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Weishaar ARkansas DJSix years after he entered a competition to design a national World War I memorial, Arkansas native Joseph Weishaar is nearing the finish line. The memorial opens to the public Friday. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Frank Lockwood) 

Arkansan-designed memorial to WWI vets opening in D.C. 

By Frank E. Lockwood
via the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper web site 

WASHINGTON -- Nearly six years after Fayetteville native Joseph Weishaar submitted his initial entry, the national World War I memorial he designed is about to open.

Friday morning, dignitaries will gather for a small flag-raising ceremony.

Washington covid-19 rules, updated in March, allowed "outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people," so attendance will be limited.

The event will include a military flyover as well as pre-recorded comments by President Joe Biden.

Afterward, the fencing surrounding the 1.76-acre park on Pennsylvania Avenue will be removed and the public will be allowed in.

Poppy seeds, imported from the original war zone, have been planted. By June, they should be blossoming.

"It's pretty amazing" to nearly be done, Weishaar said during a drizzly tour of the site Wednesday afternoon.

The landscaping is finished, the stonework is complete and the water features are already running.

The $50 million project is nearly paid for; $48.61 million has already been raised.

Roughly 4.7 million Americans served in uniform during World War I.

The United States entered the conflict in April 1917, enabling England, France and their allies to defeat the nations aligned with Germany and Austria-Hungary. Millions of people died in the conflict, including 116,516 Americans.

Until now, there has been no national monument in Washington honoring their sacrifice.

There won't be any veterans of the conflict at Friday's ceremony. The last U.S. World War I military veteran, Frank Buckles, died on Feb. 27, 2011; he was 110 years old.

The new memorial pays homage to the heroes of World War I. But it also sends a message to every man and woman who has ever donned a U.S. military uniform, Weishaar said.

"They will never be forgotten," he said. "Honor and sacrifice will always mean something to the people of this nation."

Congress passed legislation in 2014 authorizing the memorial at Pershing Park, a site that already features a statue honoring the man who commanded the U.S. troops in World War I -- General of the Armies John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing.

The United States World War I Centennial Commission was tasked with picking the design and raising the money.

The selection of Weishaar generated plenty of headlines.

Given the challenges that arose between 2015 and today, there were times when the young Arkansan doubted the project would ever be completed, he said.

"To actually be standing in the park the week it opens is incredible," he said. 

 

60771541df285.imageArtist's rendering of what the new national World War I Memorial in Washington, DC will look like at daytime when completed. 

Decatur architect: New WWI Memorial an ‘incredible' tribute 

By Everett Catts
via the Rome News-Tribune newspaper (GA) web site

Joe Weishaar was a 25-year-old designer seeking to become an architect and working in a Chicago architectural firm when he entered a contest to design the planned World War I Memorial in Washington.

Joe WeishaarJoe WeishaarSix years later, the Decatur resident is the lead architect for the $42 million project, which opens with a private event April 16 and to the public the following day. He won in a pool of 365 entries from 22 countries.

“Before this process, I didn’t know anything about World War I. I had no ties, no connections. For me it’s entirely been a learning experience,” said Weishaar, who has no known relatives who fought in the war. “It’s really incredible, not just for me but it should be pretty incredible for the country as a whole. To build a memorial 101 years after the event that it commemorates, that sort of thing just doesn’t happen.

“You normally build a memorial right after, and in a lot of ways this became a forgotten war. To build something that has a lasting tribute to the men and women who served in that conflict shows it still matters.”

The private opening event will include a first colors ceremony in which a flag that has been flown over the U.S. Capitol and nine WWI battlefield cemeteries in Europe in the last three years. Hosted by award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, the program is co-sponsored by the United States World War I Centennial Commission, the Doughboy Foundation, the National Park Service and the American Battle Monuments Commission.

It will commemorate America's role in the war and include military fanfare, musical performances and guest appearances by veterans and others from across the country.

The memorial is located inside the 1.8-acre Pershing Park, which sits on Pennsylvania Avenue by the southeast gates to the White House and is close to the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian. It’s the main/passion project of the World War I Centennial Commission, which was created by Congress in 2013 to plan, develop and execute nationwide programs focused on celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the war.

The memorial is paid for through private donations, an effort led by the commission’s fundraising arm, the Doughboy Foundation, which was named after the nickname given to U.S. infantrymen during the war. The commission will shut down once the memorial opens.

