American Women in World War I

Marjorie Kay: nurse, Yeoman(F), actress, singer, theatrical agent

By Elizabeth Foxwell
via the American Women in World War I web site

Born in Detroit, Marjorie Griffin Kay (1897–1949) was the daughter of Canadian-born jeweler Richard Day Kay and his wife Margaret. She appeared in Sherlock Holmes (1916, filmed at Essanay Studios in Chicago; see below) as the love interest of William Gillette’s Holmes and studied voice with Gioacchino Baralt in New York, participating in a recital of Baralt’s students at Carnegie Chamber Music Hall in May 1916. In early June 1916, Kay sailed for France intending to study languages, which she needed to pursue opera professionally. Instead, spurred by her Canadian aunt Amy Eaton, who was involved in relief work, she served as a nurse at the American Ambulance Hospital (aka American Red Cross Hospital No. 1) in Neuilly. She returned to the United States in September 1916 for a rest break, and it is unclear when she returned to France.

marjoriekayMarjorie Kay, right, assists in a facial reconstruction procedure for a wounded French soldier, ca. 1917.According to Kay’s Hartford Courant obituary, she served as a model for a World War I poster, but the title of the poster and the name of the artist were not identified. The only clues provided: she was in a nurse’s uniform, and the word give was on the poster. A candidate may be a 1917–18 poster by Albert Herter; compare it with a 1916 photo of Kay in the Library of Congress (see below).

The 9 January 1918 Jeweler’s Circular-Weekly reported Kay singing at the New Year’s 1918 open house of the Detroit YMCA. She spoke at the June 1918 meeting of the Dental Assn of Massachusetts, as the attendees were interested in learning about newly developed facial reconstruction techniques for wounded soldiers that Kay had observed as a nurse.

Reported the 2 June 1918 Boston Sunday Globe:

Men were frequently brought to the hospital with their faces entirely gone below the eyes. Then it was that the American dentists went to work to reconstruct their faces.

Jaws were made from the small bones of the knees; these bones formed the sides of the jawa and were caught togther across the chin by aluminum wires, which held together composition in which the teeth, made separately, were imbedded.

She told about the making of brand new noses, in which operation the third finger of the hand was slit open and fastened upon the place where the nose belonged. There it stayed until the flesh had knit, and the finger was severed from the hand, and a presentable nose was formed. Skin, grafted from the leg, was used to form the surface of the new faces.

She saw a baby, only a few days old, who had been cut in two by a German officer and thrown at the feet of a Belgian mother. She saw babies whose eyes had been gouged out, and others with hands cut off by German soldiers. . . . .

“If I could only talk,” she said, “and could tell of the things I have seen, I should be the happiest girl in the world.” (“Ambulance Driver and Nurse” 56)

Kay enlisted in the Navy on October 22, 1918, serving as a Yeoman (F). The abstracts of World War I service for New York list her as working 20 days (Oct–Nov 1918) at the Cable Censor Office, Third Naval District Headquarters, New York. According to the Veterans Administration Master Index, she was discharged from the Navy on April 30, 1919.


Lansing WWI artillery shellInstead of explosives, the shell of a World War I artillery round found in Lansing, Michigan housed a treasure trove of coins and paper money from the 1900s and dating as far back as the 1800s. 

World War I Artillery and 1800s Currency Found in Lansing Family’s Home

By Lacy James
via the WBCK radio station (MI) web site 

One Lansing family got quite the shock while going through a family member's house on Saturday, October 23, 2021. A rather large artillery round was found among other items in a home being emptied.

Lansing Police were contacted and ultimately the Michigan State Police bomb squad was brought in to thoroughly inspect the device. An x-ray of the device found that the round was not live and posed no threat. The shell of the artillery instead housed a treasure trove of coins and paper money from the 1900s and dating as far back as the 1800s. 

Michigan State Police say the artillery was from World War I. Michigan State Police say the non-live round was turned over to the Michigan State Police bomb squad while the treasure of money that was held within the round was returned to the family.

