wonderful surprise to find out not only that people enjoyed the concerts, but that I performed the music well past the 100th anniversary of the Armistice – all the way to November of 2019.” Click here to read Otto’s entire article, and learn how her two and a half years of performing WWI songs connected her “with so many people nationwide who had their own stories and songs to share.”


Fur N Feathers: Book honors animals and people who served in World War I

Fur N Feathers book cover

When the Arkansas Department of Heritage chose the theme of World War I for Heritage Month events during the war’s centennial, it encouraged programs and activities across the state. Marie Wagner of the Chugach Arts Council Chugach Arts Council writes that the organization’s “goal with this project was to use our talents and blessings to honor the animals and people that served in WWI and to bring awareness and support for animal welfare organizations. Coincidentally, we found that art itself played a crucial role in the war efforts.” Click here to learn more about how the organization’s efforts gained participation “from across the continent” in an art show, an exhibit, and a book, “Fur N Feathers: Animal Heroes of WWI..


How a World War I centennial exhibit evolved into an immersive card game

The Great War™ card game card back

The San Francisco War Memorial building complex was dedicated on November 11, 1932, as a memorial to all American veterans who served in The Great War. In 2018 the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission designated it as a 100 Cities / 100 Memorials awardee. Dana Lombardy was tasked in 2018 to create a centennial exhibit about WWI for the facility. Writes Lombardy: “The project consumed me. For eleven months in 2018 I lived for The Great War. But my extensive research resulted in another creation, one that might reach an even larger audience: a simple, fast-playing card game about World War One that could educate while it entertained.” Click here to read more about the exhibit, the creation of the WWI game, and how such card games can educate while they entertain.


Doughboy MIA for November 2020

As Doughboy MIA wraps up their year and prepares for some big doings in 2021, we would like to repeat a story from November 2019 that hits close to home for us.

Frank Ellenberger

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our Doughboy MIA this month is PVT Franklin Ellenberger – and has a special story!

Born on 12 July, 1892, Frank Ellenberger was from Wilmington, Ohio and was drafted into the army on 27 May, 1918. Sent to Camp Beauregard at Alexandria, Louisiana he was assigned training with the 41st Company, 159th Depot Brigade for indoctrination before being sent to Company I, 153rd Infantry Regiment, 39th ‘Delta’ Division. The 39th left for France on 6 August, 1918 and once Over There was re-designated as the 5th Depot Division (replacement division). From there, Ellenberger was sent to Company K, 128th Infantry, 32nd ‘Red Arrow’ Division in September, 1918. When the 32nd went forward to relieve the 91st Division during the Meuse-Argonne campaign on 4 October, 1918 PVT Ellenberger was among them.

The 32nd would be the first division to crack the Kriemhilde Stellung six days later, on 10 October, 1918, but by that time Ellenberger was already dead. A statement by his sergeant says he “saw Private Ellenberger killed instantly by fragments from a high explosive shell. Hit in the head… on October 7th, 1918 while in action near Epinonville.” At the time Ellenberger’s battalion (the 3rd) was supporting attacks made by the 125th Infantry south of Romagne sous Montfaucon who would, within a few days, capture the ground that the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery occupies today.

Laura Ellenberger

No record of his burial ever made it back to the Graves Registration Service however, and while two separate searches were made for him following the war, nothing further was ever found concerning his case and it was closed in December, 1919. His mother, Laura Ellenberger (right) made the Gold Star Mother’s Pilgrimage to see her sons name on the Tablet of the Missing at the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery in 1931.

Jeremy Wayne Bowles

Then, on the evening of 4 November, 2019, our Assistant Field Manager here at Doughboy MIA, Mr Jeremy Wayne Bowles (at left, and popularly known as ‘The Dayton Doughboy’) was doing some research into Ohio soldiers that served in the war with his family’s help when his mother happened to notice a name that rang a bell with her… Ellenberger. Later that night, just on a hunch, she pulled out the family tree to check that name and found an entry for a Private Franklin Ellenberger KIA in the war, who had been her great grandmother’s brother. Jeremy checked the ABMC website to find out if this relative of his – whom he had not known about before – was buried in France or had come home, and found that he was MIA!

Infer what you want about this story, but it certainly would seem some sort of intervention was at work here for a worker with Doughboy MIA to discover through accident and hunch that HE was related to an MIA from that war – another example that a man is only missing if he is forgotten!

Can you spare just ten dollars? 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 makes great Christmas gifts!

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.”