After winning the contest, Weishaar was the project’s lead designer until getting his architect’s license in October 2019 and being promoted to lead architect. He’s working with GWWO Architects, the memorial’s firm of record; landscape architect David Rubin and sculptor Sabin Howard. 

The memorial will include a 58-foot, 3-inch-long sculpture of soldiers in action that is the largest freestanding bronze high-relief sculpture in the Western Hemisphere. But it won’t be installed until 2024, so in the mean time, Weishaar said, the memorial will have a temporary screen showing the final sketch of Howard’s sculpture design.

Edwin Fountain, who served as the commission’s vice chair until a year and a half ago but is still involved with the memorial project, said the organization wanted to make the design competition a global one because of all the countries involved in the war.

 

National WWI Memorial almost readyPersonnel from Grunley Construction putting on the final touches and doing site cleanup as the new National WWI Memorial in Washington, DC gets ready to open to the public on April 17. (Photo by Nick Albright)

'First Colors' Ceremony with pre-recorded remarks by President Biden to mark opening of National World War I Memorial 

via the yahoo! finance web site 

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The World War I Centennial Commission will host First Colors, a 90-minute virtual commemoration to mark the opening of the National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C. The event will be live streamed on Friday, April 16, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. EDT/ 7:00 a.m. PDT at www.ww1cc.org/firstcolors. The memorial will open on April 17 under the administration of the National Park Service.

President Joe Biden will offer pre-recorded remarks as part of the program, hosted by actor Gary Sinise. The program will also include Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO). Celebrity appearances will include Lee Greenwood performing "God Bless the U.S.A" with acapella group Home Free and members of the United States Air Force Band. 

The ceremony's live elements at the memorial will include a Color Guard raising the inaugural flag, which was previously raised over the U.S. Capitol; nine World War I cemeteries administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission in France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom; and the World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. A flyover will be performed by the 94th Fighter Squadron, formerly the 94th Aero Squadron, the most victorious air warfare unit of World War I. The United States Army Band Pershing's Own will also perform, featuring a bugle owned by Gen. John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War I.

'First Colors' will feature special tributes to World War I service members, including:

A performance by the 369th Regiment "Hellfighters Band," a tribute to the all-Black band in World War l's segregated Army that helped bring jazz to Europe.

A performance from the musical "Hello Girls, The Musical" that portrays the first women to actively serve in the Army, performing as heroic telephone operators on the front lines.

"As our nation's flag is raised for the first time over this hallowed ground that honors those who served in the Great War, we can take pride in the legacy of service and sacrifice by those who wear the uniform of our great country," said Terry Hamby, Chairman of the World War I Centennial Commission. "We invite Americans across the country to view this momentous occasion and reflect on this significant generation's place in our country's history."

The program will also include insight about the design of the memorial from lead designer Joe Weishaar and sculptor Sabin Howard.

First Colors is presented by the World War l Centennial Commission in cooperation with the Doughboy Foundation, the National Park Service, and the American Battle Monuments Commission. For more information and to watch the commemoration, visit www.ww1cc.org/firstcolors. First Colors is not an in-person event.

 

90 1The live-broadcast of the First Colors event at the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC will feature a special performance by the critically acclaimed Off Broadway cast of THE HELLO GIRLS and will take place in Washington, DC on Friday, April 16 at 10:00 a.m. EDT / 7:00 a.m. PDT. 

THE HELLO GIRLS To Perform In The FIRST COLORS Ceremony 

By BWW News Desk
via the broadwayworld.com (NYC) web site 

The United States World War I Centennial Commission, in cooperation with the Doughboy Foundation, the National Park Service and the American Battle Monuments Commission, is sponsoring the FIRST COLORS Ceremony, a major event to celebrate the inaugural raising of the American flag over the nation's soon to open World War I Memorial.

The live-broadcast event will feature a special performance by the critically acclaimed Off Broadway cast of THE HELLO GIRLS and will take place in Washington, DC on Friday, April 16 at 10:00 a.m. EDT / 7:00 a.m. PDT.

Hosted by award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, the 75-minute program will pay tribute to America's role in WWI and highlight our national unity with military fanfare, guest appearances by notable participants from across the country and musical performances including a special excerpt from the Off Broadway musical THE HELLO GIRLS.