Lansing WWI artillery shell 2The Michigan State Police bomb squad performed an x-ray of the shell, and found that the round was not live and posed no threat.


Frank Boston memorialA memorial to Dr. Frank Boston is seen at the intersection of Broad and Seventh Streets in Lansdale, PA in 2021. 

Bill would name Broad Street for iconic WWI doctor 

By Dan Sokil
via the Landsdale Reporter newspaper (PA) web site D

LANSDALE, PA — A local icon could soon be honored in his former hometown.

The Pennsylvania Senate voted this week to approve a bill designating North Broad Street as the “Dr. Frank Erdman Boston Memorial Highway.”

“The life and accomplishments of Dr. Boston are a testament to what materializes from the best qualities in a human being,” said state Sen. Bob Mensch, R-24th, who sponsored the bill to rename the road

“His selflessness, respect for life, dedication to his neighbors and unwavering commitment to do good serve as an inspiration for all and are the reasons we should be celebrating his legacy for generations to come,” he said.

Boston was born March 10, 1891, in Philadelphia and later attended Lincoln University, originally established as The Ashmun Institute, the nation’s first degree-granting Historically Black College and University. He then attended the Medico-Chirurgical College, an outgrowth of the Medico-Chirurgical Society of Philadelphia which merged with the University of Pennsylvania Medical College and Jefferson Medical College, according to a statement from Mensch’s office.

Boston enlisted and was immediately given the rank of first lieutenant in the Army Medical Reserve Corps. During World War I, Dr. Boston served in France with the rank of captain and ended his military service as a major. After the war, Dr. Boston returned to work in Philadelphia and later settled in Lansdale where he opened the Elm Terrace Hospital, which was later renamed North Penn Hospital, subsequently became part of the Abington Jefferson Health System, and where a memorial to Boston now stands on the corner of Broad and Seventh streets.


Hoover collageFuture President Herbert Hoover (left) founded in London the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB) less than three months after the start of World War I. 

 Disparaged US President Herbert Hoover Was a WWI Great Humanitarian

By Jeffrey B. Miller
via the Valdosta Daily Times newspaper (GA) web site

Herbert Hoover’s fall from grace during his presidency (1928-1932) has been well documented, but his initial rise to greatness — when he became known to the world as a Great Humanitarian — has all but been forgotten, according to “Yanks behind the Lines” (ISBN 978-1538141649; Rowman & Littlefield) author Jeffrey B. Miller, who is the first historian in more than thirty years to focus his three award-winning nonfiction books on Hoover’s WWI efforts in German-occupied Belgium.

On October 22, 1914, less than three months after the start of World War I, successful mining engineer Herbert Hoover founded in London the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB). The CRB with its Belgian counterpart, the Comité National (CN), created the largest food relief program the world had ever since — saving from starvation for the four years of war nearly 10 million civilians trapped behind German lines. The relief cost nearly $1 billion WWI dollars ($24 billion in 2021).

One of America’s finest hours in humanitarian relief was made possible by CRB “delegates,” neutral American volunteers who went into German-occupied Belgium to guarantee the Germans did not take the food and ensure fair distribution to all civilians. The youngest U.S. delegate was only 19 years old.

Ultimately, the CRB helped change the way Americans saw themselves and how the world saw America.

Margaret Hoover, host of PBS’s Firing Line with Margaret Hoover and great granddaughter of Herbert Hoover, says “It will be a revelation for many Americans to discover Jeff Miller’s excellent account of the ‘piratical state organized for benevolence,’ which helped position the United States as a moral force for good in the world at the outbreak of the twentieth century’s first world war.”

“Yanks behind the Lines: How the Commission for Relief in Belgium Saved Millions from Starvation during World War I” chronicles the CRB, the CRB delegates, and Belgium under the harsh German rule. 


shotgunAlthough World War I had many devastating weapons used on the battlefield, the one the Germans most feared was the Yanks’ trench shotgun. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine. 