Coin stand personalized

Compliment your Centennial Silver Dollar with a special coin display stand with an engraved personalized plate to honor your World War I ancestor. This black wooden coin stand is 3-1/2 inches in height, 1-1/2 inches in width and 2-1/2 inches in length and features silver posts. This elegant stand is a perfect way to display your your Centennial Silver Dollar or any coins on your desk or shelf.

Proceeds from the sale of these items 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.


Virtual Explorer

Click or scan the QR Code below to download the Virtual Explorer App for the National World War I Memorial, and explore what the Memorial will look like when work is completed.

QR Code for Virtual Explorer App download


Education Thumb Drive image

Free Self-Contained WWI History Web Site on YOUR computer

Sources, lessons, activities, videos, podcasts, images

We have packaged all the content we created for “How WWI Changed America” into a format that is essentially a web site on a drive. Download the content onto any drive (USB, external, or as a folder on your computer), and all the content is accessible in a web site type format even without an internet connection. Click here to learn more, and download this amazing educational resource for home or classroom use.


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Fred Hitner

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

Fred Hitner

Submitted by: Robin Hitner {Great Nephew}

Fred Hitner was born around 1893. Fred Hitner served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, I was told that I had a great uncle from Nashville, named Fred Hitner, who died in WWI. His name is listed on a World War I memorial statue located in Centennial Park in Nashville that I visited several times growing up. My dad had a picture of his grave and cross located in Belgium (see attached). It appeared to be a temporary mass grave. We had no pictures of himself in our possession. Unfortunately, my dad did not have much information on Fred except for his parent’s names and what looked like a typed draft of an obituary.

This unofficial obituary stated that he “lost his life in Waeregham, [Waregem] Belgium in the service of his country on November 11, 1918.” I could never find an official newspaper obituary. Other documents such as the Gold Star Records from the Tennessee State Library and Archives listed the same date and place. I thought how interesting that he died on the last day of war. I became extremely interested in finding out how and where he died.

Read Fred Hitner’s entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family’s Story of Service here.


Honor the Stories of Service of ALL Who Served.

Do Your Bit to Help Build the new National World War I Memorial.

Fundraising progress bar with less than $2M left


We would like to share our thanks with you.

An item from the World War One Centennial Commission.


On this Day of Thanks, we are reminded that liberty must always be defended, strengthened, and cherished.  We are grateful for the generations of Americans who lived and fought through harsh circumstances to do just that.

We would be remiss in not thanking you for joining us in remembering those who served and gave their lives in World War I. We are grateful for you and the thousands of people who have joined us for podcasts, webinars, virtual bell ringings, and Bells of Peace ceremonies throughout 2020.

America’s World War I Memorial will be key in keeping the War that Changed the World in the national conversation and making sure it is not relegated again to the mists of obscurity.  Thank you for your part in helping to protect our future by remembering our past.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Daniel S. Dayton
Executive Director
U.S. World War I Centennial Commission
Chair, Board of Directors
The Doughboy Foundation

Philip G. Mazzara
President & CEO
The Doughboy Foundation


So much to be thankful for:

Construction progressed well all year in 2020

Despite the incredible challenges brought by the Pandemic in logistics, supply, and labor, we are very grateful that the construction of the National WWI Memorial in Washington D.C. progressed incredibly well all year. The WWI Memorial is targeted for opening in Spring of 2021 as the flowers bloom in Washington.

Work on the sculpture in 2020

Like the NBA, Sabin Howard and his brilliant team created their own isolation bubble and were able to continue their work on the Memorial sculpture without disruption. They completed the first 11 figures of “A Soldier’s Journey” on schedule. In an interesting repeat of history, those clay Doughboys shipped out from New Jersey to the UK and the foundry, Pangolin Editions. Sculpting on the second block “The Battle Scene” is in full swing.

Webinars about WWI for a locked down public

Lockdown came as a shock to everyone this spring. We are thankful that participants and staff were able to seamlessly switch to remote operation, and also stay in touch with YOU through a series of webinars on a variety of WWI related topics including Genealogy, the Hello Girls, WWI Education, progress on the Memorial and more.


Yes. So much to be thankful for…

Most of all we are thankful that we are able to serve in the name of the men and women of America from 100 years ago who gave and sacrificed so much for our country.

We all remember you on this day of thanks.



This email was sent to mkbarbour@gmail.com using GovDelivery Communications Cloud on behalf of: World War One Centennial Commission · 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW #123 · Washington, DC 20004