The WWI FIRST COLORS Ceremony performance reunites members of the original Off-Broadway cast of THE HELLO GIRLS: Ellie Fishman (Finding Neverland, Miss Saigon National Tour, Goodspeed's The Music Man), Chanel Karimkhani (Bach and Bleach, The Goree All Girl String Band), Andrew Mayer (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, I Spy A Spy), Matthew McGloin (Bastard Jones, 2 Pianos, 4 Hands at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), Ben Moss (Oratorio For Living Things at Ars Nova, Broadway: Head Over Heels, Amélie, Deaf West's Spring Awakening), Lili Thomas (We're Gonna Die @2ST, Only Human), Skyler Volpe (Sing Street at NYTW / Broadway, Barrington Stage West Side Story), and Cathryn Wake (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, The Other Josh Cohen). Original drummer Elena Bonomo (Broadway's Six, A Strange Loop) is joined by bass player and vocalist Nygel D. Robinson.

n ensemble of actor-musicians chronicles the story of America's first women soldiers in THE HELLO GIRLS. From New York to Paris, from ragtime to jazz, and featuring a critically-acclaimed score by Peter Mills, and book by Peter Mills and Cara Reichel, the musical tells the story of the groundbreaking women who served as the first soldiers in the U.S. Army, during World War I. These intrepid heroines served as bilingual telephone operators on the front lines, helping turn the tide of World War I. They then returned home to fight a decades-long battle for equality and recognition, paving the way for future generations.

 

 Hello GirlsA full contingent of “Hello Girls” arrives in France in March 1918. Recruited for their ability to speak French, many of the women were Louisiana Creoles or were the daughters or granddaughters of French-Canadian immigrants.

'Hello Girls' Kept World War I Communications Humming 

By Kelly Bell
via the Veterans of Foreign Wars web site 

By the time the U.S. declared war on Germany in 1917, the Navy had already opened its doors to women, assigning them ground jobs that freed up men for sea service. The need ashore was even greater.

As the first American forces began arriving in France that summer, they found the communications network in disarray. In three years of combat, telephone lines were shot, shelled and bombed faster than they could be repaired.

Furthermore, the French women operating telephone exchanges spoke no English and in general were very casual toward their duties, frequently forsaking their switchboards in order to go to canteens, shopping and to meet with boyfriends. The very first U.S. phone operators were men who were poorly trained and tended to hang up when combat-stressed officers shouted at them over the lines.

Pershing Calls for ‘Hello Girls’

Army Gen. John J. Pershing, commander of American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, found this situation intolerable. He had, however, noted the efficiency and competence of Britain’s Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps as they expertly kept England-based phone lines humming.

In November, he urgently advised his War Department of the need for French-speaking American women to take over the telephone system so that Allied military operations could be effectively coordinated. 

Before Pershing had boarded the ship that bore him to Europe, he stuffed its hold with the latest in communications technology. The telephone was an American invention, and he was determined to exploit it to its fullest potential.

The War Department placed advertisements in newspapers across the country, and more than 7,000 patriotic women eagerly responded. The vast majority had to be rejected because they had no communications experience and spoke no French. 

From this pool, the Army selected 150, mostly Louisiana Creoles and the daughters and granddaughters of French and French-Canadian immigrants. Following intensive training (in some cases re-training women who had been working as telegraph operators) by AT&T and basic instruction in military protocol, the Secret Service meticulously screened these volunteers to assure they were loyal to the Allied cause. Eventually, 223 women were cleared for duty and served in war-torn France. 

 

wwi women gettyimages 1230962452A combination of cultural shifts and metal rationing spelled the demise of the stiff undergarment. 

How World War I Helped Women Ditch the Corset 

By Jessica Pearce Rotondi
via the History.com web site 

Massive cultural shifts during and after World War I helped free women from confining roles—and the confining corsets that bound them to the previous age. The evolution of the bra re-shaped the image of what a woman could be, whether she was serving in the war effort, fighting for the right to vote, or dancing in a flapper-style dress at war’s end.

History of the Bra

“No one person invented the corset or the bra,” says Valerie Steele, Director of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. “They were developed in different places and many people took out patents over the years improving or changing their design.” Some of the earliest bras date back to Ancient Rome: “Mosaics from the villa Romano del Casals in Sicily show the strophium, a simple cloth breast binding,” says Judith Dolan, distinguished professor and head of design at the University of California at San Diego.

By 1500, corsets—tight, structured undergarments extending from below the chest to the hips—became the undergarment of choice for women in the middle and upper classes in much of Europe. The constricting corset would reign supreme until the 20th century, when women began to breathe easier thanks to the bra.

While a 600-year-old prototype of a bra was recently found in a castle in Austria, credit for inventing the first “modern” bra goes to French designer Herminie Cadolle, who cut a corset into two in 1869 and called it the “corselet gorge.” Cadolle’s creation was seen as a bit scandalous at the time. It would take world events—and a patent—for the bra to really take off.