Why Germany wanted to ban America's pump-action shotgun during World War I 

By Matt Fratus
via the Coffee or Die web site 

By the end of World War I, the Winchester model 1897 pump-action shotgun had gained a nasty reputation across no man’s land on the Western Front. Despite the emergence of numerous novel weapons technologies, including mechanized armor, soaring warplanes, various chemical gases, and flamethrowers, the most feared American weapon, from the German perspective, was this infamous “trench shotgun.”

“The trench shotgun is America’s greatest contribution to the war,” Peter P. Carney, the editor for the National Sports Syndicate, wrote in 1918. “Through the expert handling of the trench shotgun the Germans learned that the Yanks were coming. At the first taste of the pellets the Germans began to whine and then to write notes calling us ‘barbarians,’ Germany, too!”

Regarding the psychological impact of the handheld weapon on German troops, Carney continued, “It carries more terrors into the hearts of the enemy than any other instrument of destruction that has been used.

“The only umbrella that will assist anyone when the trench shotgun is showering pellets over the universe is an armoured tank.”

The six-shot, single-barreled trench shotgun was equipped with a bayonet and loaded with 12-gauge buckshot. Though it was primarily used by sentries because of its short range, other soldiers also relied on the trench shotgun as a means of last resort in the event they were about to be overrun or taken prisoner.

“The guns are mainly in the hands of trapshooters, men who learned to shoot at clay targets at the gun club,” Carney writes. “Trapshooters are sportsmen and have used the guns to deflect and explode hand grenades thrown by the enemy.”

Front-line American soldiers used the “slam-firing” technique, during which the trigger is held as the gun is pumped and fired from the hip, resulting in catastrophic injuries or death to anyone on the receiving end. The trench shotgun was so devastatingly effective that it spurred the German government to send an unusual request to Washington on Sept. 19, 1918, calling for the weapon’s removal from combat. 


alvin c york shows hill on which raid took placeSergeant Alvin York shows hill on which raid took place that led to his capture of 132 German soldiers in World War I. 

Here are more interesting facts about Sgt. Alvin York, World War I’s hero of heroes 

By Michael Skaggs
via the Paris Post Intelligencer (TN) web site 

On Nov. 9, 2018, I wrote a column on World War I’s hero of heroes. Sgt. Alvin York of Tennessee. I had and later found more and more information for another, and perhaps, a third column.

The information I found confirmed my earlier statement that York’s life was one where fame and heroism happened, yet all the while he remained the same person and stayed sane.

He kept his faith and ideals the same he started out with. The furthest thing from York’s mind would have been the personal behavior we see today on talk and reality shows.

The behavior of has-beens, never-weres and famous for being famous would never have crossed his mind.

A note before I continue. On Sept. 13, The Post-Intelligencer reported on a story that the author of the book on York, Douglas Mastriano, has been found to have a number of errors.

Most of them are minor thus far. However, two are the exact location of the site of the battle, and the date of the photo used on the cover. For now, I’m just letting you know a lot of my information was from this book.

An email from the publisher, Ashley Runyon, said the company is working with the author to change and remove the errors, and hopes to have a new edition next spring.

York rarely wrote about the war to his family. One of the rare times he did, he wrote, “God would never be cruel enough to create as terrible as that Argonne battle. Only man would ever think of doing that.”

In October 2004, Daniel DeStefano, director of the Nahant Public Library in Massachusetts, was cleaning out the library’s attic when he found the most amazing discovery in the town’s history in the corner.

It was a German Maxim 1908-15 machine gun, determined to have been donated to the library in 1919 by Lt. Mayland Lewis after he returned home from the war. He’d gotten it from a stock of machine guns captured by York.

It took part in the town’s Fourth of July parade as part of the welcome home for the area’s returning troops, pulled in a red wagon by local members of the Boy. Scouts.

The machine gun had not been de-activated or altered since the day it was captured. It also had not been registered under the National Firearms Act before 1968.

Therefore, the machine gun, in spite of its ironclad historical importance, would be destroyed, unless a museum was willing to accept it.

Fortunately, the Museum of Appalachia near Clinton did, putting the machine gun on permanent display in York’s home as part of the “Sergeant York: American Hero” exhibit.