First Patent

American socialite Mary “Polly” Phelps Jacob patented the “brassiere” on November 3, 1914, the year World War I broke out in Europe. Filing for the patent under the pseudonym “Caresse Crosby,” she’d come up with the concept while dressing for a ball, when her uncomfortable corset poked through her dress, prompting her and her maid to sew together two handkerchiefs to offer more flexible support. 

Her business never quite took off (though she’d go on to shake up the publishing world in Paris, printing the work of authors like Ernest Hemingway, Anais Nin, and James Joyce), and she sold her patent to the Warner Brothers Corset Company for a paltry $1,500. By the time the United States joined World War I in 1917, the influence of European fashions and the changing role of women helped open the floodgates for women to ditch their corsets and embrace the bra.

 

Hello Girls BankerThe photo on the left shows Sergeant Grace Banker receiving her Distinguished Service Medal. The photo on the right depicts one-half of the operators assigned to the front lines. 

Hello Girls Are The Original Rodney Dangerfield 

By Rob Watkins
via  The Newport Plain Talk newspaper (VA) web site 

Last week I told the story of a group of heroic women telephone operators and their actions during World War I. I also wrote that I would tell the rest of their story this week. Because of what happened to them when the war was over, they said the same thing as comedian Rodney Dangerfield,... “I get no respect”. Before I get to that I want to share the story of one of them who received one of America’s highest military honors.

Grace Banker

Born in 1892, in Passaic, New Jersey Grace Banker was a woman who would become a hero during World War I. The education system in NJ was not established until the mid to late 1800s. The first high school opened in 1874 and size limited the number of students. So, when Grace was born education opportunities were still limited. This did not stop her, and not only did she complete her secondary education, she graduated with a double major in history and French from Barnard College, in New York.

After college she started to work as an operator for the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T), in New York. With her exceptional drive she quickly rose, in a male dominated field, to become an instructor.

In December of 1917 she saw one of the newspaper ads that General Pershing had requested for women operators to join the Army and go to France to run the switchboards. He wanted them to be able to speak French and she felt that description fit her, so she volunteered. In 2019 her granddaughter Carol Timbie said, “My grandmother and, I think, many women at that time wanted to do their part, be a part of the war. To help win.”

The women volunteers raised their hands, swore the Army’s Oath of Enlistment, were given dog tags, and uniforms and went through months of training. When they were finished with the training they left for France and into the war. Grace kept a diary, and it shares much of her thoughts. She wrote on March 7, 1918, “Sailed this morning in a dismal gray drizzle. Watched the Statue of Liberty fade from sight. For the first time, suddenly realized what a responsibility I have on my young shoulders.”

When she arrived in France she was assigned to General Pershing’s headquarters in Chaumont, France. There she supervised the operations and women assigned to handle all the communications between the headquarters and the front. Just six months later she and a group of five other women found themselves at the front.

That September found them within the range of German artillery at the battle for St. Mihiel. General Pershing’s American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) and over 100,000 French troops were set to take the region back from the Germans. Grace and her six operators worked twelve hour shifts and her diary shares, “Never spent more time at the office and never enjoyed anything more. My girls worked like beavers.”

They were so close to the front each had helmets and gas masks. Their “office” was a badly damaged building that had been bombed by the Germans. Each day they faced the return of those planes, and severe weather without heat. At one point their living quarters had been set on fire by a German prisoner, lucky none of them were injured.

When the AEF and French forces signed a cease fire on November 11, 1918 her team was reassigned to Paris where she worked at the residence set up for visiting President Woodrow Wilson. Since it was dull work, after her experiences on the front, she accepted a position at Army headquarters in Coblenz, Germany where she stayed until September 1919, when she and her team returned to the states. While there she was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) presented for her “exceptionally meritorious service to the government in a duty of great responsibility”.

 

Canvas attachmentWorkers from The Grunley Construction Company team install the canvas with a depiction of the A Soldiers Journey sculpture at the new National World War Memorial in Washington, DC.  

First Colors Ceremony Introduces America's New World War I Memorial

The United States World War I Centennial Commission in cooperation with the Doughboy Foundation, the National Park Service and the American Battle Monuments Commission is sponsoring a major event to celebrate the inaugural raising of the American flag over the nation's soon to open World War I Memorial in Washington, DC on Friday, April 16 at 10:00 a.m. EDT / 7:00 a.m. PDT.