 Patton WWI tankMaj. George S. Patton Jr. commanded the 304th Tank Brigade in France during the last year of World War I. He held an important role during ceremonies for America’s World War I Unknown Soldier in 1921.

Patton and World War I’s Unknown Soldier 

By Kevin M. Hymel
via the Arlington National Cemetery web site blog 

In 1921, Major George S. Patton Jr. held an important role during ceremonies for America’s World War I Unknown Soldier. The man who would become an iconic general, known for commanding victorious armies in World War II, was then the commander of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment’s 3rd Cavalry Squadron. On November 9, 1921, Patton helped escort the Unknown Soldier’s casket from the USS Olympia to the U.S. Capitol, where the Unknown would lie in state for two days. On November 11, the day of the Unknown’s burial ceremony, he marched in the procession that escorted the casket to Arlington National Cemetery.

Maj. Patton, a war veteran himself, had seen many Americans fall in the trenches and battlefields of World War I. Commanding the 304th Tank Brigade, he had led his tanks in two major actions. During the Battle of St. Mihiel on September 12, 1918, he walked across a bridge his tankers worried was mined; rode atop a tank until enemy machine gun fire forced him to jump off; and stood upright, talking to Brig. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, during an enemy artillery barrage. Two weeks later, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Patton helped shovel a tank out of mud, exposing himself to enemy fire. He ended his war by charging a German machine gun, only to be wounded by a bullet in the lower abdomen.

After returning from Europe, Patton commanded his tank brigade at Fort Meade, Maryland, before transferring to Fort Myer, in Arlington, to command the 3rd Cavalry Squadron. Patton, his wife Beatrice and their two daughters lived in Quarters No. 6 on Officers Row, a large Victorian brick home overlooking the Potomac River and the city.

On November 9, 1921, Patton’s squad was among the units that greeted the USS Olympia—the storied battleship that transported the Unknown Soldier from France to the United States—upon its arrival at the Washington Navy Yard. When the cruiser docked, Patton’s cavalrymen lined up, facing the ship. As the casket was carried down the gangplank, the men saluted. They then helped escort the Unknown Soldier’s caisson to the U.S. Capitol. Once at the Capitol, the cavalrymen dismounted and again formed a line. Patton’s squad faced another squad, forming a cordon at the foot of the Capitol’s east steps, as the casket was carried between them and into the rotunda.


Larney diary gangPrivate James Larney (center) kept a detailed diary of the activitities of the  the 308th Infantry Regiment in War I, including its part in the famous ‘Lost Battalion’ siege at Charlevaux Ravine in the Argonne Forest of France. Now his original hand-written diary will travel back to the Argonne Forest. 

Diary of Lost Battalion Soldier from World War I to Return to France 103 Years After Its Writing

Special to the Doughboy Foundation web site 

103 years ago, Private James Larney, a soldier from Watertown, New York, went to war as a member of the famed 77th ‘Liberty’ Division. Assigned to the Headquarters Company of the 308th Infantry Regiment, his commanding officer was Major Charles Whittlesey, who would lead his men during one of the most epic events of America’s participation in WWI – an episode known famously as the siege of the ‘Lost Battalion’.

On the evening of October 2nd, 1918, Major Whittlesey led some 600 of his men into the narrow Charlevaux Ravine deep in the heart of the Argonne Forest. That night the Germans surrounded them, cutting the unit off a kilometer and a half ahead of the main American line. Over the next five days, before relief finally broke through to them, the ‘Lost Battalion’ would endure a casualty rate of 72% while never giving ground. In the end, five Medals of Honor would be earned in connection with the event, which became one of the most reported and popular stories of the war, and Charles Whittlesey became the U.S soldier in the war to be awarded the coveted medal, on Christmas Eve, 1918.

Private Larney was one of Whittlesey’s men in the Lost Battalion and was right at the Major’s side the whole time. His job was that of ‘signalman’; Pvt. Larney was in charge of the cloth panels laid out on the ground to communicate with aircraft flying above them. Upon landing in France, in April 1918, Larney had begun keeping a daily diary. This was strictly against the rules at the front, for if obtained by the enemy the information therein might benefit them in some way; if discovered by his superiors, the diary would be confiscated and Larney would be in trouble. Nevertheless, he kept at it, writing surreptitiously in the little 5” by 7” oil cloth covered black book nearly every day through the 77th Division’s battles all that spring and summer and into the fall.

It was then his unit spearheaded the 77th’s attack into the Argonne Forest on September 26th, 1918. Wounded twice with the Lost Battalion, he was carried out by ambulance to a field hospital about mid-day on October 8th following the relief of the position and did not return to his unit until the war had ended.

Through it all, Larney continued writing in the diary, keeping an amazingly complete record of everything the 308th Infantry Regiment went through in the hell of the Argonne. At one point, Major Whittlesey had even seen him writing in the journal while they were still surrounded in the Charlevaux Ravine. However, rather than confiscate it, the Major had encouraged him to keep at it, saying it would be “a good record of what happened here.” The only part Whittlesey left unsaid was “in case we don’t get out.”


camplogantrialCourt Martial for Camp Logan soldiers (24th Infantry) after the Houston Riot in 1917. Also known as the Camp Logan Mutiny, is riot involved 156 soldiers of the all-black 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry – a unit of the famed Buffalo Soldiers. The incident occurred on August 23, 1917, lasting roughly two hours on a hot, rainy night, and resulted in the deaths of four soldiers and 15 white civilians.  

The Houston Riot of 1917 featured in current The Black History Bulletin 

By Paul LaRue, member Ohio WWI Centennial Committee
Special to the Doughboy Foundation web site

For more than eighty years The Black History Bulletin has provided the education community with high quality content. The Black History Bulletin is a part of A.S.A.L.H (The Association for the Study of African American Life and History). A.S.A.L.H. was founded in 1915 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson as the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The current issue of The Black History Bulletin (Volume 84, No.1) features the theme "THE POWER OF PROTEST: THEN AND NOW." The Houston Riot of 1917 is included in the current issue.

The Houston Riot was one of the most important incidents impacting Black military service in World War I. The Texas World War I Centennial, Prairie View A & M University, and The Texas State Historical Society have all worked to document and commemorate the event. The Black History Bulletin article “Black Soldiers and Revolution: The Houston Riot of 1917” examines the impact of the Houston Riot on all Americans. The article includes a lesson plan for teachers.

More than 380,000 Black Soldiers and Sailors served in World War I. Unfortunately, there were several negative events that shaped Black America's World War I experience. Examples of these events include the treatment of Colonel Charles Young by the U.S. Army, the lack of a Medal of Honor for the heroism of Sgt. Henry Johnson and the lynching of returning African American soldiers, including at least one soldier still wearing his World War I uniform. The events in Houston in the fall of 1917 had a similar impact on Black Americans' perceptions of World War I service.

Soon after war was declared in April of 1917, the United States began the process of preparing manpower for the war in Europe. This included building a series of camps and cantonments for troops. Construction of Camp Logan near Houston, Texas began in July of 1917. Soon after construction began, the Third Battalion of the 24th United States Infantry was sent to Camp Logan. Shortly after the Soldiers from the 24th United States Infantry arrived at Camp Logan trouble began with Houstonians unhappy with Black Troops being stationed nearby. Conflicts between the soldiers and local police began happening.

On August 24th a soldier from the 24th intervened in a situation between a Black woman and the Houston Police. The soldier was beaten and jailed by the Houston Police; the provost guard from the 24th Infantry was also beaten by police. Word quickly traveled to camp, and approximately 100 armed soldiers started toward town. When the riot was over, fifteen Houstonians and four soldiers had been killed. 118 soldiers were put on trial, 110 were found guilty, 19 were hung, and 68 soldiers received life sentences.


German Commerce Raiders Built a Village in America's Most Important Shipyard During WWI 

By Blake Stilwell
via the web site 

For a brief period during World War I, “over there” became “over here.” More specifically, it was the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, where German sailors tried to wait out British ships off the coast of the then-neutral United States. They even reconstructed a slice of Germany along the Virginia shoreline.