FC Logo FullColorThe FIRST COLORS Ceremony will be an emotionally powerful, live-broadcast program that commemorates the generation of Americans who fought, with our allies, in the trenches and on the home front to bring an end to one of the most consequential wars in history.

Hosted by award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, the 75-minute program will pay tribute to America's role in WWI and highlight our national unity with military fanfare, musical performances, and guest appearances by notable participants from across the country. Viewers will hear insights from high-profile elected officials, military leaders, and the dedicated team who has enriched the nation's understanding of World War I and created a lasting tribute in our nation's capital to engage Americans for generations to come.

"A century ago, 4.7 million Americans sent their sons and daughters off to fight a war that would change the world. They traveled to a country they had never visited, to fight in a war they didn't start, to achieve peace and liberty for a people they didn't know. FIRST COLORS takes a look at the how and why of the Memorial that honors their service," said Daniel Dayton, Executive Director, US World War I Centennial Commission. 

The FIRST COLORS Ceremony is designed to "bring our history home." It marks the final leg of a journey that began with an American flag that first flew over our nation's capital on April 6, 2017, commemorating the Centennial Day that the United States went to war in 1917. This Commemorative Flag has since flown over American battlefield cemeteries in Europe, honoring the Doughboys who gave their all during the war. The colors will now return home to their final destination, forever flying above the new National World War I Memorial.

 

WWL Hello GirlsA bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has introduced legislation to award the Hello Girls of World War I the Congressional Gold Medal. The female military telephone operators kept American and French GIs connected during the war. Photo credit Army.mil

WWI 'Hello Girls' would be awarded Congressional Gold Medal under Senate bill 

By Julia LeDoux
via the WWl radio (New Orleans, LA) web site 

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has introduced legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the female military telephone operators who kept American and French GIs connected during World War I.

The Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal Act would award the medal to the women of the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Also known as the Hello Girls, the bilingual female switchboard operators connected more than 150.000 calls per day during the war, doing so at a rate six times faster than their male counterparts.

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester, D-Mont., Ranking Member Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., introduced the legislation this week.

“The Hello Girls were faster and more accurate than any enlisted man at connecting men on the battlefield with military leaders, and blazed a new path for women on the front lines in France during WWI,” said Tester. “They took the Army oath, helped our allied forces win the war, but were still denied the veteran status and benefits they earned. This Congressional Gold Medal will honor their service and provide them with long-overdue recognition.”

Despite their service, the Hello Girls fought for 60 years to be recognized as being among the nation’s first women veterans. 

 

SCOTUS Rules on Bladensburg Peace CrossThe Bladensburg Peace Cross, located at the intersections of Bladensburg Road, Baltimore Avenue, and Annapolis Road in Bladensburg, Maryland, honors the 49 residents who died while serving in World War I.

Commemorative Bricks Support Local MD WWI Memorial Restoration

via the Patch.com College Park, MD web site 

Riverdale, MD - A 40-foot-tall monument standing at the intersections of Bladensburg Road, Baltimore Avenue, and Annapolis Road in Bladensburg, Maryland, serves as a reminder of the 49 residents who died in World War I. This monument, commonly referred to as the Peace Cross, is owned by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George's County which has embarked on a mission to restore it.

To support fundraising efforts for the Peace Cross' restoration, the department has developed a commemorative brick program. Through its webpage, www.pgparks.com/peacecross, the public can purchase a custom brick to be inscribed with the text of their choice. Many families use the brick in memorial of those who are no longer with us. Peace Cross Commemorative Bricks ensure that loved ones can be honored in an enduring way.

Maryland State Senator Malcolm Augustine stated, "As we honor our local heroes memorialized on the Bladensburg Peace Cross, we now have the opportunity to demonstrate our thanks by contributing to the restoration of the structure. I am pleased to purchase a brick that will be a permanent fixture of this historic memorial, in honor of the four African American soldiers listed on the Peace Cross."

The Peace Cross Memorial was constructed in 1919 in honor of World War I servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. On June 19, 2019, in a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-2 to allow a Veteran's memorial cross to continue to stand on public land in Maryland. Over the years, the monument has fallen into disrepair and is in need of maintenance. Help restore this historic landmark and give to a noble cause by purchasing a commemorative brick today. Every donation will go directly towards the memorial's restoration. To par

 

Douhitt group 1200Arthur J. Douthitt (left) of Kentucky was killed in action in WWI serving with the U.S. Army. A New Testament he carried to war has been donated by his family to the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, MO.