1time German village virginia 1200Postcard view of the German ships Kronprinz Wilhelm and the Prinz Eitel Friederich outboard of one another along the Elizabeth River bank with the “German Village” on Navy Yard property beside them. (Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum Collection)When World War I broke out, Germany, never one to think ahead and build a real navy, converted many of its civilian vessels with naval weapons and ordered them to raid Allied shipping. These makeshift warships became notorious for seizing merchant ships, stealing their coal, supplies and cargo, then sinking them.

The most prominent German auxiliary cruisers were the Kronprinz Wilhelm and the Prinz Eitel Friedrich, two of the country’s most luxurious passenger liners before the war. Now notorious pirates, -- or privateers, depending on which side of the war you supported -- the ships would surprise and board enemy vessels, steal everything of value, capture relevant documents and destroy the ships with explosives. It was actually not a bad plan.

Unless you were the one being boarded, that is.

The Kronprinz Wilhelm operated in the waters off the coast of South America. In little less than a year, the converted luxury liner captured an estimated 16 enemy ships without losing a single sailor. The Prinz Eitel Friedrich sailed in the Pacific Ocean and South Atlantic for seven months, capturing 11 ships.

But the time at sea took its toll on the ships and their crews. The Kronprinz Wilhelm was running low on coal, and its crew began to take ill from malnourishment. The Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s engines were worn out. They were both in need of repairs and shore leave for the crews. They needed a place that could facilitate both and was operated by a neutral country.

They sailed for the United States, and the British Royal Navy hunted them down. They both ended up at Newport News Shipbuilders, a private dock. As their repairs finished, their captains became acutely aware that British ships were waiting for them outside the safety of American harbors. Instead of steaming out to meet certain death, they stayed past their welcome. Both ships were interned at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia.

At first, all went well. The 1,000 or so German sailors were not yet considered prisoners of war, but they could not leave, either. Those that attempted escape (six officers purchased a yacht and sailed it back to the war) never were seen again. They were welcomed by the locals until Germany began killing Americans at sea and tried to convince Mexico to go to war with the United States.

As the U.S. government began to turn on Germany, the sailors were confined to their ships and the immediate shore adjacent to them. But instead of remaining in their berths or elsewhere aboard the cruise liners, the Germans acquired as much scrap metal as they could and built a series of adorable houses along the waterfront.

The pirates had turned into literal homemakers. The German Village (as it was called) was a series of tiny shacks, complete with picket fences, gardens and livestock. All was well once again.

But not for the U.S. government. Within six months, the charming German-style houses were gone, cleared to make way for an expansion of the yard’s capabilities in a war the U.S. knew was coming. And then the United States declared war on Germany. 


polar bear memorial snip cracked 

The Polar Bears: The Americans Who Fought (Their Allies) Russia In WW1 

By Steven Assarian
via the web site

Even if we're more familiar with the bigger, more successful sequel, we all have a basic idea of what America did during World War I, right? America got pissed with Germany, sent some men and dough over there, and thrashed the Kaiser so hard his mustache ran away. However, there’s one part of the war few of us remember: when Woodrow Wilson sent a bunch of dudes from Michigan to fight the Russians. The Russians, who were on the same side as the US and other Allied Powers.

Confused? Good, you should be! Here's what happened.

5. It Began In A Winter Wonderland (Of Machine Guns)

Officially, the United States entered the First World War "to make the world safe for democracy." But there was one glaring problem with this idea: one of the Allied powers, Russia, had a terrible, incompetent, decidedly un-democratic leader in Tsar Nicholas II. He spent the majority of his time being a doting father, being pals with Rasputin, and, uh, ruthlessly crushing his people in an authoritarian grip. 

But democracy or no, the Allies needed Russia. With Russia there, Germany was stuck in a two-front war, which was vital in keeping the German war machine from absolutely wrecking France and Britain. The Russians fielded an army of 15 million men throughout the course of the war. And though the quantity didn’t have the quality necessary to beat Germany, the armies of the Russian Empire were still valuable.

That’s why, after years of being a German punching bag, when the Russians did a revolution in 1917 (well, they actually did two, but who’s counting), the Allied powers fell into a frenzy of terrified harrumphing and monocle-clutching. By this point in the war, the Allies were providing a ton of supplies—shells, guns, and we presume liberty cabbage—to prop up a Russian empire that was nowhere near as industrial as the rest of the Allies. And now, not only were those guns and shells decidedly not being used to blow Germans to smithereens, they were set to support the revolutionaries who'd overthrown the Romanovs.

The Allies thought sending in a bunch of troops would help (it worked at Verdun, right?), and the United States wanted in. But Americans weren’t yet the world police they became after the Second World War. At home, there was a strong undercurrent of thought that Americans "shouldn’t go abroad in search of monsters to destroy" and should avoid entanglements in foreign conflicts. 


Sonehenge WWI memorial in WA 2The Stonehenge WWI Memorial was built by Sam Hill in 1918 as the nation’s first WWI memorial for the servicemen of the area. The building was completed in 1929.  

First Time Visiting Stonehenge WWI Memorial in Washington 

By Alexandria Radford
via the web site 

From 2015 to 2018, my father and I were traveling around the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Anywhere from Washington to Oregon to the Idaho Panhandle, we were there. Partly to see my grandparents before they passed and to visit my uncle while he lived in Oregon.

In 2017, my uncle was living in Salem, Oregon and that was an opportunity to visit the western side of the state. Before then, we had only been to the eastern and north-central half of the state. So, this was new and exciting for both of us.

We were driving along Interstate 84 when we saw a sign for Stonehenge Memorial and decided to get off the freeway to see what it was all about. It sounded fun and a chance to get out of the car.

Stonehenge Memorial is a full-scale replica of Stonehenge built in Maryhill, Washington across the state line. Stonehenge was built by Sam Hill in 1918 as the nation’s first WWI memorial for the servicemen of the area. The building was completed in 1929. It overlooks the Columbia River and is surrounded by vineyards.

After arriving, I remember being in awe. What a sight this was. I’ve never had the opportunity to visit the real Stonehenge in England, but this was pretty close. You’d never know that this was a replica and not the real Stonehenge.



Darien Veteran Street Sign on Herman Ave to Honor WWI Veteran Carmelo Roda 

via the (CT) web site

The next recipient of the Darien Veteran Street Sign Honor is the late Carmelo A. Roda, who bravely served in the United States Army during World War I, the Darien Monuments and Ceremonies Commission announced.

Carmelo RodaCarmelo RodaThe street sign with Roda’s name added in his honor will be unveiled on Herman Avenue during a 12 noon ceremony on Sunday Nov. 7.

The new signage will not change the name of the street in any way, and no addresses are affected. The veteran’s name is simply added to the sign as an honorarium. The public is invited and encouraged to attend the unveiling.

The Monuments and Ceremonies Commission is very pleased to recognize Carmelo Roda’s active service during wartime and his community involvement in the Town of Darien upon return from his duties during WWI.

From Italy to America to Service in World War I

Roda’s story is special. He was born on May 8, 1896 in Reggio, Calabria, Italy. At age 17 Roda traveled to the U.S. alone, arriving at Ellis Island on Aug. 1, 1913 on board the Steamship Palmero.

Roda settled in Stamford, and less than five years later was fighting in the U.S. Army while still an Italian citizen.

After registering for military service on June 5, 1917, Roda was inducted into the U.S. Army on March 30, 1918 at the age of 21.

He was trained at Camp Devens in Massachusetts, a member of the 151st Depot Brigade, 15th Company, 4th Division. From there, Roda was sent to Hoboken, NJ where he boarded the Acquitania, a U.S. Military transport ship, headed for action in France.

Roda served in the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.), an established unit of the U. S Army on the Western Front of World War I. He was severely wounded in action on July 19, 1918, and received a Purple Heart for his sacrifice and service.

On May 5, 1921, once the war was over, Roda proudly became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Carmelo truly valued his American citizenship and was patriotic his entire life.

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