Kentucky WWI soldier's New Testament heading to museum 

By Nathan Havenner
via the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer newspaper (KY) web site 

Nearly 100 years have passed since a New Testament carried by Arthur J. Douthitt into battle during World War I made its way back to his widow in Kentucky from France. Now, it will be donated to the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri.

Nicole Morton Goeser said she wants to share the story of her great uncle, a native of Stanley, with his own community.

While Douthitt was killed in action, reportedly by an enemy sniper while serving with the U.S. Army in France, his New Testament, kept safe in a red Velvet tobacco tin, was recovered from the battlefield. In February 1923, his widow Lillian Douthitt received an unexpected letter from a Mr. Fred Robak of Birmingham, England.

“In going through my brother-in-law’s effects a few days ago, I found amongst them a testament and inside the cover is a note asking in case of accident for someone to return it to you,” the letter read.

On the inside cover of the New Testament given to him by his mother in 1904, Douthitt had written, “In case of accident, will someone please send this little testament to my dear wife, Mrs. Arthur J. Douthitt, Stanley, KY, USA.”

Considering that five years had passed since the close of WWI in 1918, Robak wanted to make sure he had the proper address before sending the tin and New Testament back to Kentucky.

“I just know that letter was sent to Great Aunt Lillian first because the gentlemen had her husband’s testament and he wanted to make sure that he had the correct address first,” Goeser said.

After the death of Lillian Douthitt in 1966 and her daughter, Hazel, in 1978, a daughter her father was never able to meet, the tin and New Testament passed to Goeser’s mother, Elizabeth, before being given to her.

It has been a treasured family keepsake, one that has helped keep the memory of Douthitt alive and well through the decades. 

 

huizenga purple heart 032621U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, presented the Purple Heart posthumously to New Haven's Charles Conklin, who died in World War I. Huizenga praised the courage and resilience of Conklin and all those who fought in World War I.

Grand Haven, MI man killed in WWI honored with Purple Heart 

By WOODTV.com staff
via the WOOD TV television station (MI) web site 

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — A soldier from Grand Haven who died in World War I finally received his Purple Heart Friday.

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, presented the Purple Heart posthumously to Charles Conklin, praising the courage and resilience of those who fought in World War I.

“We are just honored here today, aren’t we all, as we think about Charles and the sacrifices of those generations,” Huizenga said.

Conklin’s name is on American Legion Post 28 in Grand Haven. He was the first Grand Haven resident killed in the war on May 7, 1918.

The Purple Heart will be on display at the American Legion Post.

 

wwi memorial american doughboy gettyimages 486990175Both World War I and the 1918 influenza pandemic were devastating events in history. So why did memorials for one event overshadow the other?

How World War I's Legacy Eclipsed the 1918 Pandemic 

By Elizabeth Yuko
via the History.com web site 

World War I came to an end on November 11, 1918—nine months after the first cases of what was referred to as the “Spanish Flu” were reported in the United States. Against the backdrop of the war, the 1918 influenza pandemic surged at a time when people were already experiencing scarcity in everyday supplies, coping with having loved ones serving overseas, and living in a wartime economy.

A second global crisis had started before the first one ended.

World War I was devastating, leading to around 20 million deaths worldwide. Deaths from the 1918 pandemic were even more staggering: At least 50 million people, including 675,000 Americans, died from the disease. But the legacy of World War I overshadowed the pandemic, making the unprecedented loss of life from the flu almost an afterthought.

“When the flu impact resolved, people engaged in a kind of collective amnesia,” says Monica Schoch-Spana, PhD, a medical anthropologist specializing in public health emergency preparedness at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. “At the same time though, there still was the collective trauma of the war. And so you had processes of post-war rituals and remembrances and monuments.”

Investment in World War I Memorials

For an event to become entrenched in the collective memory, it requires the public to be actively engaged in remembering it, according to Maria Luisa Lima and José Manuel Sobral in Societies Under Threat: A Pluri-Disciplinary Approach. This happens through referencing the event among family members and in everyday conversations, as well as commemorating it in monuments, rituals, archives and narratives.

“The contrast between the investment in memorialization of the war and what happened with the Spanish flu is huge,” say Lima and Sobral. They point out that, unlike wars, pandemics don’t offer the same “monumental benchmarks” that lend themselves to a monument or public commemoration, like a particular battle or the signing of a treaty.

Commemorations to mark World War I emerged quickly in the wake of the war—and in a variety of forms. School textbook narratives were updated, Veterans Day was established, and monuments and memorials were placed at sites across the country.